New England Patriots: Eye on the AFC East — New York Jets
By Hal Bent
2019 THREAT LEVEL:
The New York Jets have a lot of holes on both sides of the ball and a lot of work to do if they want to fix them. That said, with over $100 million in salary cap space (which could easily get to $118 million by jettisoning overpaid and underperforming offensive linemen Brian Winters and Spencer Long), the Jets are in great position to go on a shopping spree in free agency and rebuild with solid veterans.
New York could afford to boost their defensive line by snagging Michael Pierce from Baltimore and Grady Jarrett from Atlanta.
Need a pass rusher? How about poaching DeMarcus Lawrence from the Cowboys, Frank Clark from the Seahawks, or Dee Ford from Kansas City? Or work out a deal for Jadeveon Clowney if he is franchise-tagged by Houston.
In the secondary, Bryce Callahan would be a great fit at slot cornerback.
On offense, think of the instant upgrade that would come from adding Le’Veon Bell. Or, the Jets could target Mark Ingram of the Saints if they don’t want to be as splashy. On the interior offensive line, Matt Paradis from Denver, Mike Iupati from Arizona, and Andy Levitre from Atlanta are three solid veterans who could all be targeted. And at wide receiver, a savvy veteran like Randall Cobb, Golden Tate, or Mike Wallace could help Darnold take that classic second-year quarterback leap.
The moral of the story is that whoever takes over as the head coach is going to need to add a slew of players to upgrade both sides of the ball. However, unlike the Miami Dolphins, the Jets already have their most important roster position filled, with 21-year old Sam Darnold looking like a future franchise quarterback.
Darnold needs the right head coach/offensive guru to get him to the next level: like Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff reached in their second season.
If the Jets make the right hires, if they pick up impact players in free agency, and if they can have a strong draft with a number of potential contributors (especially having the third overall draft pick), they could be in position to challenge in 2019 and take a big step forward in the future.