We learned as children from the Tortoise and the Hare that slow and steady wins the race, and so far, the New York Jets are moving like the tortoise in free agency.
General manager Mike Maccagnan wants to build the New York Jets through the draft, not through free agency. He was even quoted by NJ.com’s Darryl Slater on at least part of his draft philosophy:
"“They don’t always have to be high picks. A lot of teams are very successful developing an offensive line through the draft — picks from the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh round, and sometimes even college free agents.”"
It will take a lot of time and patience to build the way Maccagnan wants to, but Woody Johnson seems to be on board. According to Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com, owner Woody Johnson had this to say.:
"“We’re going to build the team through the draft. I think Coach and Mike know exactly what we’re looking for, what kind of players we’re looking for.”"
In addition to them slowly moving through free agency, there’s some depth at positions of need in the draft. Furthermore, there isn’t much quality in free agency.
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Many people looked at the Jets salary dumping as a way to open up the cap for free agents. However, whatever cap space they have now can be added to the cap for 2018.
Going into the 2016 offseason, the Jets were supposed to be in win-now mode. Then, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick held them hostage, and the 2016 regular season happened.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither can you expect a football team to be.
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. It took them four drafts just to solidify their offensive line, and then two more to get the quarterback and running back they needed for success.
Along the way, the Jets will need to sign free agents too, but right now they need to build a foundation first. They’re starting over, and remember, building a winning franchise doesn’t happen overnight.