The Jets have ended their season and on the same day as their final game, head coach Adam Gase was fired. They have a lot of different paths they can go with a very high draft pick (No. 2 overall) as well as other picks such as the first round pick the team acquired in the blockbuster deal involving Jamal Adams going to the Seahawks. This is a complete system reset for the team but it will be very hard. Here is what I would do if I were the GM of the New York Jets. Also let me know what other teams I should do this with.
We will start with the head coaching position then move on to the players. As you may know, as of 1/4/21, the Jets have invited many candidates to interview, including but not limited to Colts DC Matt Eberflus, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Titans OC Arthur Smith, and Bills OC Brian Daboll. Keep in mind these are all requests made on day 1 of the coaching search and more are likely to come. Of these, I like Bieniemy and Daboll most but, there is one candidate who the fans and myself love. That is Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell. I believe he is the best option for the jets and one that other teams aren't looking into as much. He is a culture builder and leader, a lot like Sean McVay. Now for the sake of realism, since at the time Campbell hasn't recieved an interview request from Joe Douglas who is leading the search as ownership has taken a step back regarding the search, we are going to look deeper into the 4 that have been requested to interview as of now.
Daboll I believe would be a better coach for this situation as I feel he would lead a culture change slightly better than Bieniemy. That being said, Bieniemy in my opinion is a better playcaller and his offense has averaged 31.5 points per game with the Chiefs, however keep in mind that the Chiefs have a more high powered offense than the Jets. Daboll on the other hand has had 51% of his teams playcalls to be succesful which is an incredible amount. He has a special bond with his players and is one of the most creative coordinators in the league. Plus with his emphasis on the pass he has been able to make those completed plays count for more than the run focused Bieniemy with his running back background. I also feel as if Daboll would be more interested in the Jets job than Bieniemy so we will go ahead and hire Brian Daboll as the new coach of the New York Jets
This is the part the media focuses on the most. With a meeting today between Sam Darnold and GM Joe Douglas, this should be figured out soon. First, lets start with the current depth chart for the Jets. Previously mentioned Sam Darnold is the starter, behind him is veteran Joe Flacco who played well in the absence of Darnold, and James Morgan, drafted last year. First of all, Flacco will likely walk away from the team no matter what happens this offseason, so we will factor him out of this. Morgan is quite intriguing and could be a decent prospect, however I do not believe Morgan is thought of as anything more than a project backup by Joe Douglas so we will keep him as a backup. Darnold has had an interesting season. He has a 59.6% average completion percentage, throwing 9 touchdowns, 2208 yards, and 11 interceptions according to Pro Football Reference.
I think he has room to grow, however, not enough for him to become a franchise QB or anything better than mediocre amongst the league's QBs. So I would think we start fresh with a new QB from the draft. In this scenario, it is ideal to trade Darnold so the new rookie can get started without competition. Reports are saying the asking price is a 2nd round pick as well as a 3rd or 4th round pick. Options to deal him to are mainly the Saints and Broncos, among other teams. Where he gets traded to entirely depends on whether or not the Broncos choose to hold on to their QB Drew Lock. If they keep Lock, the Jets should trade Darnold to the Saints, if not they deal him to the broncos. I think they will let go of Lock and we can deal him to Denver. Here, I think the broncos are desprate enough with competition from the Saints to take Darnold in exchange for a 1st round pick next year, along with a 4rd round pick in this April's draft. With the QB situation figured out, lets find out who the Jets will take in the draft.
The Jets have the 2nd overall pick in the draft due to their 2-14 record. They also own another 1st round pick from the trade with the Seahawks giving them Jamal Adams. They also acquired a 3rd round pick from this trade. The biggest question for the Jets here is what QB do they take with their first pick of the draft? Sure they could try to package up using all 3 of the previous picks to snag Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, which some Jets fans are on board with, but many fans believe based on the College Football Playoff semi-final game between Lawrence's tigers and the Buckeyes led by QB Justin Fields that Fields is the guy for the Jets moving forward. Others disagree and believe BYU QB Zach Wilson would do better. But, what if they didn't have to choose? What if they traded down out of this pick but still be in position to get 1 of these players. When I simulated this draft, I got 2 trade offers as the Jets, both containing a 1st, a 2nd, a 4th, and a 1st and 2nd next year from the Bengals and the Panthers. Here I would accept the Bengals offer as only the Falcons in my eyes would take a QB and the sim engine didn't have any QBs picked.
Leaving the jets with an extra 2nd round pick and a 1st next year. From here we must make a choice as the sim didn't have the falcons taking a QB. Fields can be better at times but has internal clock issues that cost his team against Indiana. It depends on Fields' performance in the national championship against Alabama and if he doesn't play well we can take Wilson and if he does we can take Fields. As of now I think Wilson is better due to his ability to throw it deep more often and accurate. With our second pick in this round, we could go any direction but I would help out the defense and take an edge rusher. Here the best available is Gregory Rosseau from Miami. However, Clemson's Travis Etienne is still on the board but we can trade up to get him. Here we can use the Bengals 38rd overall pick along with a 4th rounder and a future 6th rounder to land the star RB. With the 34th overall pick, the Jets have a lot of options once again. There are a lot of good CB options available including Florida State's Asante Samuel Jr., Clemson's Derion Kendrick, and Georgia's Eric Stokes. OT Alex Leatherwood is an option and one of the best OTs in the draft. It's also worth mentioning TE Hunter Long as an option but there are good tight ends deeper in the draft and in free agency.
Here it is likely between Leatherwood and Samuel. I think Leatherwood would fit better, since we brought in an offensive coordinator instead of a defensive one. In the 3rd round, the Jets have another good cornerback on the board in Kary Vincent Jr. from LSU. He is the best option and fit available here so we will take him here. At 97, I like Syracuse's Andre Cisco to pair with Marcus Maye in the backfield, this could become a dangerous backfield with Bryce Hall and Kary Vincent Jr, plus Cisco is the best available at an unpicked position for this team. At the Bengals 4th round pick they gave to us for Sewell, we can take OG Trey Smith from Tennessee. He was a great blocker for the Vols, one of the few bright spots on the team. In the 5th round, Clemson's WR Amari Rodgers is still on the board somehow so that is a great add to the WR core. At the 2nd 5th round pick the Jets snag Kentucky Center Drake Jackson, to help rebuild the offensive line again. In the 6th round, the Jets select tight end Jeremy Ruckert from Ohio State who would help provide additional options for Wilson or Fields, alongside WR Trevon Grimes because you can never have too much targets to throw to. Finally, the Jets snag LB Jack Sanborn from Wisconsin to add to the defense.
Overall I think this is a great draft class, no matter if we take Wilson or Fields as they are incredibly similar. And with the trade from the desperate Bengals, we can snag an additional 1st and 2nd round pick for next year at no cost whatsoever to the franchise.
The Jets, with Sam Darnold and before the draft are estimated to have over 68 million in cap space according to spotrac. First, we have to resign Marcus Maye. I would assume this would be a 4 year deal valued at 9 million per year. Next, we can sign Brian Poole to a 6 million per year, 3 year deal. Perriman is due to hit the market and I would expect him to be signed to a good sized deal at 10 million per year for 4 years. Now the Jets have 40 million in cap space remaining. Let's use 5 million of that to give Patrick Onwuasor a 4 year deal. Jordan Jenkins and Frankie Luvu can also be resigned to 5 million each. Now with 25 million remaining we can go out and find some players from other teams to sign. We can use 8 million of that to sign TE Hunter Henry from the chargers on a 6 year deal. We can also sign DE Jadeveon Clowney to a 3 year deal worth 7 million. Both are hefty overpayments but I would expect some overpay since not too many want to come to the Jets so there would be some fiscal enticement.
With 3 first round picks, and some positions with talented rookies who wont see the field, it seems like the Jets should make some big trades. I personally think Julio Jones would be a great option to add to this new offense. We would likely need to trade newly signed Breshad Perriman in order for this to work with the cap. From there we can add a 2022 first round pick and a 3rd rounder in 2021 and that would likely be a winning package.
This team is much improved, quite young and with a great coach. They have veteran leaders and lots of draft capital to use in the future. They may not have a ton of cap space but they used their cap to lock up the young core for years to come. Lets take a look at the final roster.
QB: Zach Wilson
RB: Ty Johnson/Travis Etienne
OT: Mekhi Becton/Alex Leatherwood
OG: Trey Smith/Josh Andrews
C: Conner McGovern
TE: Jeremy Ruckert/Hunter Henry/Chris Herndon
WR: Julio Jones/Jamison Crowder/Denzel Mims/Amari Rodgers
DE:Gregory Rosseau/Henry Anderson
DT: Folorunso Fatukasi
OLB: Frankie Luvu/Jordan Jenkins
MLB: Jack Sanborn/Patrick Onwuasor
FS: Andre Cisco/Ashtyn Davis
SS: Marcus Maye
CB: Bryce Hall/Brian Poole/Bless Austin
There are a lot of positions that have multiple players that can rotate in and out which I personally think is a positive. Thanks for reading and let me know what other teams I should do this for.