If there has been one rather obvious trend so far in the New York Jets’ offseason it’s that they are making a concerted effort to get younger and more athletic, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So far, they have made moves to sign linebacker Avery Williamson as well as feature cornerback Trumaine Johnson. On the offensive side of the ball, they have signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, running back Isaiah Crowell, and center Spencer Long. The only signing of any player 29 or over has gone to Josh Mccown, which makes sense considering how much the team adores him as well as the great numbers that he put up last year.
It’s not as though players such as Bilal Powell and Demario Davis are old, but they are approaching 30, and clearly Maccagnan’s agenda so far has proven that he wants guys that are going to turn 30 in four years, not one. With Matt Forte retiring, it looked like Bilal Powell was finally going to step in line as the team’s feature back with Elijah Mcguire as his backup. After a resurgent season from Demario Davis, it looked like they were going to bring him back to continue what he was doing.
What the Jets did instead was a testament to the way they want to approach not only the present situation of the franchise but the future as well. They could have sat tight with Bilal Powell as their feature back, but he is about to be 30 years old, which would soon leave Elijah Mcguire as their number one back. Maccagnan sees an opportunity in Isaiah Crowell. Crowell is just 25 years old, and the Jets got him for three years and 12 million dollars. For a guy who probably did not get as many opportunities as he deserved in Cleveland, as he sometimes complained about not getting enough touches in their system, Crowell now has the opportunity to become the feature back he, as well as Mike Maccagnan, has always envisioned himself to be.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets seem to be doing everything in their power to get Todd Bowles the defense that he has always longed to have. After missing out on Kirk Cousins, the New York Jets turned their attention to getting the best possible cornerback on the market, thus adding a top-flight cornerback to a secondary that already features Marcus Maye and Jamaal Adams. Despite the fact that the Johnson signing could become an overpaid bust type of contract, it was a move the Jets had to make in order to at least try to build an elite defense.
The Jets also signed former Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson after being unable to come to an agreement with 29 year old Demario Davis. Davis could play on every single defensive down, whereas Avery struggles in pass-coverage third down situations. Avery was the leading tackler for the Titans last year, and rejected the Titans’ four year, $12 million offer this offseason.
Mike Maccagnan has made it clear that he only wants to take players in their first year of free agency, making all of his new additions younger than 29 years old. The Jets are still a long way away from being a contending team, but the process towards becoming that contending team is in full swing.