Joe Douglas is entering his second full offseason as the NY Jets general manager, and he has a lot of work to do. After finishing with a 2-14 record, the Jets have many holes to fill.
Douglas can, and should, find long-term solutions for the team through free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft. Here are three necessary steps to fix the franchise this offseason.
1. The NY Jets must target the interior offensive line
The offensive line in 2020 was an improvement compared to 2019. But, it’s not difficult to improve from being close to last in the league.
Mekhi Becton was the clear bright spot of the offensive line this season, and right tackle George Fant was able to do his part. But, the interior was a problem all season long, mainly due to injuries.
Connor McGovern was the only Jets lineman to play all 16 games, but even when everyone was healthy, they weren’t performing like a top unit.
Last offseason it was rumored Douglas was making an extreme push for Joe Thuney, then the New England Patriots franchise tagged him.
Thuney is one of, if not the, best guards in the NFL. He will be getting a lucrative deal, but if there is one position where Douglas is willing to spend, it’s on the offensive line.
Adding Thuney to the team would immensely help and bring some stability to the guard position.
All signs point to Corey Linsley and the Green Bay Packers parting ways. Adding him as the starting center gives the Jets the opportunity to move Connor McGovern over to right guard, where he spent two seasons playing for the Denver Broncos.
Linsley is a great scheme fit since Mike LaFleur’s brother, Matt, runs a similar offense with Green Bay.
Beefing up the offensive line will help protect the quarterback and execute the new offensive system LaFleur plans to bring in.
2. The NY Jets need an edge rusher
For quite some time, the Jets have been lacking a serious edge rusher. During this free agency period, there are great options to help fix this glaring need.
Although he is coming off of a torn ACL, and will most likely miss part of next season, Bud Dupree is one of the best edge options in free agency.
Before his injury, he had a total of nine sacks and was well on his way to reach double-digits. Also, because of his injury, Douglas might have some wiggle room on reaching a more team-friendly deal with Dupree.
2021 NFL Draft
Another option to fill the need at the edge position is to draft one.
This draft class has some great prospects like Kwity Paye, Gregory Rousseau, and Azeez Ojulari. Odds are one of them will be available at the 23rd overall pick. And, there is always a chance Douglas will draft more than one edge rusher.
The edge position is something that will certainly be addressed this upcoming offseason.
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3. The NY Jets must rebuild the wide receiver corps
As we saw in 2020, the depth at the wide receiver position was thin. Currently, the only two starting-caliber options at wide receiver under contract are Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims.
There are many targets the Jets could go after during free agency and Curtis Samuel should be near the top of the list. Samuel is a wideout who can line up virtually anywhere on the field.
Adding Samuel to the roster would immediately give LaFleur a gadget guy in his system. This will help stretch defenses and open up the offense.
Rashod Bateman and others
The wide receiver group in this draft class is incredibly deep. There are the top three prospects of Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. But the only opportunity to snag one of them would be with the second overall pick, and Douglas probably has other plans for it.
Rashod Bateman is someone to keep an eye on and is climbing up many draft boards. He may be the best option available for the Jets to take at 23rd overall, but he’s not the only option.
The other standout option who could be on the Jets board is wide receiver, Kadarius Toney, from Florida. Toney is elusive and a great after-the-catch wideout who can fit in seamlessly.
Other options will be available for the Jets, but these two are at the top of the draft list right now.
Joe Douglas has a lot of holes to fill during this offseason. But, he has the draft capital and cap space to address all of them.
This is the biggest offseason of his young career as a GM and he will surely try to give Jets fans something to look forward to next season.