They head great expectations after finishing the 2015-16 season at 10-6, but last season was a lean one for Mean Green. In a year where they’re unlikely to make the playoffs they’re hoping for younger players to distinguish themselves as play-makers, and they don’t mind the high draft pick they’ll get if it isn’t pretty.
Last year: 5-11
Subtractions: LB David Harris, WR Eric Decker, CB Darrelle Revis, C Nick Mangold, K Nick Folk
Additions: CB Morris Claiborne, K Chandler Catanzaro
Notable rookies: S Jamal Adams, S Marcus Maye, WR ArDavius Stewart, WR Chad Hansen, TE Jordan Leggett
After the team over-performed in head coach Todd Bowles’ first year on the job you could call 2016 a sophomore slump. Incumbent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick came back down to Earth hard and brought the entire team with him. The silver lining in this: the New York Jets rebuild has begun in earnest. They took tens of millions of dollars in contract money off the books by cutting expensive veterans, they had a frugal free agency period and they’ve named Josh McCown their opening day starting quarterback. Both of their starting safeties are likely to be rookies. This isn’t to rip on the Jets, even if it’s true that this is simply not a good football team. However, as bad teams go some are trending downward, some are treading water and some are trending upward. The Jets have been a bad team for a long time but it looks as though they’re finally heading in the right direction. This year will serve as an incubator for young QBs Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, and if neither stands out the team stands to have a pretty high draft pick at which to pick a “quarterback of the future.” A dearth of pricey veterans means more snaps for young players and more opportunity to evaluate them. Coach Bowles is tasked with keeping control of the locker room while the team in the tank, but will he be the man to coach this team when it emerges from the tank?