Sam Darnold was the Jets' prized pick in last year's draft and the early reviews are that they made the right choice. Darnold improved as the season wore on despite an offensive line that was more porous than stalwart. Finding a top-tier quarterback is the primary objective of any franchise and the Jets seem to have done their jobs. But one man does not a team make and if New York is going to move from the basement to the penthouse of the AFC East then getting Darnold the protection he needs should be paramount.
If you were to click on over to Sportsbook Review, you would find a list of the best online sportsbooks and could even read a 5Dimes review detailing why 5Dimes is among the very best in the industry. You would also find that virtually all of these top-notch online sportsbooks are dealing odds on each and every team to win next year’s Super Bowl. Among them is the New York Jets, being offered at odds of 80-1 (tied with the Bucs) which essentially means that the public perception is that the Jets are still years away from being viewed as a contender.
But as we all know, there are Cinderella stories in every sport and if Gang Green can make the right moves, then this continual rebuild could actually be a firm foundation for the future. The Jets continue to pour cement for the gaudy new high-rise but the foundation cracks and a new pour commences the following season. It's time New York cements that foundation and actually starts to build a structure made to last.
Although some teams are bent on keeping their unrestricted free agents at home, the Jets have no such concerns. There are 23 players on last season’s roster who will enter free agency and the entire lot could be playing elsewhere next season. Fine by us. However, it's not always about signing the pricey players but keeping complementary players at a reasonable cost. If cornerback Morris Claiborne wants to be paid among the best, then let him find a suitor to grant his request because he's a solid player to have in the lineup but not a game-changing superstar. Claiborne made about $7 million last season and if he can be had in that price range again, then the Jets should be drying the ink on a new contract for Dallas' first-round selection back in 2012.
The same can be said for the versatile Darryl Roberts, another member of the secondary who stepped up last season but one that should come considerably cheaper than Claiborne. Defensive lineman Henry Anderson is another intriguing dilemma. Anderson made less than $2 million last year but was a steal as he unexpectedly notched seven sacks and is now due for a pay raise. The question is, can he maintain that level of performance and at what cost? New York will most likely be switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense which could negate some of Anderson's effectiveness.
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse will most likely be plying his trade elsewhere next season. The veteran pass catcher made $5 million last season and was not worth the price tag. Chances are he will want the same amount of dough and a multiyear pact. Not worth it for a 29-year-old who may already have seen his best years. Although Kearse may be persona non grata in New York, the Jets should find a way to get Brandon Copeland back in Gotham. The 27-year-old undrafted Ivy Leaguer had five sacks last year and a reasonable pay bump from the $1.5 million he made last year wouldn't be the worst thing the Jets could do for a solid outside linebacker.
These are just a few of the players who will hit free agency but there are others to consider as well. It will be interesting to see how many the Jets re-sign but what is clear is that somehow, someway, they will need to bolster their offensive line, snatch an edge rusher, and surround Darnold with more weapons than he has now. Plenty to do for New York's brass and many moves to make between now and September.