Yesterday we looked at the five best things the front office did in 2015. Today let's take a look at the biggest misses.
I have made an effort to be tempered in any criticism in this front office during the first season because it is important to understand how difficult of a job Mike Maccagnan stepped into. He inherited a roster with little in the way of talent. Maccagnan had little choice but to spend in free agency to up the talent level. When you are forced to make that many moves, it is inevitable some will not pan out. There are also a limited number of free agents. Some might have less than ideal pricetags. Others might be less than ideal fits. Guys also start flying off the shelves as soon as free agency begins. You might not get a chance to talk to all of your targets.
You are going to end up with some guys who really help your team but might cost a little too much. You will totally whiff on some others. Not everything is going to be at an absolutely perfect value. You get graded by the end result. In Maccagnan's case, the end result was very good in year one, and the team has a much higher level of talent than the day he took over.
With that in mind, here are some of the moves or nonmoves he might want to do over.
5. Running Back
There was plenty of hype about the Jets' backfield in the offseason. They were supposed to have four quality running backs in Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Zac Stacy, and Stevan Ridley. It did not really work out that way. Ivory and Powell did help the team but were inconsistent. Stacy and Ridley looked like complete whiffs. Neither did much to help the team. This ended up being a below average stable.
4. Tight End
There are two caveats. First, I have to note that Jace Amaro might have made this position a lot better. Second, the team did a nice job of converting Quincy Enunwa into what was essentially an H tight end role. With that said, the Jets got dreadful production out of Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Davis. I don't blame Maccagnan for these guys as much as I blame him for not scanning the waiver wire and bringing in somebody else. Any halfway decent talent was worth a look. This was a case where the status quo was so bad that any sort of change would at least not be a downgrade. Maybe the Jets could have found somebody.
3. Antonio Cromartie
When things don't work out, I am more forgiving of general managers when I can at least understand the thinking, and the plan makes sense. That is the case with Cromartie. You can see why the Jets signed him. There was a huge need at cornerback. Cromartie had success in this same system in 2014. He was also a known commodity within this particular locker room since had spent four seasons with the Jets. Plus he was in the unique position of knowing both the old defense and the new defense during a transition period. It all made sense. We can presume Todd Bowles wanted Cro. It just did not pan out. Cromartie was toasted early in the season, and even a nice late season stretch did not make him worth that money. Fortunately the Jets can let Cro go with no cost to their 2016 cap.
2. Kick Returner
Kick returner was an enigma from the day the Jets released their original 53 man roster with no return man on it. They did re-sign Chris Owusu the next day, but Owusu was hurt for most of the season. I remember there was a lot of talk here that the Jets weren't going to use a roster spot on a guy who only returned kicks. Why would that be, though? Why the heck wouldn't you use a roster spot on somebody who touches the ball multiple times each game to determine field position? I am not sure I understand why the Jets did not make this a priority as the special teams struggled. There are always decent return guys available off the street.
1. Ryan Quigley
Quigley was near the bottom of the league in both average and net punting in 2015. At some point, the Jets should have made serious consideration to bringing in somebody new. They should have been bringing in guys left and right to find somebody better. Punter is another position where you can find quality off the street. It finally caught up with the Jets in the regular season finale.