Jets Trivia Question:
The one year the Jets had the first pick in the draft, they chose Keyshawn Johnson. Three other times they had the second pick in the draft. Who were the three players the Jets (Titans) drafted with the second pick?
In 1996 in a head scratching move by Jets owner Leon Hess, he let go of head coach Pete Carroll and hired Rich Kotite who was just fired by the Philadelphia Eagles. ” I’m 80 years old and I want results now," was the quote Hess made that resonated with me. Well I’ll be 67 this week, and I too as a Jet fan want to win now. Midway through the season the Jets record stands at 0-8 but if you dig a little, you’ll see that the future may be brighter than Jets fans like myself think. But patience is the keyword.
In Joe We Trust
The Johnson brothers hired Joe Douglas as General Manager who rightly held out for a six year contract knowing that it would take time to undo what the previous two General Managers John Idzik and Mike Maccagnan did to sabotage the Jets future. Year after year of bad draft choices: Darron Lee, Christian Hackenberg, Calvin Pryor and Dee Milliner just to name a few set this franchise back years. Even former GM Mike Tannenbaum before Idzak and Maccagnan is not completely absolved. His drafting resume includes Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill, Kyle Wilson and Vernon Gholston. These bad choices plus having a penchant for trading up to acquire good players started to leave the draft cupboard bare. With only four picks in 2007 (moved up for Revis), three in 2009 (moved up for Sanchez) and four in 2010, the needed depth began to slowly rear its ugly head after two AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010. Joe Douglas has the philosophy that I love. Acquire as many draft picks as possible knowing the NFL draft may be a bigger crap shoot than picking can’t miss stocks. He did a great job trading down acquiring picks during the 2020 draft. Right now at the trade deadline he is getting rid of players and acquiring late round picks in the 5th and 6th rounds that can used for players or chips to move up in future drafts. Under the radar is the fact that these trades of veterans were to Super Bowl contenders. Agents remember these things in a world where relationships are everything. Douglas hasn’t been innocent of bad moves himself. Letting Robby Anderson go was a mistake as well as putting together an offensive line that has been instrumental in the ruining of quarterback Sam Darnold this year. I was of the opinion that he should have kept Jamal Adams but his patience paid off getting a big return for one of the best at his position in the NFL. His first draft is slowly coming around as players come back from injuries. Mekhi Becton is a real solid pick. Denzel Mims has shown great talent in the small sample size so far. Ashtyn Davis is a work in progress but he looks like he can be a winner also. La’Mical Perine is solid though he may never be an NFL number one running back. The James Morgan pick was the wrong pick with the draft still loaded with receivers. Cameron Clark, Jabari Zuniga and Bryce Hall have incomplete grades. Punter Braden Mann may be the first out of the bunch to make the Pro-Bowl. Besides these players, un-drafted free agent Bryce Huff looks like a diamond in the rough. They say it takes about three years to determine the success or failure of any draft. This may be true but so far the needle is leaning in the positive direction.
Salary Cap Money
Teams are still built through the draft but are solidified with the sprinkling of free agents. When this dreadful season ends, the Jets should have have over $80 million in 2021 cap space. According to Brad Spielberger a salary expert for OverTheCap.com and Pro Football Focus:
“The Jets now project to have over $83 million in 2021 cap space if you include their current rollover from 2020, which would push them ahead of the Jaguars for most in the NFL.”
This is a great situation to be in especially when rumors are flying around that in this Covid-19 atmosphere with the NFL not making the money they projected, that the cap will go down instead of up. As good as it is, Joe Douglas has to be smart and cannot have any Trumaine Johnson signings or Le’Veon Bell contracts on the books.
According to Sportrac three of the unrestricted free agent offensive linemen under 30 who I like that will be available are:
Guards Brandon Scharf, Washington, Joe Thuney, New England and tackle David Bakhtiari from Green Bay. As far as receivers Allen Robinson of the Bears and Demarcus Robinson of the Chiefs are two receivers under 30 who I also like. Football is won in the trenches so if there is a priority here, I would spend most my money on the offensive line.
St. Louis Rams 1998-1999
I always bring up the St. Louis Rams and these two seasons, 1998 and 1999. In 1998 they were 4-12. The following year the Rams were 13-3 and won the 2000 Super Bowl. The stars will have to be aligned perfectly for a turn around like this. Will this happen to the New York Jets? Probably not but this just shows how in the NFL things can turn around very quickly.
The Jets are actually in a good spot to position themselves for a bright future. Joe Douglas has to do a few things right besides the draft and free agency. The biggest decision is who is going to be the next coach of the New York Jets? That’s a question for another time with a lot involved. Right now at my age I want to win but I know a process must take place. Patience is tough to swallow for Jet fans but it is something we all have to do. Do us right Joe, just like our other Joe!
Marty Schupak has been a New York Jets fan since 1964. His blog:
www.JetsRewind.com has been around since 2012.
The following were all 1st round second picks of the Jets (and or Titans):
Blair Thomas, 1990, Penn State
Lan Jones, 1980, Texas
Tom Brown, 1961, Minnesota