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Welcome to the Off-Season: A Time of Hope

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever the Super Bowl ends, I always have mixed emotions. Sadness that we say goodbye to competitive football for the best part of 7 months but excitement about what the off-season provides for the Jets fanbase...hope.

No film sums up hope for a fanbase devoid of success and competitive post-season football than the Shawshank Redemption. To Red “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane”, but to Andy “ Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies”

I tend to agree with Andy here, in that hope is what makes the off-season so special. For the next 7 months, we can discuss how we’re going to improve, how we’re improving and how our improvements will directly impact our win/loss record, and for the summer months, we can hope that the Jets have found the answers to all their questions.

Boy, do the Jets have some questions that they need to answer.

For me, this off-season is one of the most important off-seasons for a long time. The decisions made this off-season can and probably will shape the future of the franchise for years to come.

Will we trade for Watson? Stick with Sam? Draft Wilson or Fields? Adam Schefter reported over the weekend that the Jets had fielded calls from several teams around the availability of their QB, and have yet to make a decision about whether they’ll move him or not.

This off-season has already kicked into gear with the trade of Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff. Rumours are that Carson Wentz will be on his way to a new team this week and the Jets decision on Darnold will follow soon after.

“They’re (Jets) not expected to be far behind in making a quarterback decision that will have leaguewide ramifications”

The NFL Free Agency tampering period begins on the 15th of March, just over a month away. How will Joe Douglas play this free agency? He was reserved in 2020, signing short term teams that resulted in a 2-14 season. I don’t think the record was intentional, but I do think the reluctance to sign players was with an eye on the 2021 NFL Free Agency class.

The Jets haven’t backed themselves into a corner, they don’t have any huge contracts on the books that they’re stuck with it. In essence, the 2021 off-season represents the perfect opportunity to press that re-set button and start again.

The Jets are due to have more cap space than 90% of the league and can open up more space with some key cuts. They need to improve at guard, edge and wide receiver, and what do you know, there are some pretty good players about to hit the market at those positions.

If the off-season goes how we all imagine, the 2021 Jets will look a lot different to the 2020 Jets, and I don’t think anyone is overly upset about that.

The Jets made a good hire in bringing over Robert Saleh from the 49’ers, and he, in turn, has put together a staff we can all be excited about. However, the real work really begins now.

With plenty of cap space, two first-round picks (including a top 5 selection) and a new coaching staff in town, the Jets not only have the capability to slightly improve, they have the capability to drastically improve in one off-season.

With a fanbase that has seen so much failure, there is always an understandable sense of fear. A sense that any player we let go will become Joe Montana, Jerry Rice or Lawrence Taylor, and any player we sign will become Vernon Gholston, Ryan Leaf or Charles Rodgers. I get it, I sometimes feel it too, but making the right decisions at the time sometimes comes with an element of fear, hopefully, we have a GM who does it anyway.

The off-season is here, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.