While the Jets didn't make a move at the trade deadline earlier this week, GM Mike Maccagnan said the team was pursuing a move and that New York would be "very active" during free agency in the offseason.
"I feel very good about where the team is right now ... but we're not where we want to be," Maccagnan said on Thursday, according to Newsday's Al Iannazzone.
Though Maccagnan said he was frustrated at the Jets' 3-5 record, he said he found rookie quarterback Sam Darnold's growth promising and believes the Jets, who are projected to have at least $90 million in salary cap space in the offseason, according to Over The Cap, are putting themselves in a position to "springboard this thing forward," according to The Athletic's Connor Hughes.
"We feel like we have a lot of pieces in place," Maccagnan said, according to Iannazzone.
The Jets have several players who are expected to become free agents, including cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and running back Bilal Powell.
But next year's class of free agents can include star players like running back Le'Veon Bell, safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and more.
Maccagnan told Iannazzone he was on the phone "quite a bit" ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline, and New York was reportedly involved in trade talks with the Jaguars regarding Fowler. However, the Jets felt Jacksonville's asking price was too high for the former first-round pick, and Fowler was traded to the Rams for a third- and a fifth-round pick on Tuesday.
He did not refer to Fowler by name, but Maccagnan said he talks to other teams GMs when a player is on the trading block.
For as much as he focused on the future, Maccagnan looked at the present. He noted, according to Hughes, how offensive lineman Brandon Shell and linebacker Darron Lee took steps forward and how excited he is about Darnold, who has thrown for 1,705 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions through his first eight games.
"We really like his progress and how he's developed," Maccagnan said, according to Iannazzone.