With more than a month before the start of training camp, things are not looking good for the New York Jets.
New England Patriots
First-Round Pick: (N/A)
Best Pick: (N/A)
It was very difficult to give the New England Patriots a quality grade for the 2017 National Football League Draft due to the fact that they were not that active. The Patriots only had four selections in the draft as the result of trades or punishment by the NFL. The Patriots upgrades to their team came via trades and free agency as they acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints and tight end Dwayne Allen from the Indianapolis Colts, while also signing former Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
But of the Patriots four draft picks in 2017 which includes Youngstown State Penguins outside linebacker Derek Rivers and Troy Trojans offensive tackle Antonio Garcia who were each selected in the third round, they will be developmental players. And before you know it they could become key cogs in the wheel of the Patriots machinery.
First-Round Pick: Charles Harris-Defensive End-Missouri
Best Pick: Charles Harris
After the Miami Dolphins were able to break through last season for their first playoff appearance since 2008, the last thing that they want to do is to take a step backwards. And the best way for the Dolphins to keep building was for them to have a solid draft.
The Dolphins already have a solid pass rush, but if they are going to be able to give the Patriots a real run for their money in the AFC East, then they will need to stock pile as many quality pass rushers as possible. And with several quality pass rusher available in the first round of the 2017 National Football League Draft, the Fins zeroed in on Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris.
Five of Miami’s first six selections in the draft came on the defensive side of the football which included taking Ohio State Buckeyes inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan in the second round and Clemson Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley in the third round.
The only way to get past the Patriots is to slow them down, and the Dolphins are hopeful that they’ve plugged up all of their holes on defense in order to do so.
First-Round Pick: Tre’Davious White-Cornerback-LSU
Best Pick: Round Five-Nathan Peterman-Quarterback-Pittsburgh
The 2017 National Football League Draft turned out to be a train wreck for the Buffalo Bills in more ways than one. The Bills traded down from the tenth overall selection to the 27th as they made a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills would then select LSU Tigers cornerback Tre’Davious White to offset the loss of cornerback Stephon Gilmore who signed as a free agent with the Patriots. And aside from trading down, the Bills failed to find themselves an impact player in the draft which is bad news for a franchise that needs one since they have failed to make the postseason since 1999.
But things got wacky this past Sunday when general manager Doug Whaley and his entire scouting team were fired. Now this draft class doesn’t have a leg to stand on which gives you an idea as to why the Bills have the longest current playoff drought in the National Football League.
New York Jets
First-Round Pick: Jamal Adams-Safety-LSU
Best Pick: Jamal Adams
The New York Jets entered the 2017 National Football League Draft with several needs to fill on both sides of the football, but credit to general manager Mike Maccagnan for sticking to his guns and not overreaching at any point during the draft.
After coming off of a 5-11 season, along with possessing the sixth overall pick in the draft, it would have been really easy for the Jets to get caught up in the moment and select a quarterback. However Maccagnan stuck to his draft board and selected LSU Tigers safety Jamal Adams.
Adams fell slightly in the draft once the Chicago Bears decided to draft quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but he fills a need in the Jets secondary as they could be ready to move on from safety Calvin Pryor.
The Jets continued to find athletes from the Southeastern Conference as they took Florida Gators safety Marcus Maye in the second round and Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart in the third which helps this organization being that they need more depth.
This draft class may not produce superstars for the Jets, but they might be able to get some quality role players out of it.
Just prior to the start of a new calendar year in the National Football League, the New York Jets find themselves in a very familiar position which is that of starting over. After the Jets went 10-6 in 2015 which was their first season under the regime of general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles, the level of optimism increased for 2016. But those hopes were quickly dashed when the Jets began the season with a record of 1-5 and things never got any better. New York would limp to the finish line with a record of 5-11 which marked their second losing season in the last three years. But credit goes to Maccagnan and Bowles for not attempting to patch up the Jets issues with spit and glue.
Recently the Jets released three veteran players in center Nick Mangold, cornerback Darrelle Revis, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The moves will save the Jets roughly $46 million in cap space, while putting them $33 million under the cap line heading into a new year.
Mangold has spent his entire 11-year National Football League career with the Jets which included him being a seven-time Pro Bowl selection. But at the age of 33, along with injuries beginning to catch up with Mangold, Maccagnan made the decision that it was time to move on. In 2015, the Jets acquired Marshall from the Bears and he became an instant sensation. In Marshall’s first year with the Jets, he set single-season franchise records for receptions (109), and receiving yards (1,502), while tying the mark of 14 receiving touchdowns. But injuries and drops marred Marshall last year as he only managed to tally 59 receptions for 788 yards and 3 touchdowns. Revis is arguably one of the best players in Jets franchise history. And it appeared that Revis would be a lifer with Gang Green until he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. After winning a Super Bowl Championship with the New England Patriots in 2014, Revis returned to the Jets in 2015. However in 2016, Revis was showing signs of declining skills. It didn’t help Revis that he was recently arrested in Pittsburgh and charged with four felonies for his alleged involvement in a street fight as I am sure that this wasn’t the way in which he wanted to see his Jets career finish. These moves by the Jets are a clear indication that they are starting over, but Maccagnan still has plenty of work ahead of him.
Last season Marshall had an ongoing feud with defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. Marshall considered himself to be a “team leader”, but Richardson wasn’t a fan of his. Richardson has been a distraction for the Jets in his own right following his 2015 arrest which ultimately led to him being found guilty last year for reckless driving and resisting arrest. Richardson was also disciplined last season by the Jets for his Snapchat video in the team’s locker room, while also being suspended by the National Football League for one game after his conviction.
The Jets had a chance to move on from Richardson last season when they put him on the trade block. However the Dallas Cowboys were the only team that showed interest in him and since they were only willing to part with a third-round pick, Maccagnan decided against the trade. But as the Jets have parted way with key veterans, a malcontent such as Richardson needs to be shown the door as well.
The Jets are no closer to being a contender now than the day when Maccagnan was introduced in Florham Park as the team’s new general manager. The Jets only have two quarterbacks on their roster with Bryce Petty having four starts under his belt in the National Football League, while Christian Hackenburg has yet to see any action. In releasing Mangold and offensive tackle Breno Giacomini, along with the retirement of D’Brickashaw Ferguson last year, New York doesn’t have any quality experience on their offensive line. And with Jets owner Woody Johnson being named as the United States ambassador to Britain, all of this points to the Jets “starting over” once again as it has an eerie feeling for anyone who has followed this franchise over the years.
Ever since the Jets shocked the world and defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 3, they have occasionally showed signs of hope, only to be turned away at the gate of success. After the Jets made the AFC Championship Game during the 1982 National Football League season, they took a huge step backwards in 1983 to finish 7-9. In actuality the Jets have appeared in the AFC Championship Game four times, including most recently in 2009 and 2010, but they always fell short.
Now Maccagnan has waved the white flag for a team and to a fan base that has to live with “the fake spike”, “the butt fumble”, and the fact that Bill Belichick was the Jets head coach for a day, before resigning to become the head coach of the New England Patriots which has led to him winning five Super Bowl Championships mainly at the expense of Gang Green, New York will once again have to sell their backers on starting over. But as the Jets appear to be starting over will Bowles be able to survive?
As of right now it appears that the Jets will more than likely be fighting an uphill battle this season, and as Bowles heads into his third season, he has yet to get New York to the playoffs which is never a good thing regardless if he is in the midst of a rebuilding process or not.
Bowles and Maccagnan are good guys who have walked into a impossible situation which to turn the fortunes of the Jets around. The Jets are a franchise that is still waiting for the next Joe Namath, and that guy doesn’t exist. And with the upcoming National Football League Draft not littered with franchise quarterbacks, while veteran quarterbacks who could be available such as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo or Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears are not the long-term fix that the Jets need, this franchise is stuck on Groundhog Day minus Bill Murray.
The Ides of March have yet to arrive, but the 2017 National Football League season already appears to be a wash for the New York Jets.
There is no way to discredit the athletic ability that New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson brings to the table. The Jets chose Richardson 13th overall during the 2013 National Football League Draft and it would not take him that long to show that he was the real deal. In 2013, Richardson had 42 tackles and 3.5 sacks as he was named as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Richardson was a one-man gang as he was flying all over the field displaying a very rare form of talent which featured speed, strength, and agility from the defensive tackle position. Richardson would continue to make a name for himself around the NFL which saw him make the Pro Bowl in 2014. And along with defensive ends Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, Richardson is a part of one of the best defensive lines in football that hearkens Jets fans back to the days of “The New York Sack Exchange”. But as good as Richardson can be, he can be equally as troubling.
In July 2015, Richardson was arrested in St. Charles County, Missouri after he was driving at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. And to make matters worse, Richardson had a 12-year old child in the vehicle at the time. This past January, Richardson was found guilty of reckless driving and resisting arrest which resulted in him being fined $1,050, while also receiving two years of probation, and 100 hours of community service. Richardson would also miss the first four games of the 2015 National Football League season as the result of a failed drug test, while he was also made to sit out the first game of this season as the result of his conviction in Missouri. This past spring saw the Jets pick up Richardson’s contract for 2017, but it isn’t looking promising as far as him being with Gang Green for next season.
Richardson was benched for the first quarter of the Jets 27-23 to the Miami Dolphins in Week 9 by head coach Todd Bowles for missing a team meeting during the week. And Richardson has continued to pile on himself as before the Jets 34-13 home loss this past Saturday night, Richardson made a short Snapchat video that contained several expletives.
Bowles spoke to Richardson on the matter and decided to keep the discipline of his star defensive tackle “in-house”. But when Richardson was questioned by reporters on the matter, he wasn’t apologetic over the matter as he merely seemed to be upset that the video got out. Since Richardson’s less than stellar video debut, reports have come out that the Jets attempted to trade him earlier this season with only the Dallas Cowboys seeming interested. But now more than ever it is time for the Jets to move on from Richardson as the headaches that he causes far outweigh his play on Sunday afternoons.
Richardson only has one year left on his deal and if the Jets are willing to accept the fact that they might not receive a high draft pick in return for him, they could be in the market to ship him out of town, but to whom?
The Cowboys already passed on Richardson, but who is to say that they would not take a flyer on him for 2017? Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has long been known as a man that will turn a blind eye to a player’s off-the-field discrepancies in favor of winning games. And as Jones’ team is a Super Bowl contender this year, he might be more than willing to beef up the Cowboys defensive line.
There are other teams around the National Football League such as the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, and Baltimore Ravens that could use the services of a talented player such as Richardson on their respective defensive lines. But with Richardson it’s more about what he brings to a locker room as he needs to be on a team that has a very strong leadership presence within their facility.
The Jets currently don’t have that kind of presence in their locker room, and as Bowles publicly appears to be a laid-back head coach, Richardson illustrates the actions of a man who doesn’t understand how privileged that he is to play in the National Football League being that he needs to good old-fashioned tough love.
Someone will take a shot on Richardson this off-season as I do not see any scenario in which he takes the field for the Jets next season. But if Bowles and/or Jets general manager Mike Macaggnan decide to have Richardson remain in Florham Park, New Jersey next season, they could be running the risk of having dynamite with a short fuse as you never know what you’re going to get from the enigmatic defensive tackle. And if the Jets are attempting to change their locker room culture, it starts with giving Richardson a one-way ticket out of town on the first thing smoking.
For anyone that follows the New York Jets knows that this is a team that can toy with a fan’s emotions. After winning the Super Bowl in January 1969 as a member of the American Football League, the Jets have never been able to get back to the big game as they’ve been an organization that has lacked consistency. Recent history has seen that trend continue for the Jets as they began the 2015 National Football League season with a record of 10-5 and they only needed to defeat the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 to advance to the playoffs. But the Jets would lose to the Bills as the game was marred by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing 5 interceptions as New York was so close, yet so far from the postseason.
Heading into the 2016 National Football League season the Jets were looking to build off of their close call from 2015, but that has not been the case. The Jets lost their season opener to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-22 in a game that was mired by their miscues. Overall the Jets began this season with a record of 1-5 which included Fitzpatrick throwing 6 interceptions in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Right now the Jets are 3-8 and although that they are an extreme long shot to make the playoffs this season, they haven’t decided to waive the white flag yet which is rather alarming.
For some absurd reason Jets head coach Todd Bowles is sticking with Fitzpatrick as the team’s starting quarterback. The Jets signed Fitzpatrick in 2015 and he would go on to have the best season of his National Football League career as he passed for 3,905 yards, while he threw 31 touchdown passes. After the season Fitzpatrick would become a free agent as he was seeking a big payday. But the Jets nor any other team was interested in giving Fitzpatrick a long-term deal and just prior to the start of training camp, he and New York agreed on a one-year deal for $12 million.
However the magic that Fitzpatrick had displayed in 2015 is gone as he has thrown 13 interceptions in nine starts compared to throwing 15 last season. Fitzpatrick was benched against the Arizona Cardinals, but he would return to being the Jets starting quarterback when his replacement Geno Smith was lost for the season with an ACL injury. Fitzpatrick himself would suffer a knee injury during the Jets loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 9 and he would miss the Jets next game. In Fitzpatrick’s absence, Bowles used quarterback Bryce Petty the following week against the Los Angeles Rams, but he quickly decided to go back to Fitzpatrick.
The Jets aren’t going anywhere with Fitzpatrick under center this year or any other season. And the time is now for Bowles to give a serious look at Petty, or rookie quarterback Christian Hackenburg who was the Jets second-round pick this past April.
Fitzpatrick was quick to voice his displeasure when the Jets benched him earlier this season in favor of Smith. I understand that Fitzpatrick is a competitor, but he hasn’t done anything during his 12-year National Football League career to warrant him being a franchise quarterback as he is a journeyman which is evident by the six different teams that he has played for. The Jets don’t owe Fitzpatrick anything in regards to coddling his ego, and once their season end’s on New Year’s Day against the Bills, both parties will go their separate ways as he’ll be the latest quarterback that has fallen into the abyss while playing for Gang Green.
Petty was selected by the Jets in the fourth round in 2015 and he didn’t see the field as a rookie. In Petty’s one start he was 19-of-32 passing for 163 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception as the Jets lost to the Rams 9-6. Petty was able to display some potential, but Bowles decided to stunt his growth. Petty isn’t going to get any better on the sideline with a clipboard in his hand, and he cannot do any worse than Fitzpatrick has already done. The same can be said for Hackenburg as it’s time for the Jets to take the kid gloves off of their young quarterbacks and see what they can do.
The Jets struck fool’s gold last year with Fitzpatrick and they cannot afford to have him lose anymore games for them as they have one of the best defensive lines in football that includes the likes of Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Muhammad Wilkerson. Darrelle Revis’ days as a starting cornerback in the National Football League appear to be numbered, and if the Jets don’t decide to move him to safety in 2017, his time with the team could be coming to an end as well.
With the exception of a road game against the San Francisco 49ers who are 1-10 in Week 14, the Jets don’t have too many winnable games left on their schedule as they are facing the possibility of selecting in the the top five of the National Football League Draft for the first time since 2006 when they selected offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson fourth overall. Under Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan, the Jets will need to have a solid draft and off-season overall as this team that has not made the postseason on their watch which should give them ample motivation to begin planning towards the future now. But unfortunately for the Jets fan base, Bowles is sticking with guys like Fitzpatrick who’ll see their time with the team come to an end in about a month.
When quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the New York Jets in 2015, he was the best thing since sliced bread. Fitzpatrick was expected to compete with Geno Smith to become the Jets starting quarterback, but when Smith suffered a broken jaw in the off-season due to an altercation with former teammate Ik Enemkpali, it opened the door for Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick would have his best year in the National Football League as he threw 31 touchdown passes and fell 95 yards shy of being just the second player in Jets franchise history to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. The Jets would enter their final game of the season needing to beat the Buffalo Bills in order to secure a playoff berth, however they would lose the contest 22-17 as their playoff hopes vanished. And a big reason for the loss was Fitzpatrick who was intercepted 5 times by the Bills.
This past off-season would see Fitzpatrick become a free agent and he was looking to cash in off of his 2015 campaign. But whereas that Fitzpatrick was seeking a lucrative long-term deal, the Jets didn’t see him in that fashion as both sides played the waiting game. It wasn’t until late July that Fitzpatrick and the Jets agreed on a one-year deal that is worth $12 million. And although that Fitzpatrick has been compensated handsomely by the Jets, he hasn’t endeared himself to the team’s fan base here in 2016.
Through four games the Jets are 1-3 with Fitzpatrick being a big reason for that. Fitzpatrick has already thrown 10 interceptions compared to 15 for all of last season. In the Jets Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Fitzpatrick was picked off 6 times, while he threw 3 more this past Sunday in New York’s 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. And once you factor in the 2015 season finale against the Bills, Fitzpatrick has now thrown 15 interceptions in his last five games as New York is 1-4 in those contests.
The best way to describe Fitzpatrick is that he is a journeyman. In 12 National Football League seasons, Fitzpatrick has suited up for six different teams, and he has never appeared in a postseason game. Fitzpatrick’s career record is 44-64-1 as he is solid backup quarterback as opposed to being a starter.
What made Fitzpatrick so good for the Jets last year was the fact that he trusted the talent around him and he didn’t attempt to take the game over by himself. The Jets were able to run the football effectively, while Fitzpatrick also made it his business to get the football to wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. But this time around Fitzpatrick has been forcing the football more which has led to the interceptions. Fitzpatrick has not been running as much this year, while the Jets are not properly using running back Matt Fotre either.
The Jets signed Forte during the off-season and after he had 196 yards on his first two games with Gang Green, he only has 92 in the last two contests. And whenever a team has a struggling quarterback on their hands, it is imperative that they find a way to run the football.
Things could go from bad to worse for the Jets as four of their next five games are on the road, including this Sunday’s meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And as teams will be pinning their ears back defensively in order to come after Fitzpatrick, if he doesn’t improve his play, it will be prudent for the Jets to give someone else a chance to be their starting quarterback.
Smith is set to become a free agent after this season and the Jets should give him one more shot before they make their final decision on him. Quarterback Bryce Petty was a fourth-round pick of the Jets in 2013, but he has yet to see the field for them in the regular season, while Christian Hackenburg was New York’s second-round selection this past April as he could be the future at starting quarterback for this organization.
Whereas Fitzpatrick was giving the Jets an opportunity to win nearly every time that he took the field last year, his play has really hamstrung them here in 2016 as “Fitzmagic” appears to be a thing of the past.