The New York Jets’ methodical approach can work under this one condition

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ – A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets:

In Zach they trust: They did not get WR Tyreek Hill. Or DE Chandler Jones. Or WR Amari Cooper. Or S Marcus Williams. The Jets’ biggest free-agent spray was a guard, and we all know a guard will not thrill the masses or tip Vegas odds in their favor.

Their patient and methodical approach can be frustrating for fans, especially with so many AFC teams making big movies. The people on the inside – the decision makers on One Jets Drive – are not in a state of panic, but the events of the last two weeks have reminded them of an indisputable truth.

More than ever, it all depends on Zach Wilson.

If the quarterback follows the career path of Buffalo Bills star Josh Allen, who improved dramatically in years 2 and 3, the Jets believe they will be among the AFC elite. If he splashes again or peaks on average, they are doomed to mediocrity and yet another rebuild in a few years.

General manager Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh knew their future was tied to Wilson as soon as they met him number two overall last year and now it is magnified due to the crazy new landscape in the AFC. There’s a Catch-22 element in this, because it’s unfair to expect him to be a savior without a weapon that changes the game. Hill would have been that guy at an exorbitant price.

Under normal circumstances, the Jets would be in trouble, but that’s not normal because they’re filled with draft picks – nine in total, including four in the top 38.

They have the working capital to get better. What they really need is a capital improvement from Wilson.

2. Mini mock draft 1: Here is my first plug in it. To use a frequently used Bill Parcells line, I reserve the right to change my mind:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Aidan Hutchinson

  2. Detroit Lions: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux

  3. Houston Texans: OT Ikem Ekwonu

  4. Jets: DE Travon Walker

  5. New York Giants: OT Evan Neal

  6. Carolina Panthers: OT Charles Cross

  7. Giants: DE Jermaine Johnson II

  8. Atlanta Falcons: QB Malik Willis

  9. Seattle Seahawks: CB Ahmad “Willow” Gardner

  10. Jets: WR Garrett Wilson

3. What did Bakken happen there? For 84 minutes on Wednesday on social media, Jets fans were teased by the opportunity to trade with Hill. Was it real or just one of the many Jets’ flirtations that end up as a sweet nothing?

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, who had permission from the Kansas City Chiefs to speak to teams about a contract, told reporters in South Florida on Thursday that he was in negotiations with the Jets and it was “almost a done deal.” This was Monday, when the Jets were the only team to have an agreement with the Chiefs on trade compensation, Rosenhaus said.

As the talks progressed, he said he advised other teams to tell them where things stood, and successfully lured the Miami Dolphins into the mix. That led to an all-night negotiation session with the Dolphins, who eventually landed the much-appreciated wide receiver.

Were the Hill-to-the-Jets really that close? Used Rosenhaus Jets for leverage? We will probably never know the truth. Rosenhaus has been in the business for a long time, and good poker players never reveal their hands if they should not. Hill certainly made it sound like he never seriously considered New York.

I can tell you this: General Manager Joe Douglas was very interested, but the Jets always felt that Hill preferred Miami, assuming he would choose South Beach if the money was close. Of course, they could have increased their offerings, but they did not want to be ruthless. They ventured into ruthless territory, as it were, given what he got from Miami – a three-year $ 75 million extension.

4. Next recipient up: The Jets will have to solve their wide receiver problem with a high draft … unless another Hill situation arises. A handful of star receivers enter the final year of their rookie contract, including DK Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks), AJ Brown (Tennessee Titans) and Deebo Samuel (San Francisco 49ers). The market is blowing up, which can make it harder for their team to re-sign them.

The Jets have ties to all three. Recipient Elijah Moore played with Brown and Metcalf on Ole Miss and remains close friends with Brown. The coaching staff knows Samuel from his time in San Francisco. To say that the coaches have an affiliation with Samuel would be an understatement. At this point, there is nothing to suggest that any of them are available, but the Jets are keeping an eye on the situations, just in case.

By this: It’s harder for a fourth year player to force a trade, compared to an older, more expensive player like Hill. But hey, you never know. The Jets replaced Jamal Adams’ safety after three years, right?

5. (Can not) catch a rising star: The Jets would not be in this wide-receiver pickle if Denzel Mims was not such a disappointment. The 2020 election in the second round, which has yet to score a touchdown in two seasons, is not even a lock to being on the team in September.

In Age of the Wide Receiver, the jets have been whistling incessantly in the draft. Their last draft pick to get a 1,000-yard receiving season was Jerricho Cotchery, who was selected in 2004. It’s crazy. Recipients are available throughout the journal. Of the seven biggest receiving contracts this month, only one was a first-round pick – Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers).

6.New posting: The Jets have handed out seven multi-year contracts (six new players, plus wide receiver Braxton Berrios), with an obvious trend in the structure of the deals: Cap fees are backloaded. In other words, it’s a bare-bones cap charge in year 1, followed by large fees in subsequent years. It is a departure from last year’s approach.

These seven contracts count for only $ 27.4 million in this year’s ceiling, but that number rises to $ 75 million next year, including big numbers for guard Laken Tomlinson ($ 17.4 million) and cornerback DJ Reed ($ 14.2 million). ). According to a source, the reason for the strategy is twofold:

New TV revenues will pour in next year, which will result in a marked ceiling increase. The Jets also want to maintain the flexibility this year so they can pursue pretty much any player they want. (See: Tyreek Hill.) It has not resulted in a big score yet, but the offseason is not over. The Jets are not alone; many teams load appointments.

If you’re wondering, the Jets have about $ 17 million in attic space, of which $ 13 million is to be set aside for the draft. However, do not get caught in cap space. If they really want a player, they can make the numbers work.

7. What’s next? The Jets expect to be relatively quiet on the free-agency front over the next few weeks, focusing their efforts on the April 28 draft. This is still a team with many needs, namely wide receiver, safety, defensive tackling and edge rusher, among them. On the plus side, the receiver and edge rusher are among the strongest positions in the draft.

8. Control: There was a rumor that defensive end Carl Lawson had suffered a setback in his Achilles’ rehabilitation, but I’m told he’s still on schedule for training camp.

9. Armed and dangerous: The defense, which was ranked 32nd last season, should be much better in 2022. Have you checked out the ranks of opposing quarterbacks? The Jets face Josh Allen (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson.

10. The last word: “I understand some people may not see it, but to the point I would say, look at Cincinnati at the end of the day, their turnaround and what they were able to do.” – Berrios on how the Jets can quickly become a winning organization

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