We have made it through the divisional round of the NFL playoffs and now all that remains is our final four in the conference championship games.
Wow, that might have been the best weekend of football in history with every game being decided by a walk-off score, absolutely stunning.
With all those good vibes in the air it’s time for our pair of experts, Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller, to answer the hottest questions around the New York Jets.
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Trade Talk, Should I Stay or Should I Go
1. Should the Jets stand pat or trade around in round one of the 2022 NFL Draft?
Of course, it depends on how things shake out. Originally, I wanted to trade down from No. 4 but the more I think about it, we should probably stay put and bulk either the offensive or defensive trenches — meaning draft whoever is left out of Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, and Ikem Ekwonu.
Since that fits Joe Douglas’ M.O., I think it will probably happen outside of someone offering us a haul of picks for a short drop in the order. I would consider a trade down at No. 10 if you get the right offer, since that could be quarterback range in this draft.
I would also consider trading up into the first round with one of the early second-rounders if a player that you want is still on the board.
I always side with maximum flexibility and I will say trade. Douglas has proven to be a trader, whether that is up or down the board, and I believe they will be super flexible.
As much as some of the fans would like to see them trade up from the No. 4 overall pick to secure one of the top EDGE rushers, I don’t see that happening. Douglas will be patient and hope one of them drops and if they don’t he’ll just take BPA (best player available).
The trading begins at No. 10 and if I had to bet on it right now, I’d say he trades back 5 to 10 spots and picks up a ton of future capital, and still lands a player he desires. There is a lot of time between now and the 2022 NFL draft, but that is where I’m at right now.
2. Outside of Braxton Berrios, who should be the top priority to re-sign?
I’ve been seeing a lot of Jets fans on Twitter re-signing a ton of these impending free agents which baffles me. The talent clearly wasn’t good enough in 2021 so sure, let’s bring everyone back and try again! Huh?
I would honestly let 75% of these free agents walk, maybe more. Having said that, the only “priority” players I see on this list (besides Berrios) would be Eddy Pineiro and one of the two backup quarterbacks — probably Mike White so long as he’s not asking for a ton of money off one big game.
Either way, you need a reliable backup QB in this league so I’ll choose that as my top priority. One of these guys (Joe Flacco or White), if not both, should be back in 2022 so we don’t even have to worry about the position this summer.
Berrios is the obvious one and he is off-limits for this question.
As much as I’d like the offensive line depth of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Morgan Moses, I don’t see those two happening. The doctor is heading back to the medical field and Moses wants a guaranteed starting job which the Jets can’t promise right now.
So with that being said, I’ll lean on Eddy Pineiro. He was a pleasant surprise this year and has proven worthy of another tire kick. I wouldn’t give him any kind of crazy money, especially considering his small sample size, but he should be the starting kicker in training camp without a doubt.
Answering the Toughest Remaining Questions
3. What is the most underrated offseason need for NYJ?
I’m not sure what people would consider underrated because it’s all relative based on your perspective. To me, this is a major need but nobody is really talking about it so I guess it could fit the billing of underrated.
That’s linebacker. Most people see C.J. Mosley — team MVP — and Quincy Williams as a nice find and think, okay we got our LBs figured out. I thought this was the worst unit all season outside of tight end.
Mosley racks up tackles but he’s slow in coverage and rarely clogs gaps on run defense. Based on his contract, he’ll be here next season but I want his protege learning alongside him in 2022. That would shift Williams to the less crucial third LB role (25-30% snaps) while also giving Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen ample time to develop.
We should use our second first-round pick on Devin Lloyd or Nakobe Dean and insert an intelligent AND explosive prospect into the center of this unit.
I think the answer to that question is a run-stuffing defensive tackle. I believe Foley Fatukasi will join a new team this offseason because his price point will skyrocket and that’ll be above the Jets’ pay grade.
They have already invested so much in the defensive line with Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, and up next is a big payday for Quinnen Williams. I just can’t see them shelling out an additional $7.5 million-plus per year on a long-term deal.
With that in mind, I think they opt for a cheap veteran big man that can clog the lanes. There should be a bevy of options available in free agency at a fraction of the cost of Foley.
4. Who should be the Jets’ backup QB in 2022?
Well, I sort of answered this in question two but I would bring back the entire room. I think this group was solid once they all picked up the playbook and they seem to like each other which should help Wilson develop.
If I had to technically choose a backup between White and Flacco, I’d always rather see the younger guy in there but I also think it depends on the opponent. The two are somewhat equal but they have different strengths.
Having both Flacco and White gives you more flexibility so I guess I may cheat and answer both.
This is a resounding Mike White answer from me.
While his star shined bright versus the Cincinnati Bengals, a lot of fans have jumped off the bandwagon after some subpar play after that contest. To me, White proved exactly what I needed him to, that he is the long-term answer at backup quarterback.
We all know that Zach Wilson is the present and future, but you need a guy on the bench that can step up in a pinch and deliver. White is a system quarterback that can move the ball and progress down the field.
Flacco is an old decrepit man, they need to hand the reins over to the young buck for 2022 and the foreseeable future. Both players are free agents this offseason, one RFA (restricted free agent) the other UFA (unrestricted free agent), so there is a chance both can be back or both could be gone. I think the Jets hand the No. 2 job over to White, as they should.
5. Which Senior Bowl prospect do you have circled as a potential Jets target?
I mentioned one already in Lloyd but I’ll circle a player I wrote about, tight end Trey McBride.
I’ve been talking about Douglas figuring out what this roster is missing a lot and I feel the perfect blueprint is still the San Francisco 49ers. If you look at the Niners’ offense, it’s on par with the Jets in a lot of areas.
The offensive line could use a healthy Mekhi Becton and one or two supplemental pieces but it’s getting closer. Elijah Moore can be that Deebo Samuel do-it-all playmaker. You have the QB and the running back. You could use one more wide receiver but you’re close there too. The one area you are WAY off is at tight end and you need that Kittle-type talent.
That’s McBride and I would stop at nothing to draft him.
This is the next step on the offseason calendar for the Jets and this is a big one. They have a rare opportunity they haven’t had in over 40 years as they get to coach one side of the Senior Bowl.
So many NFL teams have benefitted from the rare access and inside scoops on a bevy of talented players over the years.
McBride is certainly a fun one and can’t disagree there, but I’ll go in a different direction. Here are several players that tickle my fancy:
- Coby Bryant (no not that one), defensive back, Cincinnati
- Chad Muma, linebacker, Wyoming
- Trevor Penning, offensive lineman, Northern Iowa
- Jeremy Ruckert, tight end, Ohio State
- Jahan Dotson, wide receiver, Penn State
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