The Ancient Greeks told a story of Hope.
It begins with two Titans, Epimetheus and Prometheus, brothers and friends. Prometheus had the gift of prophecy, and foresaw the triumph of the Gods, led by Zeus, over the more ancient Titans. As a result Prometheus and Epimetheus made a deal with the devil, so to speak, and allied themselves with the Titans’ enemies, the Gods. As a reward for their loyalty Zeus gave the Titan brothers the privilege of creating the mortal creatures of the earth. Epimetheus created the animals, and Prometheus created Man. Prometheus’ creation was without claws or teeth or great strength to protect himself in the wild, so Prometheus wished to give Man the gift of Fire. Zeus forbade this. Prometheus ignored Zeus and gave Man Fire to protect himself. Zeus found out and went into a rage. In savage punishment Prometheus was chained to a rock and an eagle feasted on Prometheus’ liver each day. The liver would grow back, only to be feasted on again the next day, leaving Prometheus in eternal agony.
Such sadistic punishment was not enough for the vengeful Zeus. Still enraged, he set out to punish Man as well. Zeus created a beautiful young woman named Pandora. Pandora had the beauty of Aphrodite, as well as charm, wisdom, peace, kindness, generosity, and nearly every other virtue known to Man. Zeus gave Pandora to Epimetheus for a wife, and Epimetheus could not resist the perfect woman. For a wedding present Zeus gave Pandora a box, which he warned her never to open. Pandora’s curiosity got the best of her, and she opened the box against Zeus’ instructions. Out flew all of life’s miseries and tragedies, which quickly escaped and spread throughout the world to bedevil Man ever since. Pandora shut the lid, but too late. Only one thing remained in the box: Hope. Hope, the most precious of gifts, the one thing allowing Man to persevere through the worst of times and the darkest of days.
It is perhaps fitting that this tale is told of Titans. The Jets began life as Titans. A Titanic talent named Broadway Joe brought Fire to New York and raised the franchise to godly heights, only to see it end in misery and pain. The parade of horribles has continued with only brief episodes of near greatness ever since.
Hope has been in short supply for this team lately. For a brief moment a Trojan named Sanchez came bearing gifts, and Hope prevailed, until it all came crashing down at the end of 2011. Since then, there has been little but misery and despair.
The Jets have not sniffed the playoffs since 2010, and the quarterback position has been manned by a long parade of has-beens and never-weres. Even in those few years the Jets got decent play at the position it was by a couple of aging journeyman who were never going to be a long term answer. With the division dominated by a franchise up north featuring an all time great quarterback and an all time great head coach there has never been a time since 2010 when the Jets had any realistic chance of taking the division, let alone winning a Super Bowl. Hope was on holiday, with atrocities like Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg pretenders to the Jets quarterback throne.
The Jets are now assured of at worst their third favorite quarterback in the draft. It is quite possible they will end up with their second favorite, and depending how each team values the quarterbacks, it is not at all out of the question the Jets wind up with their first choice.
There are no guarantees here. No guarantees the Jets end up with the quarterback they most covet. No guarantees the quarterback they do take will end up being any good. No guarantees of anything, other than a guarantee the Jets get one of their three favorite quarterbacks.
There are no guarantees, but this trade revives that most precious gift, Hope.
Consider the rest of the division. Up north Tom Brady will be turning 41 years old in August, and Bill Belichick will turn 66 years old next month. Brady may well have made a deal with dark forces for extended youth, but eventually his play will decline. Maybe this year, maybe next year, maybe the year after that, but even Brady will not be great forever. He is not a long term solution. The only other quarterback on the Patriots’ roster is Brian Hoyer. Raise your hand if you think Hoyer is a long term solution. Anybody? Anybody? Hoyer’s mom, duly noted, you can put your hand down now.
Way down south the Dolphins’ quarterback depth chart consists of forever middling Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Doughty. Anybody see a franchise quarterback in that group?
Then we come to the Land of the Bison. The Bills depth chart consists of career backup A.J. McCarron and Nathan “Five Interceptions In One Quarter” Peterman. We don’t know for sure what either of those fine young men will turn out to be, but how many of you are laying bets on that duo producing a franchise quarterback? The possibility remains that the Bills, with their ample draft capital, could leapfrog the Jets and move up to #2, the Land of the Giants. However, if the Giants are set on taking a quarterback, the Bills won’t be able to pull it off, and if the Giants are open to trading, it isn’t a sure thing they will be willing to move all the way down to the Bills first selection at #12. That leaves the Jets, at least temporarily, in the best position in the division to land a franchise quarterback in the 2018 draft.
Let’s say you are a betting man. You see the current options at quarterback for your rivals are a 41 year old Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Doughty, A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman. On your side is a 25 year old Teddy Bridgewater, a crapshoot with his injury history, but one with a promising start to his career a few years ago, and whomever the Jets select at #3 in the 2018 draft. It is quite likely Brady is in serious decline or retired in four years. Of the other rival options, Tannehill is a known decent but nothing more quarterback. The rest of the rival options are the longest of long shots to ever become a top quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is probably more talented than any rival option not named Brady. If healthy, a big if, Bridgewater has a non-trivial shot at becoming a franchise quarterback. The #3 selection also has a non-trivial shot at becoming a franchise quarterback.
The upshot of all this: it is quite possible the Jets currently hold the two best lottery tickets in the division to have a franchise quarterback in a few years. None of this is guaranteed. Good bets can and do go bad. But if you are a betting man, which team are you placing your bets on to have the best quarterback in the division in a few years? I’m betting on the Jets, without hesitation. And that, my friends, is the precious gift Pandora stashed away in her box. That is something Jets fans have been starved for since 2010. That, my fellow long suffering Jets fans, plagued by all the world’s miseries at the most important position on the field for what seems like a Promethean eternity, that is Hope.