Grading every move the NY Jets made in the first wave of free agency

NY Jets, Tyler Conklin
NY Jets, Tyler Conklin / Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Jets have completed their first wave of free agency. There will be some more activity in the weeks leading into and after the draft next month, but the heavy lifting in the open market by Jets general manager Joe Douglas and his staff is over.

The team's most significant player acquisitions have already taken place. Whether that's a good or bad thing is up for debate. Could the team have done more? Did Joe Douglas do enough to help the Jets finally turn the corner and head in the right direction?

The Jets came into free agency with the second-most cap space in the NFL. They were in a position to attack the open market any way they chose. But heading into the new league year, there were mixed messages about the strategy Joe Douglas would ultimately employ.

It wasn't just coming from talking heads who cover or work for the team. Even Douglas and Robert Saleh were downplaying the open market in the days leading into free agency. They openly told the media that the team would not spend their resources wildly out of desperation. 

Even though the Jets are coming off of a four-win season where they were ranked at the bottom of the league in almost every category, many who follow the team felt that they would not follow the direction of similar franchises like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who embraced a by-any-means-necessary mentality in free agency.

Based on Douglas' personality and track record, the Jets predictably took a more measured approach. 

Any addition can be perceived as positive when you have as many holes as the Jets do. That's the blessing and curse of being a bottom-tier NFL franchise. It's a lot easier to appear that you have improved your team if you have nowhere to go but up.

Short-term victories don't last very long.

The Jets' long-term success will hinge on how well they do in the draft next month. The team has a chance to hit it big with two top-10 selections. The Jets have to walk away from the draft with impact players who can be elite cornerstones for the franchise for years to come. 

However, you can't rely solely on the draft to improve your fortunes. If you are a franchise like the Jets, making the right moves in free agency, combined with the draft, is imperative.

You can't make an upward trajectory from the bottom without successfully operating in those two avenues. Both free agency and the draft have to complement each other.

Let's evaluate what the Jets have done so far in the free-agency period.