Yesterday, the Jets ended off the season on a high note by knocking the Dolphins out of playoff contention. Woody Johnson and John Idzik decided that keeping Rex was the right move, garnering much happiness from fans and players alike.
I want to go on record right now, that I am predicting the Jets will make the playoffs next year. You heard me correctly...the Jets WILL make the playoffs next year, and I think they will be legitimate Super Bowl Contenders. I will save the prediction about our season record until after free agency and draft, but I am confident enough to make this prediction right now.
The Jets are a team who are poised for a fast rebuild. Think Seahawks of 2011. They were not a very good team. That year was the fourth straight year they had a losing record. They were rebuilding, but nobody expected such a quick turnaround. However, they were blessed with a lot of cap space and 10 draft picks. This allowed for the Seahawks to quickly turn their fortune around and become one of the best teams in the league.
This year, the Jets are in a very similar position. And we even have the man that contributed to the Seahawks recent success to help us, John Idzik. Here is how Idzik can help us become a Superbowl contender by as early as next year.
This cut is obvious to any Jets fan, Mark is just not a good quarterback and is taking up too much money.
He is a cancer, hasn't produced in a few years, and also costs too much money.
There are better receivers out there.
Notable Free Agent Losses:
Had 10+ sacks this year, but benefitted from the Sons of Anarchy on the line. I think even Vernon Gholston could have gotten a sack playing behind this line. Let him free.
He has done nothing to demonstrate his ability as an effective NFL player.
He is JAG if you ask me. Can be replaced.
Old and injured.
Can he even play anymore?
This guy has impressed me immensely in the limited playing time he was given this year. Great rotation guy along our D-Line.
Was one of the best kickers in the league this year. No brainer.
Had a decent year this season, I bring him back for another year, and let him start while finding some young depth.
He had a good year this season, deserves another contract.
Bring him back on the cheap. Don't start him, allow him to come in on sub packages. Let him continue imparting his wisdom on our young secondary.
Showed potential in his limited opportunities this year.
I think he could be useful with Rex as a coach if healthy.
HERE'S WHERE THINGS GET INTERESTING (Notable Free Agent Pickups):
He is expected to get released by the Titans this offseason. He has a huge contract, and has just not lived up to it. However, living in Nashville, I have talked to many Titans fans about him, and they all feel that the reason for his decline in play is due to a bad O-Line. He is obviously talented, as he has shown by running for 2,000 yards a few years ago. I say we sign Chris Johnson and his speed to go along with Chris Ivory and his power, and we find build and O-Line to open holes for both of them. Which leads me to my next pickup.
He never should have been let go by the Jets, and after a good season with the Bears, he hits free agency again. He would fit nicely in between Brick and Mangold like he used to.
It is obvious that the Jets need playmakers on offense, and Maclin could help fill that need. He's coming off of a season ending injury and that should lower his stock. I think he is worth the risk and could become a great target for us if he pans out.
Orakpo could be the edge rusher that this defense has sorely been missing. I am salivating at the potential of having him start behind our stud D-Line. I think he could wreck a lot of havoc, and turn our front 7 into even more of a strength.
Verner has had an amazing year with the Titans, and I think he would really thrive in a Rex Ryan defense. He's young and physical, and would help bolster our cornerback group.
This guy can hit. He can fly. He is an ex-Raven, and I have a feeling he would fit the Jets' aggressive, physical style of play. I think he would turn into a JET real quickly. He's got Tom Brady's number, which is perfect since, we play Brady twice a year. With Byrd and Whitner both hitting free agency, I think Pollard could be had for a reasonable price.
Sign him for depth behind Geno Smith.
HERE'S WHERE WE FILL IN THE REMAINING HOLES OF OUR FOOTBALL TEAM AND TURN THE JETS INTO A CONTENDER (The Draft):
First Round Draft Pick: Eric Ebron, TE
This guy is a physical freak. He's listed at 6'4" 245 lbs. He's fast. He's got good hands. He's extremely athletic. He can play TE or he could line up in the slot, giving Marty Morhwinweg some flexibility as to how to use him. He could be just what Geno needs in terms of a security blanket.
*TRADE* Our Second Round Pick, Seventh Round Pick, and Antonio Cromartie in return for a higher Second Round Draft Pick: Jordan Matthews, WR
Jordan Matthews may be the receiver that this offense needs. He has size, at 6'3" 205 lbs. He is a polished receiver, and goes up and gets the ball. With Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, and Marqise Lee all projected to go before him, he could potentially last until the 2nd round. However, I think he will be gone by the time we pick with our original 2nd round pick, which is why we trade up for him. A lot of people have stated that we should drop Cromartie due to his declining play and big contract. However, Cromartie got voted as a pro bowl alternate (I don't know how), so there may still be a market for him. Why cut him, if you could trade him in the draft?
*TRADE* Both our Third Round Picks in return for a mid-round Second Round Draft Pick and a Sixth Round Pick: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE
Yes, I am double dipping at Tight End. Just like Eric Ebron, this guy is also a physical freak. He's listed at 6'7" 270 lbs. Not many NFL players are blessed with that kind of size. He could potentially be the second coming of Gronkowski or Graham, and would represent good value in the second round.
Fourth Round Pick: Terrence Brooks, FS
This is the first defensive pick in the draft. Terrence Brooks is a guy who plays very physical, is a good asset in the run game, can blitz, and is good in the pass game. He is very versatile. He is a big part of the undefeated Florida State University defense. He is worth a pick to see if Rex can develop him into something great.
Fifth Round Pick: De'Anthony Thomas, RB
De'Anthony is incredibly fast, and would help as an RB and possibly as a returner. If he were bigger, he could be a first round pick, but he is 5'10" and only 176 lbs, which might cause him to drop. If he does, it would be worth picking him up with a late round pick, and seeing what he can do. Low risk, High reward.
Sixth Round Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
Jimmy flashes potential, but like many late round picks, needs a lot of development. Would be good to get him to be a backup to Geno Smith next year, and see if our coaches can develop him into anything.
Sixth Round Pick: Brandon Linder, OG
Lets build some depth for our offensive line.
Seventh Round Pick: Derrell Johnson, OLB
Some depth for our Linebacking corps. If anybody can develop a linebacker, it's Rex.
Seventh Round Pick: DeDe Lattimore, ILB
Some depth for our Linebacking corps. If anybody can develop a linebacker, it's Rex.
QB: Geno Smith, Seneca Wallace, Jimmy Garoppolo
RB: Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory, De'Anthony Thomas, Bilal Powell
FB: Tommy Bohanon
TE: Eric Ebron, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Zach Sudfield
OT: Brick, Howard
OG: Matt Slauson, Willie Colon, Brian Winters, Brandon Linder
DE: Wilkerbeast, Boss Hogg
DT: Harrison, Douzable
OLB: Orakpo, Coples, Barnes, Derrell Johnson
MLB: David Harris, DeMario Davis, DeDe Lattimore
FS: Antonio Allen, Ed Reed, Terrence Brooks
SS: Bernard Pollard, Dawan Landry
K: Nick Folk
P: Robert Quigley
KR: De'Anthony Thomas
There you go, Jets fans. With a team like that, we will be Superbowl Contenders by this time next year. This offseason is about adding tons of talent on offense all while filling in a few holes on defense. With an offseason like this, we instantly improve our talent on offense with a great RB in Chris Johnson, and by giving Geno a lot of new toys to play with in Jordan Matthews, Jeremy Maclin, Eric Ebron, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Imagine the possibilities. We could play double tight end sets with Ebron and Seferian-Jenkins in there at the same time, with Matthews and Maclin out wide and Kerley in the middle. We could go tall and split Ebron into the slot with Seferian-Jenkins playing tight end, and Hill and Nelson out wide. An offense like this should make Marty Morhinwheg salivate at all of the possibilities all while allowing our Defense to continue to dominate.
The addition of Orakpo, Pollard, and Verner would instantly strengthen all of the weaknesses in our already strong defense. Imagine 4-3 set, with Wilkerson, Harrison, Richardson, and Coples with their hands down in the dirt. Behind them you've got Orakpo, Harris, and Davis/Barnes. Behind them, you have Verner, and Milliner, with Pollard and Allen backing them up. How do you beat that? How do you even have time to throw? Can you even run on that front? Doubtful. I'll take a defense of that caliber against any offense in this league, any day of the week.
THAT my friends, is how we turn this franchise around.
What do you guys think? Leave thoughts in the comments section.