May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles speaks to the media after the organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets held their annual pre-draft press conference addressing the media ahead of the 2016 NFL Draft.
We are only a few days away from the draft and the front office of the Jets are entering year two of their new regime. With that being said, general manager Mike Maccagnan stood in front of reporters and took questions for a little over 12 minutes discussing everything from Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Jets draft plans, and even answering the inquiry about the No. 1 overall pick rumors.
A lot of questions were answered and still some important ones remain unanswered with less than a week to go. Let’s breakdown the top five takeaways from the Jets pre-draft press conference.
Next: 5. Learned a lot about nothing
Dec 6, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
5. Learned a lot about nothing
In the famous words of William Shakespeare, we learned a lot about nothing in terms of the current status between the Jets and Fitzpatrick, their incumbent starting quarterback from last year. Maccagnan continued to reference this as a process and that ideally he wants Fitzpatrick back.
Maccagnan couldn’t stop smiling when he said that it’s free agency, nothing is guaranteed. But it’s an open market and we have our line drawn in the sand and he apparently has his and hopefully we can come to an agreement. So in normal lingo what he’s saying is that the well is drying up around the league and this is the best situation for Ryan and everyone involved knows it.
Though something that went unsaid that was finally said is that the Jets aren’t living or dying by Fitzpatrick. Maccagnan repeated several times that they have contingencies in place if things don’t work out, citing Brian Hoyer’s recent visit to the clubhouse. He said Hoyer’s visit was simply put, due diligence.
So concluding at least the Fitzpatrick part of this exercise, it seems that this stalemate could last well into the offseason. Regardless, this move won’t prohibit the Jets from drafting a quarterback next week nor should it.
Next: 4. Jets like what they have in Bryce Petty
Aug 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) warms up before the preseason NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
4. Jets like what they have in Bryce Petty
With all the Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith talk, it’s easy to forget that other quarterback on the Jets’ roster, Bryce Petty. One of the questions Maccagnan was asked was how he felt about Petty and how he would rank against the rookie signal callers in this year’s draft class.
While he couldn’t necessarily put a tangible number on Petty in terms of where he would rank him, Maccagnan said that the Jets feel good about his development. The new regime is very excited to see what he can bring to the table in year two and how he progresses trough organized team activities.
Maccagnan eluded to the fact he’s excited to have Petty and said that he compared favorably to the quality of this year’s quarterback class. Here is what he said, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
“He has a degree of skill which is intriguing. He also has played in an offense that is not a traditional NFL offense. We’re actually working with Bryce (Petty) – we have some familiarity with the transition that you have go from a different style of offense to the NFL of offense, to more of a pro system,” Maccagnan said. “But in terms of how much we like him or don’t like him, I don’t necessarily want to give any insight in that aspect of it. But we do think he’s a good prospect.”
Specfically referencing the consensus No. 3 quarterback in this year’s draft Paxton Lynch, Maccagnan said he was intriguing. The talks around the league is that Lynch needs several years on the bench to even have a chance as a starter. Which in the hungry New York market, could be a recipe for disaster.
Next: 3. Jets are in the market for blockbuster trade
July 23, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets player Muhammad Wilkerson arrives for training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
3. Jets are in the market for blockbuster trade
Near the end of the presser in front of the media, Maccagnan addressed the fact that the Jets only have six selections in this year’s draft. He dropped a little breadcrumb almost by accident here, again, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
“So there’s a lot of work that goes into this process and it’s really funny that you work 360+ days out of the year for three days of picking. Right now we only have six draft picks, hopefully we can get some more eventually, we’ll see. The important thing is preparing yourselves for all these potentialities.”
If you think the Josh Norman situation could happen here with the Jets, you can forget about it. Maccagnan shot down that quickly saying that they’ve never considered it and will not consider such a drastic move. Here’s what he said, quoted from an article written by Eric Allen of NewYorkJets.com:
“As of right now and going forward, he’s under the franchise tag and that leaves you with multiple options,” he said. ”You can negotiate a contract with him to a specified time in July, you can have him play out the contract and then re-evaluate it a year from now and see what you want to do from there.”
Next: 2. Jets feel comfortable about the left tackle spot
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tackle Ryan Clady (78) prepares to block in the second quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jets feel comfortable about the left tackle spot
When the news broke that long time left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson was hanging up his cleats, it sent shockwaves through the fan base, but not the front office. Before Ferguson even held his official retirement at the team’s facilities, the Jets had already acquired Ferguson’s replacement.
Maccagnan addressed how big of a loss Brick was and said it’ll be hard to ever replace that durability. With that he gave his thoughts on the Ryan Clady deal and how the Jets felt about him, as quoted from an article written by Eric Allen of NewYorkJets.com:
“We felt very good about Ryan where was at and we had a chance to give him a physical,” Maccagnan said. “So at the end of the day, even though he missed last season like a lot of players miss seasons due to injuries, we felt the injury in terms of how the rehabilitation process had come along, we felt very good about. And we’ll see how it plays out going forward.”
The Jets gave up minimal compensation for a player that potentially has a higher ceiling than Brick ever had. Low risk high reward and the Jets didn’t have many options.
Offensive line depth is one of the biggest issues on the team and outside of this move, had no viable options to replace Brick. Now the Jets will have to bank on a player staying healthy for the first time in his career.
Next: 1. Jets did in fact make a call to the Tennessee Titans
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view as the Tennessee Titans make their pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
1. Jets did in fact make a call to the Tennessee Titans
There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors leading up to the draft, but apparently the Jets trading up to the No. 1 overall pick wasn’t one of them. Maccagnan said he did call up as well as calling every team in front of him to gauge what it would take for a potential move. In an article written by Eric Allen of NewYorkJets.com, here is what Maccagnan said about it:
“There probably will be players if they fall to a certain point, if we think there’s a chance to go up and get, we’re open to that option too,” he said. “But then on the other side of it, I’m very much of the mindset of hey if there’s an opportunity to move back from 20 and pick up more picks, we may do that also.”
Could this possibly be a Muhammad Wilkerson deal in the works potentially? If we’re talking about draft day, it’s extremely unlikely that a deal will be consummated due to the fact any team that takes on Wilkerson will have to work out a contract extension before the trade would be complete. Analyzing it deeper, in that same article written by Eric Allen of NewYorkJets.com, Maccagnan explained it in greater detail:
“The goal is not just mortgage the future and I think we’ve tried to take that approach, a little bit of a measured approach,” he said. “We haven’t sort of leveraged everything up to go try and make one big run and at the end of the day have to sort of tear it all down. I think our goal was to always make ourselves as competitive and give ourselves flexibility a year from now, two years from now where maybe we’ll be in a situation where we’re going to have more cap and ability to do things. That’s kind of been our approach since Day 1.”
What was interesting was that he admitted to calling the Titans and also stated the goal is not to mortgage the future. Looking at what the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles had to give up respectively kind of suggests that if the Jets would have made that kind of monumental move they would of had to give up even more.
Unless Wilkerson was the centerpiece of a potential deal, lessening the burden of required draft selections to make the deal work wouldn’t have been the right choice to make. Regardless, when you start connecting the dots it seems that a Wilkerson deal could still go down before the draft, or somehow during it. It will be very interesting to see how this all pans out for the Jets in this year’s draft.