I want to preface this article with the fact that this is complete and 100% speculation and opinion. I am entitled to both.
The Jets have caught more flack this off season than in any I can remember. They have caught more hell than the multiple times they mortgaged the draft and the salary cap to bring in big over priced, under performing players. We started with more cap space than most teams, and little has changed. Fan's have expected every big name to sign to the Jets, some with good reason, some without. I have been frankly unimpressed with this seasons group of free agents. There have been a few who were worth top dollar, but not as many as I feel is normal.
What the Jets have been doing is making under the radar depth signings. The past few seasons fans have complained about the lack of depth on our team. Even when we were competing and winning we were always 1 injury away from Rex Ryan putting a helmet on and going in because no one else could. I haven't felt like we have added many starters in free agency, but we have added quality depth in many places. I feel there are more signings like this to come, as it seems more frequently we hear of players visiting and signing. I understand it is better to have all-stars at all of your starting positions, but in the NFL, it is rare to not lose a few starters every season to injury. If your team lacks depth, your season can easily be lost. Idzik has a deep draft in front of him with 12 picks. I am not assuming that even near 12 will become starters and contribute, but the number and quality of this draft has to help.
The reason I feel Idzik is stocking up on workable depth is for next season. I took a peek at the players who are set to hit unrestricted free agency, and the group looks far stronger. Here are just a few names.
There are far more talented named I left off. I also understand many of these players will get locked up before they hit free agency. Even if 30% of these players see free agency, it will make for a much better class than the one we saw this season. The Jets will again be in a prime position to get more quality players. There is nothing to say that Idzik won't lowball and play it the same as he has this offseason, but I am hoping not. I don't feel that Idzik is ignorant, like some are speculating. I am hoping his "sustainable success" is code for not over spending on a weak FA class, drafting heavily in a deep draft class, and be in prime position to target far better free agents in the following season when we could be in position for a deep playoff run.
I also have to believe that at some point Tom Brady will wear down and the Patriots will fall by the wayside. In my opinion, that team has been kept afloat only by Brady for a number of years. Not since their dynasty days in the Super Bowl have they had a good team around him. Brady shows no signs of slowing down this season, and maybe Idzik feels even if we loaded up on free agents we would still be a wild card at best. I certainly feel so. Unless we had signed literally every top tier free agent, I don't think we would have had more than a 50% chance of unseating New England this season. With every year Brady ages, that chance grows. I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a very noticeable decline in his game by next season, when we could be primed to take over. By then we will know what we have in Geno, our DL will be veterans with star power, and our rookies from this deep draft will all be looking to take a big step forward in their second seasons.
I didnt expect us to fix all of our problems with this free agency class. I don't think anyone else did either. We are just so used to big splashes that we wanted them, for better or worse. This article is entirely opinion and speculation, and a lot of it is also hope. It just feels better to write it and get it off my chest.