The New York Jets made so many cuts this offseason, it’s a tough pill to swallow when considering childhood heroes aren’t suiting up again this upcoming season.
I’ll never forget the 2006 NFL Draft. It was the year I fell in love with not only the draft but the NFL as a whole. I was sick the entire weekend so I watched every pick, back when it was two days and hours long. My New York Jets drafted offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold in the 1st Round. Who would’ve thought they’d last for so long together on the front line?
The next year, the Jets drafted cornerback Darrelle Revis after trading up in the 1st Round. I was on my way to a soccer game listening to the draft on the radio at the time. Linebacker David Harris was drafted in the 2nd Round as well. Who would’ve thought Revis would become arguably the best cornerback ever and Harris would be a staple that held the linebacking core together for years to come.
As of late, I’ve been sitting at home ashamed at what I am reading on Twitter. Harris got released without even being told in person? That’s a typical Jets move and a classless one at that when Harris is a future Ring of Honor member if he can get over this. Harris was older and slower, but leadership can’t be bought, and if they were truly going to do this it should’ve been in March, not in June.
News also just broke that wide receiver Eric Decker was released, again, this is a move that should’ve happened in March not in June, and although he wasn’t here for long, he took a chance by signing with the Jets after he lost in a Super Bowl as a member of the Denver Broncos. The Jets should be embarrassed, and they should lower their tickets immediately as it seems this new roster could be one of the worst they’ve ever put out on the field.
Growing up in a town filled of mostly Giants fans, I eagerly lived through the good and bad Chad Pennington years with former head coaches Herm Edwards and Eric Mangini, then the Brett Favre era came and went like the wind in the former Giants Stadium at the Medowlands.
Finally, the Jets and owner Woody Johnson seemed like they figured something out with new head coach Rex Ryan and rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, going to back to back AFC Championships with the core players being Ferguson, Mangold, Revis, and Harris. I’ll never forget Harris’ interception of Tom Brady and former linebacker Bart Scott’s plead after the rare win in Fox Borough, in the NFL Playoffs may I add, “Can’t Wait!” The Jets were on the map but quickly fell off of it.
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After a few bad drafts from former general manager Mike Tannenbaum, most likely because Mangini wasn’t there anymore, the Jets roster was mostly bad and Sanchez declined.
Still, Ferguson, Mangold, Harris, and Revis were producing and still there. But then Revis was traded to Tampa Bay and the Jets got worse.
A few more bad years under Ryan, Revis won a Super Bowl with the Patriots and then the Jets re-signed him and brought in veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall, head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan. They were a game away from the NFL Playoffs just a few years ago, and who else but Ryan was the reason they didn’t make it.
Ferguson was the first to go, not willing to accept a pay cut prior to the 2016 season, he retired instead which was a smart move on his end. Mangold, Revis, and Harris all suffered injuries throughout the 2017 season, Mangold being plagued the most and all three would be cut in the offseason.
Harris and Decker are the latest casualties to Woody Johnson’s maniacal tanking plan. With Decker on his way out, the Jets currently only have four players on the roster older than 30, and Tanner Purdum, the long snapper, is one of them. He’s the longest tenured Jet, and the only one remaining to play in their last playoff game in 2010.
So as I look back at my childhood Jets, I’ll remember some of the great moments, Favre and the win streak, Scott and the back to back championship games. Revis Island, Thomas Jones and LaDainian Tomlinson, and of course, Ryan’s bold guarantees in August.
But I’ll also remember the bad moments. The butt fumble, the three seasons where the Jets had to win in Week 17 and they’d be in, yet still couldn’t do it. Michael Vick and Tim Tebow, Revis signing with the AFC East rival Pats, and the collapse of Favre and Mangini.
I don’t know where the Jets will bring me next on this wild path of fandom but I expect some brutal Cleveland Browns-esque tanking. The future could get bright quickly if the Jets do end up with the worst or second worst record as there are some very good quarterback prospects in next year’s draft.
To Ferguson, Revis, Mangold, and Harris, throughout your years as a Jet, I’ll never forget how hard you guys played during the good times but also during the bad times. I’ll never forget the feeling of beating the Patriots running around my house like a madman, and I’ll never forget the commitment you guys brought to the organization.
Thank you for your years with the Jets, I hope you can move past the brutal ending you all had to go through as I wish nothing but the best for all of you. To the Jets regime now, think carefully before acting, these next few years could be costly for the long-term success of the Jets and the long-term commitment from the fans. Moves like these don’t help the latter.