Count Stephen A. Smith among those unimpressed with the NY Jets' offseason moves so far.
On Tuesday's episode of "First Take," Smith and fellow ESPN analyst Marcus Spears discussed team rankings in the AFC East. The debate got heated when Spears said the New England Patriots may have to worry about finishing last in the division this season given the sheer amount of talent on the Jets and on the Miami Dolphins.
On paper, Spears' comments hold some truth as the Jets and Dolphins have each enjoyed an incredibly successful offseason to plug up the holes on their roster.
The Patriots, on the other hand, do have an experienced ringleader in Bill Belichick, but they also made questionable draft choices like taking Cole Strange in the first round.
Spears' comment that the Pats may finish below the Jets this year made Smith's jaw drop to the ground, and Smith launched his rebuttal in his classic, overly dramatic fashion.
"I mean, you got to be kidding me. The New York Jets are in this division, and you’re talking about the Patriots who have to worry about being in last place in the AFC East? The New York Jets, they regressed to a point where Fireman Ed said let me retire from putting out fires, because that’s how bad the New York Jets are."- Stephen A. Smith
NY Jets face unprovoked backlash from ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith
Smith then puts down Jets quarterback Zach Wilson for his mediocre performance in his rookie year and also attacks head coach Robert Saleh. Defense is supposedly Saleh's forte, but New York ranked last in several defensive categories across the board this past season.
What Smith fails to mention, though, is any single one of the Jets' offseason acquisitions that have helped them become a much more competitive team on paper, at least.
In free agency, New York picked up C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Laken Tomlinson, D.J. Reed, Jordan Whitehead, and on top of that, assembled a super promising rookie class with potential studs on both sides of the ball.
Saying something with an exclamation mark doesn't make it any more true, and Smith essentially writes off the Jets' 2022 season on the basis of their history and history alone.
This upcoming season, the Jets have masses of haters to prove wrong, Stephen A. Smith included, and finishing third in the AFC East seems like a daunting but achievable feat.
The long journey back to relevance begins in 2022.