The 2016 season for the New York Jets was a complete failure. The team finished the season with a record of 5-11, and never got going after a 1-5 start. After falling just short of the playoffs in 2015 with a 10-6 record, the expectations appeared clear that this team was all in to make it to the playoffs and eventually make a run to the Super Bowl. The season was a train wreck. It all started when the team resigned Ryan Fitzpatrick to a 1 year deal, after setting Jets quarterback records in 2015. After a solid 2015 season, the team wanted to have a similar look for 2016. Fitzpatrick played in 14 games, throwing 12 touchdown passes for 2,710 yards, with 17 interceptions. The team gave Geno Smith a shot, however he tore his ACL, which was likely his last game as a Jet. They then gave 2nd year quarterback Bryce Petty a shot. He showed sparks, but the team was no help by the later point in the season.
The Jets have a lot of holes on their team. The first position to address is quarterback, a position that seems like the Jets are looking for every season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a free agent as is Geno Smith. Expect the 2 of them to go elsewhere because they simply are not the answer. The Jets will be left with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Neither have been given a clean shot, however it’s hard to tell if either will be that franchise quarterback the Jets are looking for. With players that are up there in age like Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Matt Forte, they may not approve of a total rebuild unless they are traded. I don’t think the Jets starting quarterback for 2017 is on the roster. One option the team can look at is Tyrod Taylor. His time with the Buffalo Bills could very well be over, and if that’s the case he could be a solid fit for the Jets. A quarterback with great speed, he’d have playmakers around him with the Jets, allowing him to be successful. He also does not turn the ball over a lot, throwing only 6 interceptions in 2016. The Jets might have to look for a trade to acquire him, but it could be worth it.
Another more risky route the team could go would be to make a trade for Tony Romo. If Dak Prescott has success for the Cowboys in the playoffs after a 13 win regular season, Romo may look to be a starting quarterback for another team. He’s under contract, so it’d have to be via a trade to acquire him. He’s risky, especially with injuries holding him back throughout his career. He is also up there in age, but the Jets still have a lot of veterans on the team. I’m sure guys like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker would love to have Romo as their quarterback, but it will depend what the Cowboys are looking for in the offseason.
Another quarterback the Jets should look into is Kirk Cousins. He is set to be a free agent, and has put up phenomenal numbers the past 2 seasons for the Washington Redskins. It seems logical for the Redskins to bring him back for 2017, but who knows if they will want to pay him the big bucks, especially after falling short of the playoffs in 2016. He’s still very young, with a lot of upside. If given the opportunity, the Jets should bring him in. In my opinion, he has the potential to be a top 5 quarterback in the league. Will the Jets take a chance on him? I don’t see it, but I’m sure fans would love to have him.
The team may also be able to find their starting quarterback for 2017 in the draft. The team has the 6th overall pick in the draft, and there are some options the team can look into. The options are not as good as past years, but maybe the team looks to draft a quarterback in 2017. In the first round, they could look at Clemson’s DeShaun Watson or North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky. Or maybe they look for Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly in the middle rounds of the draft. This being if they enter the draft, these are decent options for the Jets. However, the team may not have a win now mentality with these young quarterbacks, and that would be a sign of a complete rebuild, which can be frustrating for fans.
What the Jets will do with the 6th overall pick in the draft is intriguing. The team has a lot of holes, and I expect them to go after a quarterback, offensive lineman, or a cornerback. It seems like the Jets draft a defensive player in the 1st round every year, but they are in need of some help in their secondary. The cornerback play in 2016 was atrocious, and it needs to be fixed. It seemed like they were starting different offensive lineman every week, so they may look at that position in the 1st round.
Rebuilding is never fun, but the Jets may look to do that in 2017. I think it all depends who their starting quarterback is. If it’s Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, or a draft pick, the team will be in rebuild mode. If they bring in Tyrod Taylor, Tony Romo, or Kirk Cousins, the team will have playoff expectations. If they realistically think they are playoff contenders in 2017, they need to fill holes on that defense. If they move Darrelle Revis to safety, that opens up roster spots to bring in more cornerbacks. I expect more production from the defensive line in 2017. I think those 3 quarterbacks fit the team well with 2 solid running backs in Bilal Powell and Matt Forte, as well as a great receiving core in Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Quincy Enunwa. The team could go in 2 different directions in 2017, and personally I think neither are wrong. However, Jets fans want to win now. Super Bowl 3 was a very long time ago.
All stats via Pro-Football-Reference