NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
We’re five months away from the start of NY Jets football, but there’s no reason we can’t start being optimistic about the 2021 season.
Whether you’ve been a fan of the Jets since 1960 or 2020, it’s much more fun to be an optimist than a pessimist. This team has broken your heart more than times than your high school crush, but you keep tuning in for a better result.
It’s been 10 years since the Jets have made the playoffs, but that’s no reason to pout. In fact, the longer this team misses, the more likely it is that they’ll make the playoffs one of these years.
At least, that’s what we have to keep telling ourselves.
2020 was a world that saw the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills make the playoffs and actually win a playoff game, so 2021 could bring the same for the Jets.
Although this team has a ton of work to do, cap space is a beautiful thing. With so much flexibility, the Jets have an opportunity to add a game-breaker that fans will fall in love with and an ability to change the franchise for the good.
It may be hard to put on a smile when you tell your friends that you’re a Jets fan, but don’t lose hope now. This team is going to look a lot different in 2021 and beyond.
Adam Gase is gone and a new quarterback is coming. Good things are on their way.
Here are three reasons to be optimistic about the 2021 season.
Next: 3. Free agency
3. The NY Jets can do a lot of damage in free agency
Although the Jets haven’t made the playoffs in a decade, it doesn’t mean that New York isn’t a free-agent destination anymore. In fact, with so much cap space, the Jets should be able to convince more big-name players than almost any other team.
Once free agency ends, the optimism for the 2021 season may change if this team doesn’t sign the impact players we expect them to, but at this moment, the hope is strong.
For example, one of the biggest potential free agents is Allen Robinson, who continues to flirt with fans on Twitter.
It looks like Robinson wants to play for the Jets, which is a positive sign for fans. The team may not have the ability to sign him if he gets franchised tagged right away, but the fact that a big-name player wants to play in the “Big Apple” is a positive sign.
Even if Robinson doesn’t end up joining the Jets, it’s clear that a well-known player will end up in New York. Whether it’s JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin, or Will Fuller, you’d have to think that one of the best wideouts will end up on this roster.
The last huge free agent signing the Jets had (Le’Veon Bell) turned out to be a bust, but a lot of that had to do with the coach, system, and offensive line.
So, although the last huge signing didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean the next one won’t.
Next: 2. Draft capital
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
2. The NY Jets have loads of draft capital
With three picks inside the top 34, the Jets have the ability to select three high-impact players right away. That’s if they do indeed keep the picks.
Before we talk about the impact the draft picks could have on the roster, there could be an opportunity to trade the No. 2, No. 23, and/or No. 34 selection to help upgrade their quarterback position.
Until Deshaun Watson plays a snap with the Houston Texans or is playing for another franchise, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be the Jets’ starting quarterback in 2021.
Holding on to hope is so important for a sports fan, so continuing to believe that an elite player like Watson could lead the Jets is incredibly exciting.
Even if the Jets hold on to their selections, that’s nothing to worry about. Justin Fields and Zach Wilson are two prospects that could eventually turn into franchise quarterbacks, while the No. 23 and No. 34 picks have a ton of potential.
The Jets need help everywhere.
Whether it’s at wide receiver, running back, edge, linebacker, or cornerback, New York will be able to address all of those position needs in the draft this year that will make the future much brighter.
Next: 1. New coach
1. The NY Jets have a new coach
A number of coaches and executives say this when they join a franchise, but with Robert Saleh, it’s hard not to believe him.
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 3, 2021
Saleh understands what it takes to win a Super Bowl. As the defensive quality control coach, he helped lead the “Legion of Boom” that won Super Bowl XLVIII.
Although you need a star quarterback to win games, defense wins championships. Saleh’s excellent resume when it comes to defense makes the 2021 season and beyond so exciting and optimistic.
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Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated described Saleh as the “green tea version of Rex Ryan.” Essentially what Orr meant by those comments is that he brings a similar energy and enthusiasm as Ryan, “without the side effects.”
That’s huge praise for the 42-year-old rookie head coach. Saleh is a leader with a high football IQ and is someone you want to run through a wall for. He’s the exact opposite of what Adam Gase was, and that’s a breath of fresh air.
In addition to Saleh’s leadership, his recruitment of Mike LaFleur as the offensive coordinator is a huge get.
LaFleur is expected to implement the Kyle Shanahan system that has been instrumental in helping quarterbacks such as Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Ryan Tannehill put up career numbers.
The system uses a lot of pre-snap motion and could be something that helps revive Sam Darnold’s career or whoever the starter is to open the season.