The New York Jets had a long offseason, dealing mostly with Ryan Fitzpatrick and his contract. He wanted a multi-year deal that would give him nearly $16 million a year. Eventually after a long stalemate the Jets would sign him to a one year deal. Hoping that the long time journeyman could somehow repeat his 10 wins and 31 touchdowns from the season before. As it turns out that was the farthest thing from what actually happened. Fitzpatrick ended up throwing more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (12) and only started 11 games for the Jets. It would have been much less had the young Bryce Petty not gotten hurt.
Fitzpatrick however was far from the only problem on the Jets. Of course you can look at the injuries. Eric Decker only played in three games, Matt Forte was in and out of the lineup, Brandon Marshall injured throughout the year, and Nick Mangold only playing in eight games. You can look at age with Darelle Revis looking like his best days are behind him. You can look at the behavior of some of the team’s best players, such as Sheldon Richardson’s now infamous snapchat video. You can even look at a head coach that focuses too much on a defense that wasn’t even that good. However, with all of the injuries, the dysfunction, and lack of, at some parts in the season, effort, the Jets still managed to win 5 games. With two of these wins coming after they were already eliminated from playoff contention.
However, winning those two games is part of the New York Jets’ problem. To be good in the NFL, in most cases, unless you are the New England Patriots or Green Bay Packers, you have to be bad first. You need to lose games, get and make smart draft picks, and slowly build a culture of winning. Some teams like the Browns or the Jaguars have a hard time of leaving the bad phase, some teams like the Seahawks draft well and build a winner, and then you have some teams like the Jets, who always seem to be mediocre, with a record of 7-9, 9-7, or 10-6. The Jets have not won a division title since 2002. However, in those 15 years the Jets have only had six top 10 picks, three of which were top 5 draft picks, one of which they traded up for, and none being higher than the No. 4 overall pick.
In a major market such as New York the Jets have not found the ability to lose games, or to have losing seasons in order to receive high draft picks and succeed. In 2014 the Jets were 2-11 with three weeks to go. The 2015 NFL draft would consist of two of the biggest quarterback prospects to come out of college in a while in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. All the Jets had to do was lose its last three games and they would have something that most people consider they haven’t had since Joe Namath, a franchise quarterback. As history will tell, the Jets won two of their last three and missed out on both quarterbacks, who at this point have both been somewhat successful in the NFL. The Jets ended up with the sixth overall pick and selected another defensive end to a team that had loads of talent at that position.
With four games left in the 2016 season the Jets again found themselves in a similar situation. 3-9, with a chance to secure a top five pick. Instead they finished up the season 2-2, to end with a record of 5-11 and the sixth overall pick. The Jets again find themselves in that grey area of not being good and not being terrible. They are average and in the National Football League average is the worst thing to be. The Jets will again make an underwhelming draft pick in the first round. FInish next season and start this cycle all over again. In order for the Jets to break out of this cycle, they need to be bad, lose some games, be the team that ends the season an unwatchable 2-14. The Jets ownership needs to understand that staying on a sinking ship will get them nowhere. They need to let the ship sink, so they can collect the insurance money and buy a brand new one. Once they figure that out and have a rough couple of seasons, as long as they aren’t the Cleveland Browns, they should find some success.
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