In recent days, weeks, and months, due to the underperforming play of the New York Jets, I have heard rumblings of many fans demanding the blow up of the team. I have heard such ideas such as trading Darelle Revis for a draft pick or two, cutting every defensive player negatively impacting the cap, firing Rex Ryan, going all in with a rookie quarterback or a matt flynn, or tanking the season of getting some stud quarterback in the 2014 draft, etc.
Now, I am simply asking everyone to take a step back for a minute and consider the role of the jets in our every day life, competition in the nfl, and utility value received from a team based on its role and its level of competition. For example, if we were to gut our roster of cap heavy players, trade Revis for a first and a third per-say, and draft a mike glennon to replace a freshly cut Mark Sanchez, what does that create?
Some would say that creates a young, exciting team that's fast, on the rise, and headed to the superbowl. Why? Because when we hear draft picks and new quarterbacks we seem to always envision best case scenario. What we forget is their are more busts than starters in every draft (not even mentioning pro-bowl talent), and that we are more likely to turn into the raiders for the next ten years rather than the patriots. The problem with this plan is it is often forgotten to take into consideration that alot of luck comes into play. Finding the next Tom Brady, Russel Wilson, or Colin Kaepernick is alot more luck than skills, and if anyone had known what these players would turn into, they would be top five picks and not sixth, third, and second rounders. So while the notion is nice to get a "new" quarterback and make cap space, its far more likely we just end up being perennial losers than winners. Just think about some of the teams that seem to have been stuck in the toilet for the last fifteen years, all teams which have almost been consistently drafting in the top ten. A look of the number of losing seasons since 1997 by team:
1. Raiders (9 losing seasons, 4 8-8 seasons)
2. Jaguars (8)
3.Browns (12 seasons, inactive 96-98)
4. Dolphins ( 8 seasons)
5. Bills ( 11 seasons)
6. Bengals (9, 3 8-8 seasons)
7. Lions (12)
8. Rams ( 10)
9. Cardinals (11)
10. Chiefs (9)
11. Redskins (8)
12. Panthers (10)
These are teams who rarely make the playoffs, have had more losing season than winning seasons in the last 15 years, constantly talk about how "next year is the year" and always seem to show glimpses of talent and potential but rarely do they come through. And what is the common mantra of all these teams: "rebuilding". They are skittish and impulsive teams who seem to be unable to build any sort of continuity and thus are more or less consistently pounded by the more veteran organizations. The Jets, believe it or not, have not been part of that pack for the last 15 years. Since 1997, the jets have had only four losing seasons, including this most recent one. And, when calling this season lost, you must also remember the fact that we lost our best offensive skill player (holmes) and best defensive player (revis) for most of the year, not to mention the fact that our second best reciever (keller) was injured basically the whole year. Very few teams can survive a loss like that one, and that fact seems to be almost always over looked. We, as jets fans, for all our whining and complaining, have been a fairly well run organization for the last decade and a half, and have had the misfortune of sharing a division with arguably the greatest franchise in all of sports history, aka the patriots. If, per say, we had the raiders or browns in our division for the last decade and a half, our stats would most likely be even more inflated and we would be considered an "elite" franchise.
Now that is over a third of the league spending more of their time losing and "drafting" their next great player while really just having more lost seasons that fans have to suffer through. And when you say a team like the "redskins" have found their next super-star and are now set for the next decade, remember thats exactly how panther fans felt a year ago with cam newton. There is no sure thing.
Now a month or so ago, a gang green article was posted showing how it was far easier to find a franchise quarterback than maintaining an elite defense. While the facts were true and convincing, one aspect that was overlooked was circumstance. While winning a super bowl would be nice, it is also enjoyable to enjoy the ride, aka the seasons, and maintain a competetive team with an aspect of greatness. The franchise quarterback route involves alot of tanking, luck, and possibly wasting a decade or so of fanhood waiting to strike gold. For every RG3 and peyton manning, there are four joey harringtons and Jamarcus russels. Yet, we have an oppurtunity to do some great right now.
By retaining Revis, and giving him a mega contract, per say 8 years, avg of 14 million a year, with gauranteed money in the first 5 (excluding 2013 because we will be tight on cap), and pairing him with cromartie with the next 2-4 seasons, and finding adequate, average to above average safeties, we have the oppurtunity to create one of the best, if not the best, secondary every in the nfl. Now while everyone worries about the 2013 cap, everyone forgets to mention that we are currently about 40 million under cap for 2014 (considering bart scott and sione pouha are let go, which they will be) without yet cutting mark sanchez, santonio holmes, or david harris, which combined could clear about another 25 million in cap room. That leaves us approximately 65 million under the cap, and per say considering free agents from 2013 and draft picks from 2013, we still have anywhere between 45-55 million under the cap, while already including revis at a 9 million mandatory cap hit if he was to become a free agent. What, do you say, should that money be spent on? Possibly acquiring, or keeping a once iin a lifetime player like Revis, to create a truly dominant defense now that we are given the oppurtunity?
For, even if mark, a new veteran, or a rookie doesnt pan out in 2013, its highly unlikely any veteran like a tom brady, matt ryan, drew brees, or even a phillip rivers or tony romo ever hits the open market to come to the jets. Thus, the jets will have to search for a quarterback either on the cheap hoping for a remodeling project (someone like vick or matt moore), or get a cheap rookie on a five year deal. Thus, even if we sign revis to 14 million over the next realistic 5-7 years, during the time, whatever quarterback we have will most likely be cheap and developing. Not only that, but in the other scenario, if mark sanchez has a bounce back year and gets us to the playoffs, we then have a quarterback and a potentially historic defense making us a contender once agian. We have talent on the defence. Our secondary (Retaining revis) and d-line (ellis, coples, wilkerson, devito) would be stacked, and all we would require is average play from the linebackers, which is achievable from 2-4 round rookies or affordable veterans. Every defense has a soft spot, we just have to make sure ours isn't an absolute achilles heel, and then we potentially have a dominating defense once again for the next five years.
A counter argument is that the offense will then wither. But that goes back to my point that A), in 2014 we have a huge amount of cap room we will have to spend somewhere, and B) that whatever quarterback we have while we keep revis and cromarties, won't be expensive. As for the skill players on the offense,we surprisingly have a fairly solid pool of wide recievers that so far just have to be developed, and and rock solid at center, left tackle, and 1B running back. We simply needs gaurds, consistent quarterback play, a leading back, some developmental wide outs, and a new tight end figuring keller is let go (which he should be in my opinion). The team is not the abomination that many fans and media have been calling it, and has the ingredients present to create a very strong team for years to come.
Again, this is a plea for calm, patience, and fore-sight to see that our cap situtation is simply a one year issue, that we are rolling in dough in 2014, and that we will be clamoring to use that money on a player like revis in 14'. Think about that, we will be 65 million under the cap with revis accounting for 9 million of it already! Whats another 5 million? And yes, it is true we have holes to fill, we can retool and build around some of our extrodinary strengths, instead of turning into the raiders or jaguars for the next decade. Ask yourself, do you really want to spend even the next 5 years watching a losing team building up a bunch of young inexperienced talent that might amount to nothing?
Anyways, I apologize for not properly sourcing my numbers (the losing season amount is wikipedia, and the cap count is from nyjetscap.com), yet I see a mob like effect developing which might destroy the team we all love due to hysteria and panic.