If there’s one thing we expected to happen in 2020 that came through, it is the New York Jets. With an 0-12 record through 13 weeks and no signs pointing towards any improvement on the field, New York looks like it will join Cleveland and Detroit in the 0-16 club. The worst part is, this isn’t anything new for them.
It isn’t just the play on the field that has caused this ineptitude, as the coaching staff and front office have done nothing but set the Jets up for failure for nearly a decade now. What this organization has done this past year, through every aspect of an NFL franchise, has been nothing short of embarrassing and an utter joke.
How did the Jets develop this reputation you ask? Well, it all starts from the top down.
After the Jets finished 4-12 in an abysmal 2018 season, GM Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles were relieved of their duties rightfully. To replace them, the Jets brought in former Eagles executive Joe Douglas, who had championship building experience, and former Miami head coach Adam Gase, who was expected to aid Sam Darnold’s development.
The new head honchos at the Meadowlands went straight to work in free agency as New York brought in CJ Mosley at linebacker and former all-pro running back Le’Veon Bell, despite having not played in over a year due to a contract holdout with the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two signings alone cost New York over $100 million in future money, very much hurting the cap situation.
After a slow start to the 2019 season without #3 overall pick QB Sam Darnold, New York managed to recover and post a 6-2 record for the last eight weeks to finish the season a respectable 7-9. While this mark did show some promise of things to come, the 2020 offseason would only be a prelude to the despair of the year on the field thus far.
With the 11th overall pick in the 2020 draft, the Jets selected OT Mekhi Becton who has been one of the lone bright spots of the season. But, that’s where the positives of the spring/summer end. New York traded high potential defensive end Leonard Williams across the sidelines to the Giants, who has looked good in 2020. The Jets also allowed wide receiver Robby Anderson to walk to Carolina in free agency where he is currently on pace to top 1,000 yards this season.
Cutting Trumaine Johnson, whom could’ve been traded, cost the team more than $12 million in dead cap this season, and if he does not make a team’s active roster by kickoff of next year, will be an $11 million loss in 2021.
Even with all of these losses, the story of the offseason was the Jamal Adams saga.
The 6th overall pick in 2017 requested a trade after a 2019 campaign in which Adams was named as a first team safety and was selected to his second pro bowl. The Jets were hesitant to deal the all-pro safety, but after Adams publicly denounced Gase as a non-present coach in the locker room and called out Douglas for his behavior during talks to extend Adams’ contract, New York had no choice.
Adams was sent to the Seattle Seahawks along with a 2021 fourth round selection for safety Bradley McDougald, two first round picks in 2021 and 2022 and a third round choice in 2021. Without their star on defense and an offense that lost more than they gained, the 2020 season didn’t look too promising for New York. They lived up to that.
After an 0-5 start to the season, New York released Le’Veon Bell instead of finding a trade and making his tenure a complete flop of a signing. After week 13, New York remains the only winless team in the league at 0-12. Obviously, they are sitting at the bottom of the AFC East yet again, have been eliminated from playoff contention, and have not done a single thing to change it.
As of now, the Jets are the only team in the league who has not scored more than 200 total points on the year with 180 and are dead last in the league in total yardage. On defense, New York has allowed the fourth most yards in the league, is fifth in total touchdowns given up with 25, and allows the second most passing yards per game.
In the only game New York even competed in this season, the Jets handled the Raiders very well throughout the game in week 12. But in classic Jets fashion, they blew it. With 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Jets led Vegas 28-24 with the Raiders facing a third down at mid-field. In a baffling coverage, Adam Gase sent 8 pass rushers, with man coverage on the receivers. When the Raiders top O-line unsurprisingly held up under the pressure, Derek Carr fired a bomb downfield to a wide open Henry Ruggs in the end zone to give Vegas the lead with 5 seconds left.
If a play summed up the New York Jets franchise since Super Bowl III, there it is.
As a result of the loss the Jets finally took somebody accountable for their hideous failure and fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. While this was needed, the fact that Adam Gase is still the head coach shows the insane amount of ineptitude this organization has. Under Gase, the Jets have never at any point been above .500 and have taken great players in Le’Veon Bell, CJ Mosley, and Jamal Adams and totally wasted their talent by not building a good team around these guys.
The one man that Gase has let down the most though, is the reason why he was hired. Sam Darnold was expected to lead the Jets back to relevance as he was considered the best QB in a draft class that included Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. With little to no weapons to throw to and miniscule protection on the line, Darnold has already been written off as a bust by the league, and the blame should 100% go on the coach that didn’t give him the tools to succeed.
The worst part of Gase’s treatment of Sam Darnold seems yet to come, as many predict the former third overall pick to no longer be wearing the green next year.
As the Jets continue to lose, they remain in the driver’s seat for the #1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, which would give them the opportunity to draft one of the best QB prospects since Peyton Manning in Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. With the former national champion being the overwhelming best talent in the draft, it makes no logical sense for New York not to take him.
Assuming the Jets do select Lawrence, there would also be no reason not to trade Sam Darnold, who at this point would be difficult to find a trading partner for due to the Jets failure to properly develop him. While Lawrence is assumed to be one of the best prospect QBs the league has ever seen, if I was Trevor Lawrence, I would rather play another year in college and risk my potential NFL career than suit up for Adam Gase and Joe Douglas.
If Douglas and Gase are retained for just next season, any prospect can see what the Jets have done to their stars in recent years and would understandably do anything they could not to be selected by them. The bottom line of this is, whether they are good or bad, the Jets are a joke and an awful franchise for any player who puts on their uniform.
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Review-Journal