After what was a wild yet disappointing season for the Jets, the team has agreed upon some intriguing news. While much negative speculation surrounded head coach Todd Bowles, who has now garnered back-to-back 5-11 seasons, the Jets have renewed his boarding pass. This goes for GM Mike Maccagnan who’s tenure in New York has been just as shaky.
We have extended the contracts of general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 29, 2017
A Happy Wife, A Happy Life
Bowles and Maccagnan were both brought in back in 2015 after the Jets decided to move on from the Rex Ryan era. The two saw early success with the team finishing 10-6 and falling just short of the playoffs. However, since then, things have not been as spectacular.
A few mishaps in the draft and free agency have called for some delayed flights. And now with the second-longest playoff drought in the AFC, the Jets need to get things in order.
The organization still believes this can happen under Bowles and Mac, despite a two-year poor report card. The team has built up some intriguing foundational pieces over the past few years, and is looking like a team ready to burst out of the gates.
That’s at least the expectation from the fans and the media. Most head coaches wouldn’t survive back-to-back losing seasons in the NFL, but the Jets look to be the outlier.
The 2018 season will be the ultimate funnel. Maccagnan will have nearly $100 million in cap space this offseason, and Bowles may have some true talent to work with. If success is not immediate, it’s hard to see either of them retaining their jobs past the New Year.
Maccagnan: "I do think we made progress…We would have liked to have won more games but we tried to build a team to be competitive and we were competitive in a lot of those games."
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 2, 2018
How it Can Go Wrong
It’s a common speech amongst JetsNation to speculate on how things can go wrong simply because they always seem to. The team is trudging toward a decade of being in the laughing stock of the NFL, and it’s to no guarantee that they escape the fumes.
Maccagnan will need to play all of his cards right this off-season. From the absurd amount of cap space he will be entrusted with, to the 6th overall pick in the draft, his seat could be hotter than ever if things don’t go smoothly.
Now Boarding Flight J-E-T-S to Off-Season, New York
The first point of emphasis needs to be on the key re-signings. The Jets have a slew of players with expiring contracts, and many of which have presented to be the building blocks for a successful future. They’ll all be heat seeking missles when it comes to the money, which they know the Jets will have. Maccagnan needs to be careful in that regard, by not overpaying (which he’s done in the past) and by not low-balling. It’s safe to say it won’t be easy.
Free agency then knocks on the door. The Jets have glaring issues all over the board, and a stout free agent class should be their market for cleaning up many of these issues. Maccagnan told reporters that the team will be “very active” in that sense come the off-season, and he’ll need to stick to that notion in order to remain atop the Jets hierarchy.
Maccagnan: “I think we’ll be very active in free agency.” Says #Jets are still doing evaluations of own players, etc, but adds: “We have a lot of potential to improve this team moving foraward.”
— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) January 2, 2018
This means locking up some offensive linemen, corner help, and possibly a quarterback. While much of this can be addressed in the draft as well, Maccagnan will likely want to cushion himself by making the most in free agency.
The draft may be the ultimate detonator. With the 6th overall pick, the Jets and Maccganan should be wary. They’ve actually witnessed much success when selecting in this area, with Jamal Adams and Leonard Williams both being the 6th overall. However, Maccagnan’s draft report card doesn’t get much better from there. The majority of his past selections are either playing elsewhere, or are no longer in the league. It will be a tough call to either go best available player, or to gamble on a potential franchise guy.
The Papers will be Pre-Written
When the Jets officially announced the extensions of Bowles and Maccagnan, it can be imagined that the fine print read: 2018 or bust. While that may not be a reality, the aroma around the team certainly smells that way. The Jets have everything they need right in front of them to succeed. All eyes will be on management to see if they can do just that.
Unfortunately for Bowles and Maccagnan, the city of New York is not one for patience. A “win now” mindset is forever engraved in the heart of MetLife stadium. While the two can breathe a sigh of relief after being granted extensions, a sense of nervousness should not be ignored. 2018 will be the career defining seasons for both of them.