The New York Jets were once again among the NFL’s bottom feeders in 2021, finishing the year with a putrid 4-13 record in Robert Saleh’s debut season as head coach. A quick glance at the Jets’ roster and you’ll see a slew of glaring issues, as the team struggled in almost every facet of the game in 2021. Rookie QB Zach Wilson often found himself scrambling in order to make plays, showcasing a lack of protection up front. Despite that, the offensive line may be the least of the Jets’ issues. Their defense ranked among the worst in the NFL last season, and they struggled to find the end zone on offense. With two extremely valuable picks at the top of the NFL Draft, the Jets could address some of their most pressing issues in April, while working to fix other problems in free agency, where they’ll boast a ton of cap space. With that in mind, here is the New York Jets’ biggest need the team must address in the 2022 NFL Offseason.
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Jets’ Biggest Need in 2022 NFL Offseason
Finding a game-changing tight end or wide receiver
While the Jets will certainly be working to improve on defense during the offseason, they have a slew of expiring contracts at skill positions on offense. With Zach Wilson set to be the foundation of the franchise, barring a sudden change of heart, the Jets need to surround him with as much talent as they can. Wide receivers Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole, and Braxton Berrios are all set to hit free agency, though the Jets should be looking to retain Berrios by any means necessary. Additionally, the Jets will likely be letting tight ends Tyler Kroft and Dan Brown walk in the offseason, leaving them with a severe lack of talent at the position.
By adding a top wide receiver or tight end this offseason, the Jets can vastly increase Wilson’s potential on offense. In 2021, Wilson’s most reliable target was fellow rookie Elijah Moore, who only featured in 11 games due to injury. Crowder and Berrios led the team in receptions, but it was Moore who led the team in receiving yards with 538, a dismal number for any team’s top receiver.
The Jets’ production out of the tight end position was even worse, however. Their most productive tight end in terms of pass-catching was Ryan Griffin, who hauled in just 27 receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Having a safety net tight end would be a huge boost for Wilson’s development, as he could certainly benefit from having a big body to target on short passes, while also getting some additional protection on the line.
There will be some talented pass-catching tight ends on the market this offseason, most notably Mike Gesicki. Gesicki is practically a wide receiver with the label of a tight end, having caught 73 receptions for 780 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2021. Not only would he mark a vast improvement over the likes of Griffin and Kroft, but Gesicki is only 26 so he’d fit in well with the timeline the Jets are looking at in order to become competitive again.
If they don’t choose to look at tight end in free agency, wide receiver still remains a much-needed option, with talented players such as Allen Robinson, Mike Williams, and Christian Kirk all making sense as targets.
The Jets should be able to compete for some of the biggest names in free agency. With more than $48 million in projected cap space, the Jets have ample amounts of money to spend, though they have just as many holes to fill.