FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It's over.
The Jets' disappointing season came to an inglorious end on Sunday, with an ugly, 38-3 loss to the New England Patriots - a loss that almost certainly marked the end of the Todd Bowles era too. As SNY and many others have reported, he's expected to be fired in the next 24 hours. He knows it, too.
The Jets, in the end, played hard over the last month of the season, but they still lost nine of their last 10 games. And their 4-12 record was remarkably the worst of Bowles' four seasons. He's gone 24-40, and since starting his career with a 10-5 record through the first 16 weeks of his first season, his teams have gone only 14-35.
The next time the Jets take the field there figure to be a ton of changes on the roster. In the meantime, here are five final takeaways from the Jets' season finale …
1. Trumaine Johnson isn't earning his money
Maybe this will look differently in a few years, but for now the Jets' decision to give Johnson a five-year, $72.5 million contract with $34 million guaranteed was a bad one. He's had a poor season and it got worse on Sunday when he was inactive for the season finale due to disciplinary reasons.
Johnson was late or a no-show for several meetings during the last few weeks, according to a team source, and Bowles finally had enough on Wednesday when he sent Johnson home and said he didn't practice due to "an in-house matter." Johnson returned to practice the next day, but Bowles didn't even give him a uniform for Sunday.
Johnson was considered the best corner on the market when the Jets signed him, but he hasn't lived up to that at all. And at the moment, there's nothing the Jets can do about it. He's due a fully guaranteed $8 million salary next season and if the Jets cut him he'd still count for $24 million against their cap -- $12 million more than if they keep him.
Maybe they can get out of the deal after next season, but for now the Jets are stuck. They just have to hope that next season Johnson comes back with a better attitude and better play.
2. Sam Darnold is the real deal
That should be apparent by now to anyone who has watched him this season. No, this game wasn't his finest. He finished 16-of-28 for 167 yards. But he showed again why he has so much promise. Some of his throws were terrific, like the 22-yarder in the first half that he sailed right over the defender and to Deontay Burnett on the sidelines. He's also so good at avoiding the rush and still making plays.
Keep in mind when grading him that the team around him is terrible. The offensive line has him constantly under pressure. Elijah McGuire coughed up a fumble in the first half that led to an easy Patriots touchdown. And his receivers in this game were Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, Andre Roberts and Deontay Burnett.
Just keep imagining how good he'll be when he gets some actual weapons.
3. The running game desperately needs to be upgraded
Elijah McGuire (235 yards in eight games) is a nice piece to the puzzle, but he's yet to show he can handle a full load, and Isaiah Crowell (685 yards in 13 games) pretty much proved this season that he's not the right guy either. That's why the Jets are expected to make a big run at Le'Veon Bell this offseason.
But it's clear they have to do more than that. The entire offensive line needs an overhaul and they really need to take a good look at the rest of the NFL free-agent crop. There are good running backs expected to be available like Mark Ingram, Tevin Coleman and Latavius Murray. The Jets need to do what they can to bring Bell to New York. If not, they better be in on one of the other ones, too.
4. Todd Bowles deserved better
He had to go. No NFL coach in this era of parity can survive three straight seasons of double-digit losses. At some point, the franchise has to change the culture. And sometimes change for change sake can be good.
But my goodness, this is one bad team that was out on the field on Sunday, and with a 21-year-old rookie quarterback leading them. There aren't many coaches who would've done much better than 4-12 with this mess. No offensive weapons. A bad offensive line. No semblance of a pass rush. A depleted secondary with its best corner out for disciplinary reasons.
Bowles had issues. He wasn't a great game-day coach. His players had far too many discipline problems. But the truth is, Vince Lombardi might not have been able to win with this group.
5. The pressure is on GM Mike Maccagnan now
If Bowles is the scapegoat, all the focus now will be on Maccagnan's decisions - both past and future. His draft record and free agent choices are the reason the Jets put out such an inferior product this season. It appears, though, that he's not in danger of losing his job.
But this will be his second straight offseason with a ton of cap room to spend and yet another in a string of years with a high draft pick. He has to make the most of that. The next coach better have a much-improved roster. Because whether Jets ownership says it or not, Maccagnan really should be entering a win-or-else year.