8 players the NY Jets gave up on way too soon

NY Jets, Demario Davis
NY Jets, Demario Davis / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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2. John Abraham, DE

John Abraham recorded 13 sacks and earned first-team All-Pro honors in just his second season in the NFL back in 2001. 22 years later, the Jets haven't had a single edge rusher record more than 10 sacks in a season since Abraham left.

Abraham was one of the best edge rushers in football with the Jets. He made three Pro Bowls in four years, recording 53.5 sacks in 73 games with his first team. That didn't stop the Jets from trading him to the Atlanta Falcons ahead of the 2006 season, however.

From injuries to a contract dispute, Abraham's relationship with the Jets was severed to the point of no return. That didn't stop him from putting together a decade-long, potentially Hall-of-Fame-worthy career after leaving the Jets.

Abraham would have five more seasons with at least 10 sacks, including a career-high 16.5 sacks in 2008. The Jets are still in search of their next star edge rusher.

1. John Riggins, RB

John Riggins was a really good player for the Jets in the early 1970s, even becoming the first player in franchise history to rush for over 1,000 yards in 1975. Unfortunately, that would end up being his final year with the team.

Riggins grew increasingly unhappy with his role on the team. The Jets remained a pass-heavy offense, despite Joe Namath's declining production. That ultimately led to Riggins departing in free agency that offseason to sign with Washington.

What followed would be a historic career that saw Riggins eventually enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Riggins led the NFL in rushing touchdowns on multiple occasions, earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, and was named to the league's All-1980s team.

Riggins is often regarded as one of the best running backs in NFL history, although it's generally overlooked that he spent the first four years of his legendary career with the Jets.

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Given that Namath won just one more game with the Jets following Riggins' departure, it's safe to say that the organization probably missed on this one.