Just hours after the New York Jets upset the Miami Dolphins on their home turf who were battling for a playoff berth, The mood around the Jets locker room and the fans is filled with optimism. Usually, the mood surrounding an 8-8 team who will not be making the playoffs would not be this happy. However, with this team and this type of a coach, I'm not surprised. Looking forward, there is definitely much to be optimistic about. With many draft selections, a ton of cap and a defense filled with emerging young players, the Jets look to be one of the up and coming teams in the league. Here is my take on how the Jets should go about this very important offseason in no particular order.
Stability on the Coaching Staff
One of the most essential parts of this offseason is keeping this coaching staff in tact. With Rex Ryan staying, Marty Morningweg is the next coach that needs to be resigned. While it could be said that the offense's performance was brutal at times, that can be directly correlated to the inconsistent play of Geno Smith and the lack of talent surrounding the rookie QB. Keeping Morningweg will help the development of Geno Smith with what would be his 2nd year with the same system.
There is usually always movement with position coaches in the NFL, with that statement being already proven true with the Jets linebacker coach taking a college head coaching job. The Jets front office should try to limit the movement on the coaching staff due to the fact that continuity will really help this team develop.
One of the most blaring weaknesses for the Jets in recent years in the inability to draft well. They've had some success with the picks of Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Jeremy Kerley, but that should be expected especially with a defensive coach and Wilkerson and Richardson being 1st round picks. Only Kerley has been an effective player who has been drafted late (5th round pick).
You can go down the line and easily point out weaknesses on the Jets roster. However, the Jets have to make sure they pick a player on his skills, not his position. For example, the Jets will be most likely going offense and more specifically WR with their first pick. For some reason WRs go early before their pick, they can not panic and pick a WR just for the sake they need a WR. Take the New England approach and trade down for more picks. This is known to be a pretty deep draft, so trading down might not be a bad option for the Jets who need to fill many holes.
This is a VERY important draft for the Jets. With 4 picks in the first 3 rounds it is almost necessary the Jets draft effectively. We will see what direction John Idzik takes this team in.
Using the Cap Wisely
The Jets will have a ton of cap space this offseason with the certainty that the team will cut loose QB Mark Sanchez and WR Santonio Holmes which would clear up about 16 million. In addition, the Jets could elect to cut Antonio Cromartie but that would result in 5 million in dead cap. It is more likely the team would ask Cromartie to restructure his contract if willing which will result in more cap room.
The Jets can not afford to overpay mediocre talent in free agency. This free agency group is not the most talented group out there. And overpaying someone like Jeremy Maclin coming off an ACL tear wouldn't be the smartest thing in the world. Sure, Maclin would definitely help this sorry group of WRs, but for the right price. The key is patience for the front office along with the fan base. I'm not saying they shouldn't dish out money, but dishing out money and overpaying just because they have cap space could kill the development of the entire team.
There is no doubt this offseason is extremely important to this team. With an 8-8 team on the brink of playoff contention, this offseason can put can put the Jets into playoffs for the foreseeable future, or set them back to another mediocre season. Patience within the Jets organization will be key in everything they do this offseason whether it's the draft, free agency or resigning their own players. The fan base should recognize this as well. I hope this article was worth reading and thank you for taking your time out of your day to read my article and feed back positive and negative is extremely appreciated!