NY Jets doubters are in for a rude awakening in 2024

Defending this team as a fan can be exhausting...here's why:
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The national media's coverage of the NY Jets this offseason has been like no other. According to the public, Aaron Rodgers doesn't care about the Jets. This is the same Aaron Rodgers who deferred $35M guaranteed before 2023, showed up to every single voluntary practice of OTAs, and spent his time rehabbing from his Achilles injury last year with the team.

The coverage of Rodgers' absence from minicamp is still making headlines today. Ask any Jet fan about his absence and the general answer is usually "I don't care." Yes, it is the slow part of the news cycle around the league, but the "Rodgers doesn't care" narrative is incredibly lazy.

We've seen it with recently acquired edge rusher Hasson Reddick as well. While I can't say that Jets fans were fully expecting a holdout, it is pretty understandable. Reddick is entering the last year of a three-year $45 million contract he signed with Philadelphia prior to joining the Jets.

He's the 17th highest paid at his position in the league and is going to be wanting somewhere in the $25-$30 million range. One vacation photo later and suddenly Reddick also doesn't care about the team. There were plenty of Jets fans in on that take, as well.

In the latest round of the media's rational coverage of our beloved Jets, Pro Football Talk released their power rankings heading into the 2024 season. The Jets came in at 25th. This is beyond disrespectful to the Jets.

Now, the last time the Jets appeared in the playoffs, I was in grade school. One can understand the pessimism surrounding the Jets, especially for those who aren't fans of the team.

However, it is clear that the Jets are in a much better position to succeed than they were going into last year. They've added three new starters on the offensive line while drafting their future left tackle in Olu Fashanu.

As a Jet fan, I've learned to take some positives out of the worst imaginable outcomes. Rodgers goes down in four plays? Great, now we can see exactly what the team needs to address heading into next season.

It was clear the Jets were far away from legitimately contending last season, even with a healthy Rodgers. With over a dozen starting combinations on the offensive line and no real receiving threats on the team outside of Garrett Wilson, fans were given a clear view of exactly what needed to change going forward.

A healthy NY Jets team should be seen as legitimate contenders

Now with any prediction related to the Jets this year, it will all hinge on the health of their quarterback. But for the sake of argument, let's say he plays all 17 games. On what planet are these Jets the 25th-best team in football?

The Jets' defense contained Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, and C.J. Stroud last season. This defense only got better this offseason, swapping out Bryce Huff for Reddick on the edge. The Jets have the best cornerback trio in all of football and two All-Pros at linebacker.

Take into account that it is all but guaranteed that the defense will spend less time on the field this season, with a more than competent offense playing to Aaron Rodgers' tune.

Over the last three seasons Rodgers has played, he's won two MVPs. Can we expect this level of production off his injury? Perhaps not. However, if the Jets can get a top 12-15 quarterback in Rodgers this season, they are set up to be one of the better teams in the league.

And that's the floor for Rodgers. Who's to say he's still not on the level of guys like Mahomes, Allen, and Joe Burrow? He's got a legitimate offensive line, a familiar face at coordinator in Nathaniel Hackett, a true No. 1 in Garrett Wilson, and an absolute freak athlete in Breece Hall at running back.

During his 15 years starting with Green Bay, Rodgers had a top-10 total defense in yards allowed just four times. His record in those four seasons: 47-18. When Rodgers had a top-five defense in 2010, he went on to win his one and only Super Bowl.

At the end of the day, you don't have to take it from me. Bookmakers around the country believe the Jets will end the longest active playoff drought in the four major sports this upcoming season. The Jets over/under win total this season is set at 9.5, as it was last year.

All things considered, this is a very realistic number for this group. This a long-winded way of saying anyone who doubts the talent on this Jets team going into next season could finally be in for a rude awakening. Ryan Fitzpatrick's single-season records are officially in danger.