Mike Sando of ESPN spoke with dozens of league executives to grade the offseason each NFL team had.
Here is what Sando had to say about the Jets.
The Jets did what had to be done to land their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold. That one move could make 2018 the offseason that boosts their organization for the next decade. Yet, are the Jets set up well to support a young quarterback? They employ an exceptional mentor in Josh McCown, but they are not stacked at wide receiver or tight end. Their new offensive coordinator, Jeremy Bates, is unproven and doubling as quarterbacks coach on a staff with a defense-minded head coach.
”Darnold throws too many interceptions in today’s football and had nine fumbles in his [final collegiate season],” an exec said, “so you are starting with teaching him how to take care of the ball, which is harder in the NFL. It’s a huge task to get a rookie QB ready -- like raising a child, except a bunch of hostile defenders are trying to stop you. When things are going poorly on third down, [Bates] starts spending more time scripting and [studying] video and less time getting the meeting ready.”
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was the Jets’ big signing in free agency. His five-year, $72.5 million deal gives him a $14.5 million average that is second in the NFL, behind that of Josh Norman($15 million). Johnson ranks fifth among corners with 10 interceptions the past three seasons (seven in 2015).
”Getting Trumaine Johnson is good for them because now they have two safeties and a starting corner,” an exec said. “That will make a significant difference. Quarterback-wise, I think they are in a better situation now than if they would have gotten Kirk Cousins. You give up draft capital [trading up for Darnold], but you help your defense with the savings, and they signed Terrelle Pryor, too. I think that is a smarter way of doing it.”
To me, this offseason is essentially the Sam Darnold offseason. The team did not make many major commitments aside from drafting Darnold. The signing of Johnson is one of the few exceptions.
In a soft free agent class, the Jets seemed to prefer low risk upside plays, a strategy I don’t disagree with. They will be set up again with a lot of cap space to try again in 2019, where hopefully the free agent class will be better, and the team will be an easier sell with Darnold at quarterback.
The team entered the offseason with a number of long-term holes. Many of those holes remain, but the exception is the most important position on the field. That counts for a lot.