The New York Jets have been center stage this offseason. Initial attempts to lure in Kirk Cousins fell short, so general manager Mike Maccagnan went all in with the team’s $100 million in cap space elsewhere.
In this edition of a Full Press Coverage Jets Roundtable, the team offers their individual opinions on the hottest topics surrounding Gang Green.
Featured contributors to this roundtable:
– Kyle Hirshkind: Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Jets Follow @kylehirshkind
– James Cunningham: Staff writer for Full Press Coverage Jets Follow @nyjfansnation
– Adam Melendez: Staff writer for Full Press Coverage Jets Follow @melendez2015
– Alessandro Senatore: Staff writer for Full Press Coverage Jets Follow @AMS1928
1. After a brief stint of silence, Mike Maccagnan finally made a splash in free agency. In your opinion, which signing will turn out to be the most impactful? Is this also your favorite free agent signing?
Kyle: Despite falling short in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, Maccagnan still did a wonderful job locking up some great free agents at reasonable price points. In my opinion, I see the addition of Trumaine Johnson being the most impactful. The Jets secondary lacked consistency in terms of pass defenders last season. Now, they get a top-tier shut-down corner in Johnson. The former Ram has proved his capabilities against No. 1 receivers in the past, and plugging him in next to Morris Claiborne should allow the Jets to be more dominant on the defensive side of the ball.
2. The Jets continued to make offseason noise when it was announced they made a blockbuster trade with the Colts, moving up to the 3rd overall pick. What are your thoughts on the trade? Was it a fair deal for both sides?
Kyle: Even though there was plenty of speculation around the Jets possibly moving up in the draft, this trade came as quite a shocker to me. Mike Maccagnan went all in and gambled with the team’s future in order to lock up one of the top quarterbacks in this draft class. ESPN’s Mel Kiper said it best: Maccagnan basically gave up three potential starters to move up three spots. These potential starters would obviously be the three second round picks they gave up. Until we see how the rookie pans out in the green and white, I’ll still be on the fence about this trade. In my eyes, it was a bigger win for the Colts as they may still be able to lock up the player they planned on selecting at No. 3, while now adding a slew of new picks to their arsenal.
James: I loved this trade. Mike Maccagnan finally built up the courage to make a play for a rookie quarterback that can lead this team for the coming years. Was it a lot to give up? Yes. But, moving up in March is no easy task and not giving up future first rounders was big in this deal. This was a very fair deal on both sides because the Colts get the picks they need to fill holes and the Jets finally (and hopefully) get their signal caller.
Adam: The Jets have made it clear that they want to end their rebuild as soon as possible, and finally become contenders. After one year of a young roster, the Jets need to add the final piece of the puzzle: their franchise quarterback. They didn’t give up too much, their first rounder this year and three second rounders, which have historically not been good for the team. I liked the move. The Jets can have a better pick, and the Colts can add some much needed talent to their depleted roster. The aggressiveness shows just how much management wants to win.
Alessandro: When the Jets broke news that they traded up from number six to number three, that was a positive moment until I saw what they had given up. While I think the trade was necessary, what Maccagnan gave up was too much. The Jets need as many picks as they can get.
3. Who would you prefer the Jets take at No. 3? Why?
Kyle: With four quarterbacks potentially going in the top 10, it’s without question that at least two of them won’t pan out to be more than average. History tells this story accurately. For the Jets to avoid that conundrum, I think their best bet is to go with either Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield. Both have their pros and cons, but it seems as though either one may be able to plug into the Jets West Coast offense effectively. My heart and fandom pulls me toward the team taking Mayfield, however, I believe it is more likely they take Rosen if he is still on the board.
James: I would prefer the Jets take Baker Mayfield with the third overall pick. Mayfield has a winning mentality that New York needs more than ever, and he can ball. He’s the most accurate quarterback in this draft and accuracy is what this offense so desperately needs. We all saw Bryce Petty throw duck after duck during the final stretch of the season. I’m done with Gang Green taking the strongest arm. If I’m Mike Maccagnan, I want somebody who can put every ball on the money no matter the situation.
Adam: While at six, I was pulling for the Jets to draft Saquon Barkley if he managed to fall to them. A true playmaker and a once in a generational talent. However, with the signing of Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls, running back is no longer a position of concern. My pick at number three would be Baker Mayfield. I was not a fan of Mayfield for quite some time, but after seeing the other prospects and what they had to offer, it’s clear that there are only two picks I would be comfortable with. Rosen and Mayfield are the two.
Alessandro: With the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft the New York Jets should select QB Baker Mayfield. While his size is an issue for most people, they should go look at Russell Wilson. Mayfield is a long ball stretcher. He is mobile and can take off if need be plus, he can make the throws downfield. And most importantly, of all the quarterbacks in the draft, he is most accurate.
The buzz at the NFL meetings points to the Jets drafting Baker Mayfield https://t.co/OdkaqQMwLY
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) March 28, 2018
4. How do you see the Jets quarterback situation playing out? Who will begin the year as the starter, and who will end it?
Kyle: While a quarterback competition is likely this offseason, I tend to think that Josh McCown will retain the starting job. He knows the offense and schemes well, and I believe the Jets will want to get things running smoothly with a slew of new free agent additions. McCown will start for as long as he can be stellar, and when I say that, I mean once the team faces their first blowout loss, either Teddy Bridgewater or the rookie will step in. That will ultimately come down to who performs better in the offseason and preseason (on top of Bridgewater’s health). If I had to put my money on it, McCown starts the year, and the rookie ends it.
James: I think Josh McCown will begin the year as the starter for Gang Green. McCown knows the scheme more than anybody and the coaches love him leading the pack. He comes out as the starter week one. I think a rookie quarterback won’t see the field until Week 11, and Teddy Bridgewater won’t see playing time in 2018. The rookie quarterback finishes the season off for the Jets.
Adam: I see McCown being the starter for a few games, allowing whoever the Jets draft to learn behind them a few games. Think back to Jared Goff, but hopefully, he would start a few games more than Goff did his rookie season. I would expect the draft pick to start around Week Six, unless the current starter is balling out.
Alessandro: Depending on Josh McCown’s hand the QB ranking order could work out as: McCown starting the season for a few games, Bridgewater jumping in mid-way/end of the season, and depending on the situation (playoff chance or not) the young QB in the draft jumping in or possibly the first appearance of Hackenberg (Petty will be cut.)
5. There was a lot of speculation last year about Bowles being on the hot seat. 2018 seems like it will be a prove it year for the 4th year HC. Fill in the blank: Todd Bowles will be fired if ____.
Kyle: Todd Bowles will be fired if… the Jets fall to 5-11 (again) or worse. Acting owner Christopher Johnson has made it known that there is no playoff mandate for this team this year, however, I’m sure he is hoping for some improvement. With a number of talented additions brought in this offseason, if the team falls to the same or worse record as last year, the dreaded “rebuild” will shift over to the head coaching position.
James: Todd Bowles will be fired if… the Jets don’t win eight games in 2018. I think whichever rookie quarterback the Jets select will have a big impact on the future of his job. If they pick Josh Allen, I can see Bowles staying around even if the Jets only win six or seven games. If Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield comes to town, I see higher expectations out of Bowles and the rest of Gang Green.
Adam: Todd Bowles will be fired if…he does not get close to a winning season. The Jets have been out of the playoffs, having not gotten back since 2010. Fans are growing tired of watching other teams come January, and it’s getting old fast. At the very least, Bowles, now armed with possibly the best roster he’s had since 2015, has to have a better record than 5-11. Another season like that, and someone else will be developing the team come 2019.
Alessandro: Todd Bowles will be fired if…he can not add and develop a permanent franchise quarterback.
6. A Way Too Early Prediction: Where will the Jets rank in the AFC East? Is this the year they dethrone the Patriots? Record prediction?
Kyle: The Jets are on the right path, however, the Patriots will still rule the AFC East, and likely the AFC in it’s entirety once again. I see the Jets jumping up from a fourth place finish in the division last year, to a close second. The Bills won’t be far behind, and the Dolphins will have a season mirroring that of the Jets last year. My record prediction for Gang Green: 8-8, just missing the playoffs for the eighth straight year.
James: The Jets will rank second in a weak AFC East division in 2018. The Patriots aren’t even close to being taken down yet unfortunately, and they’ll stay on top. The Bills and the Dolphins will both fall apart in 2018 and the Jets come out in second with a 9-7 record, falling just short of playoffs.