The Jets dismal 5-11 season left them heading into an offseason of uncertainty with a high draft pick and seemingly little hope. At the moment, there are far more questions about their plans and the future than there are acceptable answers.
But since you asked, I'll give it a shot anyway in the first offseason edition of my SNY Jets Twitter mailbag. Part I ran on Wednesday. Here, as promised, is Part II:
If we do select a qb in draft. Do we sign a vet and go with 4? Or who gets the out? -- @wendo2000
I wouldn't worry about four quarterbacks again. I think that was an anomaly last season, and a product of the Jets' indecisiveness and uncertainty about the position and their stunning lack of faith in Christian Hackenberg coming out of camp. I can't imagine they make that mistake again.
It is, of course, impossible to project who is the odd man out without knowing who the players are. But in that scenario, if they draft a quarterback - particularly if they draft one in the first or even the second round - I would think they'd have to sign a veteran backup or placeholder. And since they're not going to be ready or willing to cut Hackenberg, last year's second-rounder, after one season of inactivity, my guess would be Bryce Petty would be the odd man out.
Honestly, he might be regardless. He wasn't exactly thrown into a good situation at the end of last season, but he didn't impress the Jets with his accuracy, his decision making, or the way he handled the position in general. From what I've been told, they thought he was OK in some spots, but they saw nothing that screamed "franchise quarterback". Maybe a future backup, but if they add a veteran then even that path to the roster would be blocked.
His best bet is for the Jets to sign or trade for a veteran quarterback - someone like Tampa's Mike Glennon - and not select another quarterback in the draft. If that happens, Petty would likely stick around and battle Hackenberg for the No. 2 job.
Jets OL must be upgraded. How would you go about fixing the greatest need at LT? -- @yetsober
The Jets will very likely be looking for two tackles this offseason. Ryan Clady, the left tackle, is gone. The Jets have a team option on his contract for 2017, but it would cost them $10.5 million in real and cap money to keep him. Right tackle Breno Giacomini is 31, coming off a back injury, and the Jets can save $4.5 million in cap room by cutting him so he's likely gone too. And Ben Ijalana is a free agent and the Jets will likely look to upgrade over him anyway.
So, since they need two, I'd go for one veteran in free agency and I'd use an early pick in the draft on another one. It's a little early to project which players would be worthy of the sixth overall pick, but I wouldn't rule out the Jets taking a tackle there. Alabama's 6-6, 326-pound Cam Robinson might be a guy to watch there if his stock starts rising during the all-star games and combine.
As for free agency, the problem is that most of the best available free agent linemen are right tackles and mediocre. They probably could get Riley Reiff (Detroit) for a decent price, but the best available right tackles, like Ricky Wagner (Baltimore), are going to be worth far more than the Jets just gave guard Brian Winters (four years, $29 million, $15 million guaranteed). I would not recommend bringing in older players at this stage of the Jets' rebuilding project, so I'd rule out signing Andre Whitworth (Cincinnati) who is 35, and I wouldn't entertain the idea of trading for Cleveland's Joe Thomas (32).
If the Broncos don't exercise their option on 29-year-old Russell Okung, he could be a short-term option on the left side. They could also take a flier on Matt Kalil (Minnesota) who is coming off hip surgery and has been a disappointment since his rookie season (2012), but is only 27 and shouldn't cost too much.
In other words, it's not going to be an easy fix. But given the available veterans, a tackle - preferably a long-term left tackle prospect - would seem to be a must in one of the first two rounds of the draft. I doubt they can afford to get into a bidding war for a veteran tackle, since whatever cap room they create may have to go towards a quarterback first, so a stopgap like Okung or Kalil might turn out to be their best bet.
Give me 3 reasons to renew my season tickets next year. -- @JDeHanes7
Well, you've suffered through watching them this long, so what's another year?
Seriously, I wouldn't tell you or even advise you what to do with your money, especially given the insane prices of both tickets and Personal Seat Licenses these days. But I'm going to interpret your question as less financial and more spiritual, in a sense. As in: Why should you have faith that the Jets are finally going to get it right?
The best reason to believe that is in the yearly standings. One year ago the Jets were coming off a 10-6 season. Yeah, it ended in disappointment and no playoffs, but 10 wins in the NFL isn't nothing, it's usually good enough for a playoff spot, and I'm guessing since the Jets went 6-2 at home - including a Week 16 overtime win over the Patriots - that people who bought tickets in 2015 felt they got their money's worth, whatever that was.
My point is: Things change in the NFL. Quickly. There's no reason it can't happen again.
That's not to say next season won't be painful. It might be. A lot of that may depend on whom the Jets bring in at quarterback. Whether it's a rookie or a veteran they won't be as lucky as Dak Prescott was with the Cowboys. The next Jets quarterback isn't taking over a loaded team. It's taking over a team with huge questions along the offensive line, at tight end, at receiver, in the secondary … Wait, what was my point again?
Oh, right. Faith. Well, the Jets certainly appeared to bottom out in 2015. Do I think they're a playoff contender waiting to happen? Probably not. But I do think at this point there's really nowhere to go but up.