FLORHAM PARK N.J. — Joe Douglas recalls the feeling even five months later. TheThey had just lost the season finale of their series to the Their sixth consecutive losing season ended with a 4-13 record. They finished the season at 4-13 after a 27-10 win. The general manager tried to remind him that it was a rebuilding season and that growing pains were normal, but that didn’t diminish the pain.
Douglas said that he was sick of games like those, recalling his thoughts back to Jan. 9. “Sick and tired of seasons like those.”
He had already changed his mind to 2022 by the time they landed.
So began the Jets offseason. During this time, Douglas was ill and then he became a sic 'em.
Eight potential starters were added to the Jets' roster through free agency and the draft, which fueled optimism. They have been a joke for more than ten years, and now they are in an unusual situation of being rewarded with a pat on the back.
Cris Collinsworth, NBC analyst, mentioned the Jets on his podcast. He said, “I feel like if you're looking for a team that can make a leap this year and surprise everyone… the Jets. Maybe they're that team.”
The Jets have a long history of turning optimism to despair. But the difference with the 2022 team, is that it was built with young, rising players, not big-name free agent who took the money and became complacent. They also failed to meet expectations. This roster features seven players who were drafted in the first round between 2019 and 2022. They are tied with theDouglas selected six of them, the most in that span. Douglas picked six of them, with the one exception being defensive tackle (2019), Who is currently in contract negotiations for an extension
“We’ve got to develop them and we’ve got to win games, but I feel like things kind of fell our way in the draft the last couple of years,” Douglas said.
The 4-13 disaster was not surprising considering the number of young players on the roster. The front office developed a plan from the end-of-season meetings they had with coaches. Douglas called it the “most important meeting” in the offseason. They reviewed the roster player-by-player, discussing their strengths, weaknesses, and potential growth. The priority of free agents was determined. The depth chart for 2022 was created.
These meetings were filled with copious notes, which were then distilled into a masterplan.
Douglas said, “That dialog, that meeting, it really set a blueprint going into the Offseason.”
The Jets used non-premium positions to fill gaps, and signed tight contracts.Guard Safety . Cornerback was the exception. . Although none are household names they are all highly productive players between the ages of 25 and 30. Tomlinson, at 30, is the oldest of them all. As an injury replacement, he made the Pro Bowl in last season.
Douglas was primarily concerned with the cornerback position in the draft.Wide receiver Protective and defensive end All were taken in the first round. Douglas said that Johnson's trade for him was the most memorable moment of the offseason.
They didn't make the wrong choice in their first round choices. Douglas has a value-system, where he prefers not to invest his most valuable assets (i.e. Douglas prefers to invest his most valuable assets — i.e., draft picks, on premium positions. He believes that he can fill the gap with bargains in free-agent deals. Douglas does not let this stop him from sticking to his plan.
“We didn’t go out and have a major spending spree,” Douglas said. “We weren’t on the sideline, but we didn’t go out and sign $18-, $19-, $20-million-a-year players.”
The Jets spent $90 millions in full guarantees for free agents, including their own. They were far behind the Jaguars ($195m) among AFC teams.($127 million) ($124 million).
Douglas had to make a difficult decision about allocation. This is how the money will be divided between defense and offense. He wanted to make the quarterback more efficient.He was able to support his cast but didn't want the defense that ranked 32nd in many of the key categories to be overlooked.
It ended up being a divide-and conquer strategy.
The Jets did not count their top four draft picks. They issued 17 contracts that had at least a $1.5million cap charge in 2022. That's roughly one-fourth to the total cap. 56% of $55.3 million was spent on offense, and 44% on defense.
Wilson received much-needed assistance from Garrett Wilson, second round running backDouglas thinks Conklin and Uzomah could be among the surprise of their free-agent class. The defense, which allowed a franchise-record 504 points, received a boost with Gardner, Johnson, Reed & Co. They have enough assets from previous trades to fix both ends of the ball.
“We’re Better, and I know we’re going to be Robert Saleh, the coach, stated that things are better. “We’re young, we’re a year older, we brought in some really cool pieces, a lot of guys who stand for the right stuff, who live and breathe football.”
Douglas concentrated on offensive skill players in 2021 and 2020 after making significant investments in the offensive line. The NFL is a passing league. With Wilson as quarterback, the Jets averaged just 180 yards per game — an embarrassingly low number.
Douglas recognized the need and made a publicized trade to get a star receiver.The Jets' low point was when he decided to play for the Dolphins. This bold move didn't work out. They responded by drafting Garrett Wilson to continue the company's goal of adding dynamic players on both sides.
They neglected the offensive line on Days 1 & 2, a calculated risk due to tackleHis injury history. Becton was a 2020 pick and has played just eight games of 33. Douglas, who was a college lineman himself, could have made them more vulnerable at the front. This is their biggest issue in the offseason.
Randy Mueller, former GM, was a former employee of the Dolphins' front offices.Mueller Football Advising Services is now owned by him. He's taking a wait-and see approach to the Jets' offseason. While he believes Zach Wilson is a great player, “I really have not doubt about Zach Wilson” — he isn't sure about the new pieces.
Mueller stated that it is one thing to create a team, but another to make it work. “That's up the coaching staff. They have to develop the guys and bring them together. I am a little nervous to say, “Hey! This is it!” …
He said, “They've gotto hit on those three draftpicks”, referring to the first rounders.
Douglas thinks this team is better than the one he brought home from Buffalo in January. But he's not going to throw a party. He understands that it is a young team and there is much to be done. Four of their five top running backs, as well as the receivers, are rookies. A second-year quarterback will feed them. You shouldn't expect organizational pains to disappear.
Remember to keep an eye out for the competition.
Douglas stated, “The conference's an absolute bear.”
The building still has a positive vibe, which should not be overlooked. Saleh's arrival last year brought optimism, but everyone knew that there was a talent shortage. Now, there's hope.
Linebacker“Every year will be different,” said a man who knows that all teams drink springtime Kool Aid. The We all know the cycle of the year, but we are all excited to put something together and get the New York Jets back on track.