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New York Jets: Ranking the most likely players to stay on the team through the 2020s

NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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New York Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
New York Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets have a roster full of young players who could have long careers with the team. But will any remain on the roster throughout the entire decade of the 2020s?

The New York Jets don’t exactly have the most talented roster in the NFL. But there are enough young, core pieces to provide hope for a brighter future.

Looking up and down the roster, there are a number of players on the team who could have quite fruitful, lengthy careers with the team. But as we’ve seen in the past, some players who seem destined for long Jets careers fall by the wayside for one reason or another.

Players like Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, or even Jonathan Vilma who many thought would be career Jets all fell short of that mark. And even the greats like Darrelle Revis couldn’t last an entire decade with the team.

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Playing a full decade with one single team is a difficult feat to accomplish. And for the Jets, it’s something that no player managed to do during the 2010s.

Running back Bilal Powell came the closest beginning his career with the team in 2011 and remaining a part of the roster until the end of the decade. But no player was a member of the Jets from 2010 all the way through 2019.

With that being said, which Jets have the best chance at accomplishing such a feat during the 2020s? Let’s take a look at the most likely candidates.

Next: The Longshots

New York Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
New York Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

4. The Longshots

When evaluating which players on the roster could feasibly remain with the Jets throughout the decade, multiple things must be taken into consideration.

First and foremost, the age of the player must be accounted for. Someone like Marcus Maye might be a core starter right now, but the talented safety will be 27-years-old in March and it’s unlikely he’ll still be playing at age 37 by the end of the decade.

But even aside from age, talent and contribution must also be considered. There needs to be a realistic scenario where this player spends 10+ years with a franchise which is generally reserved for top-tier talent.

That said, that isn’t always the case.

The aforementioned Bilal Powell was never a top-tier talent, yet he’s spent nine years with the Jets. Calvin Pace was never an All-Pro but he still spent eight seasons in the green and white.

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Looking at the current roster, a number of players fit the bill of a solid contributor who could stay with the team for a long time, even if it is a longshot. We’re talking about players like Folorunso Fatukasi and Kyle Phillips who are young enough and could see lengthy careers with the Jets.

Other young players like Blake Cashman, Chuma Edoga, and Blessuan Austin could develop into starters at some point in the near future — the latter two very well might be next year — and could play a while with Gang Green.

Even a player like tight end Chris Herndon has a shot given that he’s only 23-years-old and has shown flashes of greatness in the past. But of course, he still has a long way to go.

Perhaps the young player with the best odds would be 2019 first-round pick Quinnen Williams. Williams had a slow rookie season but the newly-turned 22-year-old is plenty young enough and could see a long career with the Jets if he develops.

It’s not impossible that any of these players remain with the Jets throughout the 2020s, but it isn’t exactly likely either.

Next: 3. The Specialists

New York Jets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
New York Jets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

3. The Specialists

Another important aspect that must be taken into account with an exercise like this is the player’s position. Certain positions are more prone to long NFL careers while others often come with shorter lifespans for NFL players.

And when talking about NFL longevity, there are no greater positions to play than the specialist positions.

Five of the six oldest players entering the 2019 season played one of the specialist positions increasing the likelihood for longevity with a given franchise. That gives the Jets’ three specialists a leg up on their competition.

Kicker Sam Ficken, punter Lachlan Edwards, and long snapper Thomas Hennessy all could potentially have long careers with the Jets, but that will mostly depend on their on-field performance.

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Out of the three, Hennessy is probably the most likely to last the decade with the Jets. It’s very common for teams to hold on to reliable long snappers for a very long time meaning that as long as Hennessy remains solid, he could be the sleeper pick to remain on the roster through the decade.

Edwards is another intriguing option but not only is the Aussie punter an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but he will be 28-years-old in April, decreasing his chances.

Ficken, on the other hand, isn’t even a guarantee to be the team’s Week 1 kicker in 2020 let alone play throughout the decade. But at 27-years-old, he still could technically pull it off if he manages to become more consistent.

But if you’re putting money on any of the three, the safe bet is with the 25-year-old Hennessy.

Next: 2. Jamal Adams

New York Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
New York Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

2. Jamal Adams

Now that we’ve wavered through some of the longshots or position-specific players, it’s time to get down to what this list truly is about. Generally speaking, players who last a long time on one franchise are individuals who become synonymous with that organization.

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  • We’re talking Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals or Von Miller and the Denver Broncos. Players who have excelled at their positions for years and have shown loyalty to their original franchise.

    Looking at the Jets roster, there is no player who better fits that bill than Jamal Adams.

    Adams is the unquestioned face of the franchise and leader of the locker room aside from being arguably the most talented player on the team. If you’re looking for a generational talent who could spend years with one team, then look no further than Adams.

    Unfortunately, front office politics could hinder his chances of remaining with the Jets long-term.

    There was already a scare this past trade deadline and trade talks could heat up again this offseason. Despite Adams’ on-field success, the Jets may deem it necessary to unload him for a huge package of draft picks.

    But if he could survive the trade talks and receive the massive extension he absolutely deserves, it’s very feasible to imagine a scenario in which Adams spends his entire career with the Jets and remains on the team throughout the 2020s.

    Next: 1. Sam Darnold

    New York Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
    New York Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

    1. Sam Darnold

    Outside of specialists, there is no position that yields a greater possibility for longevity with one franchise than quarterback. Simply put, if a team finds a good one, they aren’t willing to let them leave.

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    The Jets hope that they’ve found just that with Sam Darnold as the two-year veteran could be poised to lead the franchise for the foreseeable future. The jury is still out, but the future does look very promising.

    Darnold is just 22-years-old and could very easily play well into his 30’s barring any unexpected career developments. And if the USC product develops how the organization hopes that he will, then there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be on the team come 2030.

    Of course, multiple barriers could stand in the way of this.

    Darnold didn’t take the huge sophomore leap in 2019 that many were expecting. Hindered by a poor supporting cast, an abysmal offensive line, and a weak coaching staff, Darnold was left to flounder in a hopeless Jets offense.

    While many might believe in Darnold himself, it’s very possible that his development is stunted by his situation. But if the Jets manage to properly build around him, it’s very easy to imagine him taking that big leap forward in the next year or two.

    That would put him perfectly in-line for his second contract which should take him well into the 2020s. And if the success were to continue, he’d easily reach 2030.

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    It’s certainly not a sure thing, but there is no player on the Jets roster with a better chance to remain with the organization through the decade than Sam Darnold.

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