What was supposed to be a bridge year to contending for the New York Jets ended up being a complete disaster, which shouldn’t be too surprising to any of you who have followed the Jets for the last, uh, several decades.
While there are some things to be excited about moving forward, Gang Green clearly has quite a bit of work to do before it can even think about seriously competing in the AFC.
Adam Gase also seems intent on trading Le’Veon Bell one year after signing him to a four-year deal, so there’s that.
So, here are three big-time needs for the Jets this offseason:
3. Pass rushers
While the Jets’ defense was actually stout against the run this season, their pass defense was a different story, and much of that had to do with the fact that New York couldn’t get to the quarterback. They totaled just 35 sacks on the year, which ranked 23rd in the NFL.
As a matter of fact, New York’s second-best sack-getter was Jamal Adams (6.5), who is a safety. As great as Adams is, it’s never a good thing when one of your safeties finished second on your club in sacks.
Getting C.J. Mosley back from injury next season should help, but Gang Green clearly needs more pass-rushing talent if it even wants to think about becoming an elite defense.
2. Wide receivers
That’s wide receivers, with an “s.”
The Jets entered 2019 with a fine-looking receiving corps of Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder, but with Anderson headed for free agency and Enunwa’s career in jeopardy after another injury, it suddenly looks pretty bare.
Fortunately, New York has a nice sum of cap room to address this position, but the club also has so many other needs that it can’t simply invest everything into the wide receiver spot.
The ideal scenario for the Jets would be to pick up a wideout in free agency and also draft one in the early rounds, as they unquestionably need to add multiple receivers this offseason.
Sam Darnold is entering a pivotal third season, and New York can’t just let him go into 2020 without anyone to throw to.
1. Offensive line help
Speaking of ensuring that everything is safe for Darnold heading into his third year, how about shoring up the offensive line?
The Jets’ offensive line was horrific in 2019, to say the least. Not only did it allow 52 sacks, but you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think a big part of the season that Bell averaged just 3.2 yards per carry was due to the porous line.
Gang Green had one of the NFL’s worst offenses in football this season largely due to its offensive line, and if New York wants to at least have a league-average offense in 2020 (which will be a tall order), it needs to remedy this issue during the offseason.
The Jets made an attempt to patch up the line last year, swinging a deal for Kelechi Osemele, but he ended up getting released midway through the season.
It’s time for New York to start giving Darnold some protection.