Even though the fans want Sam Darnold, the New York Jets tanking for him makes absolutely no sense.
Even though the New York Jets want to build through the draft (and it makes some sense), they can’t build only through the yearly event. They need to use the draft as one tool and free agency as another.
The Jets currently have a young nucleus of players. However, that doesn’t mean they should be looking to add a good young quarterback to the mix too. They need some veteran stability at some key positions. Veterans also don’t necessarily need to be starters.
The Jets have a large wallet in 2018 free agency, over $90M to spend. Even though general manager Mike Maccagnan believes the Jets aren’t tanking, and that seems ridiculous, tanking would be a mistake.
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“That’s not something we’re focused on,” the general manager said. “We’re focused on making decisions that will help this team going forward.”
The Jets need to only look 978 miles away to see that building through the draft, but not being able to attract free agents don’t work. In Green Bay, Ted Thompson has tried to build through the draft, but they have failed to make it back to the Super Bowl in the last six seasons.
Green Bay has been a consistent postseason contender, mostly because they have Aaron Rodgers. There aren’t enough pieces around Rodgers to succeed, though.
A season in the tank almost assures the Jets can’t land free agents in 2018. However, a season in which the Jets can show they’re trending in the right direction could help land free agents at key positions.
The Jets may have a need at quarterback and running back during 2018 free agency. Le’Veon Bell and Kirk Cousins could both be free agents, and the Jets will have the money to land both. A 2-14 season won’t entice good free agents like that to come to Florham Park, NJ. A six, seven, or eight-win season with the arrow pointing up could.
There’s actually an opportunity here for the Jets. They need to be successful in 2017, though. A free agent won’t necessarily look at the final record as indicative of success. The Jets need to look like they have a good nucleus that will attract free agents. If a free agent knows a team is close, then they will come.