Ever since Aaron Rodgers’s infamous announcement on The Pat McAfee Show, I convinced myself that the NY Jets were destined to win the Super Bowl in 2025 (the 2024 season).
Even after the equally infamous Achilles tear, I didn’t lose faith, even as I discovered how negatively Nathaniel Hackett’s presence appeared to impact the team and how stubborn the front office continues to be as they refuse to admit Zach Wilson was a colossal mistake.
I rooted for the team to tank for the first time ever because I believed that getting a premium player such as Joe Alt or Marvin Harrison Jr. would be the missing piece to put this team over the top with a healthy Rodgers and a signature Joe Douglas offseason of lots of smaller deals for players with potential rather than proven success.
I was 100 percent confident of this vision culminating until the incomparable ‘Greg the Leg’ did what he does best — kicked a 54-yard field goal perfectly down the middle with complete ease. Instead of climbing up the draft order, the Jets fell, but not only did they fall, they fell in the most embarrassing way possible.
In their last five games, the Washington Commanders were 0-5 and lost by an average of 17.6 points per game. They were allowing 35.6 points per game during that span, but let’s cut the Jets some slack and go with their season average of 30.2 points allowed per game.
The Jets were unable to score 30 points despite being gifted tremendous field position repeatedly, and they needed a last-second 54-yard field goal in order to narrowly win the game by two points.
This was the worst defense in the league and a franchise very much looking forward to cleaning house throughout the entire organization, and the Jets, who were apparently trying to win the whole time, barely beat them.
So, not only is this Jets team bad, but they also aren’t set up to get a big boost in talent this offseason. They could possibly fall out of the top 10 (they are currently ninth) of the draft, don’t have a second-round pick, and the $15.6 million Spotrac estimates them to have to spend ranks 20th in the league.
What should NY Jets fans expect from Joe Douglas this offseason?
Knowing Joe Douglas, he’s fully aware of these things and will do what he always does — renegotiate deals with various players to push their cap hits into the future, trade back during the draft to accrue more capital, and sign more “bargain” players who have the potential to reach the next level in green and white like D.J. Reed has.
Unfortunately, while his philosophy is sound, Douglas has three bad draft classes in four tries and has signed way more Carl Lawsons than D.J. Reeds.
If I’m a betting man, I’m willing to say the Jets are very active in acquiring more ex-Packers like David Bakhtiari and might actually draft the right positions this time (no more edge rushers, please), but they will either not be ready to play, underperform, or fall out of favor with the coaching staff.
Oh, you think they will draft the right guy? Excluding the incredible 2022 draft class, four out of the seven (57%) players Douglas drafted in the first or second rounds were benched or entered squabbles with the coaching staff.
Will McDonald IV is one of the three who haven’t fallen out of favor but he is hardly a relevant piece of the puzzle playing around 10% of the team’s snaps this season.
Only Alijah Vera-Tucker and Joe Tippmann have been able to survive without issue (so far), and Vera-Tucker has only played 14 games out of a possible 34 these last two seasons. Take a moment to realize how awful it is that the team keeps discarding the players that they drafted and were high on pre-draft.
Of course, 2022 was a tremendous class, and adding them turns this fraction into four out of eleven (36), but they had four picks contribute to that fraction, and it just seems like 2022 was a fantastic draft. The fact remains that Douglas has had four drafts, and literally no other one than 2022 is worth writing home about.
So, my ramble is over — the 2024 offseason will be underway in a few months, and I have no faith in this front office getting anything right whatsoever. I expect this team to add more Packers and more bargain players, and the Jets may end up extending the longest playoff drought in North American sports to a whopping 14 straight seasons.