If Sunday’s loss to the Bills is any indication, Jets fans can already start dreaming about the draft next spring.
It already feels like the Jets are telling you, “Wait ’til next year.” For Jets fans, though, it is fair to wonder if next year will ever come.
The team has gone nine seasons without a playoff appearance, and it appears that streak will hit a decade — the longest playoff drought for the team since it sat out the postseason from 1970-1980.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas bristled when he was asked if he was punting on this season after he traded away Jamal Adams, but it is hard to see how the Jets’ plan is about winning this season.
Douglas is focused on the long view. When he took over in June 2019, he inherited a terrible roster and demanded a six-year contract because he knew there was no quick fix here.
It is the right strategy. Douglas, of course, has to draft well and build up the roster over time. But any long-term gains will be preceded by short-term pain.
The Jets are asking their fans for patience … again. Rightfully so, fans are out of patience. This is a team that is perpetually rebuilding. Douglas is now the third GM in the last seven years to attempt a rebuild.
Sam Darnold looks on during the Jets’ Week 1 loss to the Bills.AP
Douglas’ vision for 2021 and beyond does not mean much for the 2020 Jets. It makes the evaluations of quarterback Sam Darnold and coach Adam Gase difficult. Are their struggles their own or because of their surrounding cast?
The Jets roster must draw chuckles from opposing coaches. Who scares you on the Jets offense? Who do you have to stop on the Jets defense?
Here is a quick exercise for you: Name the top five players on the Jets … waiting …. Marcus Maye … waiting … waiting … waiting.
Maye played lights out on Sunday and looks like he is ready to become a potential Pro Bowl player. Other than him, though, it is hard to find guys who you expect to play well consistently.
Douglas has a lot of work in front of him. There was no way he could have filled all of the Jets needs this offseason after years of poor drafting by his predecessors, but he could have done more for this roster. He chose to fill some of those holes on the cheap. He gave Pierre Desir a one-year, $3.75 million contract to fill the hole at cornerback. Desir was benched in the second quarter of his Jets debut Sunday. Douglas did not throw big money at Byron Jones, who got $82.5 million for five years from the Dolphins, or James Bradberry, who signed a three-year, $43.5 million with the Giants.
Edge rusher is also a hole. The Jets were never seriously interested in signing Jadeveon Clowney or in trading for Yannick Ngakoue, largely because of their price tags.
Douglas addressed the hole at wide receiver by signing Breshad Perriman to a one-year, $6.5 million deal and drafting Denzel Mims in the second round. Mims could not play Sunday because of a hamstring injury. Perriman had three catches. In fairness to Douglas, the free-agent market for receivers was not attractive. He could have paid Robby Anderson, but that is about it. He could have drafted a second wide receiver, but a mid-round receiver is not a guarantee of anything.
The Jets entered the season with $31 million in salary-cap space with the plan of rolling it over into next year when there is cap uncertainty. That and trading away your best player are signals that the front office is thinking about next year.
The Jets are only 0-1, but it already feels like time to start checking out the mock drafts.