The New York Jets have integrated their brand new rookies and veterans as they progress through the OTA process.
With football kind of back, we grabbed our two experts Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller to answer some interesting questions about the team.
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1. Leger Douzable recently confessed that he has been recruiting Larry Ogunjobi to sign with the Jets this offseason. Taking a page out of that playbook, is there any realistic option in the league that you’d try to recruit to the team? If so who and why?
When I think recruitment, it’s generally a free agent we are talking about. The FA list is getting down to the stragglers but there is still some talent left out there on the market.
The void I’ve been obsessive about filling is a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Ogunjobi might help in that regard but he’s not a true clogger at the position. I know his age, but I’d try and recruit one of the top run-stuffers of his generation: Ndamukong Suh.
He may be 35, but he won’t be asked to take on a heavy workload in this rotational system. Just have Suh sub in on the early downs and the third and shorts — when you’re expecting the run — don’t ask him to do too much. The former Super Bowl champion would bring that winning culture you’re looking for, and ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead could even be the man to pitch him.
Suh would fit the bill for what the Jets are looking for, but he would be an extremely controversial choice.
The former Nebraska Cornhuskers’ accolades speak for themselves, but he has had a long history of some questionable plays that some have labeled dirty. Heck at one point during his career earned the prestigious title of the “dirtiest player” in the NFL which was voted on by his peers.
I love the thought process though by MO, but I’ll go on the offensive side of the ball.
I will do whatever it takes to convince a proven veteran swing tackle in the Morgan Moses mold to sign with the team. They need that insurance just in case something goes south with either Mekhi Becton or George Fant.
Both Eric Fisher and Duane Brown intrigue me on the market. Brown is much older but is more proven. While Fisher would still be a very solid option. I know it’s a cop-out to give two answers, but I’m pretty open on the who but adamant on the position.
2. Bleacher Report recently labeled Zach Wilson a dark horse to lead the NFL in passing touchdowns, what bold dark horse prediction are you willing to give on the New York Jets in the month of May?
My bold prediction will be on the defensive side. Not only does this unit improve — it would be hard not to as the 32nd-ranked group in 2021 — but the pass defense takes a monster leap.
With potential Pro Bowler D.J. Reed Jr. and rookie Sauce Gardner entering the fold — not to mention a healthy Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson II and Jacob Martin harassing opposing quarterbacks — I think this can turn into a top-10 pass coverage defense in 2022.
In other words, the Jets will finish top-10 in passing yards allowed next season.
That is a really sneaky one by MO that makes a ton of sense.
I’ll also stay on the defensive side of the ball but I’ll go to the pass rushers. Gang Green hasn’t had a single double-digit sack artist since 2015 when Muhammad Wilkerson accomplished that feat.
Not only will that seven-year drought come to an end, but I’ll boldly predict that two defenders will achieve that elite status.
I think all of the stars and planets are going to align for head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.
The two candidates to watch are Quinnen Williams and Carl Lawson. I understand the hesitation with Lawson coming off of a very serious injury, but I believe in the player. Throw in the former Alabama stud who has been waiting to pop and now is a better time than any.
3. Zach Wilson is heading to TEU this summer to throw the football around with some of the best TEs in football, have you sensed a swagger change with him this offseason? Do you think that has any tangible results?
Yea, I see more confidence from the sophomore. Wilson always had the vibe of a fierce competitor out of BYU and he brought that swagger into his rookie campaign. We even saw it on display during Week 1 in Carolina, leading a gritty comeback in the fourth.
Then, Bill Belichick broke him. I really do think that Week 2 home opener impacted Wilson mentally. In such a big moment, he elected to play with the utmost confidence and he completely crashed and burned with four ugly interceptions.
From there, Wilson had some poor outings and it took some time on the sidelines to finally settle him down. I think he plays more within the system in year two and with all these playmakers around him, his production should see a bump.
Wilson traveled the countryside for his teammates, added some big-time weight, and is now heading to the most it thing of the offseason at TEU. There is a palpable energy and swagger with Wilson that is hard to ignore.
The true question asked will there be any tangible results from this? That’s a super interesting question and I still say yes.
While some may argue this is simply surface-level stuff that won’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, I’ll aggressively push back on that.
Jerry Rice once said if you look good, you’ll play good. Wilson ended the season the way he did and now is absorbing all the positive vibes of the offseason, that will manifest themselves during camp.
Something every good quarterback needs is confidence in himself. If he has that it will raise the abilities of everyone around him and he will be able to preserve through an inevitable struggle at points during the season.
4. Which member of the New York Jets is going to get the next big contract extension?
I feel like the obvious answer is Quinnen Williams but I’ll say veteran offensive tackle, George Fant.
Originally, fans questioned the Fant signing but it ended up being one of Joe Douglas’ best moves in free agency. The blocker is a team leader — 2020 offensive captain — and has been the best pass protector in the building. He’s a free agent in 2023 and told reporters that he has discussed an extension with the organization.
Outside of Max Mitchell, the Jets didn’t draft a tackle in 2022. I think this is almost a sure thing, and I’ll say it gets done for an extra two years, $18 million.
Alright, I’ll take the bait.
Williams is the next man to get the bag and this is an important one for Douglas. How he handles this will be closely watched by the entire locker room.
It seems like at this point, things can always change, that they will let Williams play out the 2022 season before really hitting the negotiating table hard.
That makes a ton of sense in a prove-it year. In a second year in the system and with a ton of new talent around him Williams should explode and the Jets want to see it.
However, there is another argument to be made that says the Jets should be proactive and sign Williams now to a monster deal. While it would be early, a safe bet is Williams is going to play really well next year, so why not save a few bucks by extending him now?
I can certainly see this getting into the $100 million ballpark with an average salary hovering in the $20 million-plus per year range. That is the going rate for really good defensive tackles and that is what Williams has been. Is he Aaron Donald? No, but who his? He needs to take advantage of his God-given talent and when he does that the leverage will be in his corner next offseason.
5. What kind of season would you be satisfied with from a wins-losses perspective in 2022 for the Jets?
They have to get six wins and at least shove that in the oddsmakers’ faces as a win in Vegas. I would be satisfied with six but I’d really love seven or eight.
I’m not rushing this rebuild and expecting 10 wins but that will make it all the more exciting if the Jets do surprise. Realistically, this is a challenging schedule and I’m happy with anything in the six to eight range, followed by a playoff run in 2023.
In 10 of the last 11 seasons, the Jets have had a losing record, my expectation is hovering around the 8-9 or 9-8 range. This schedule is tough and the AFC is loaded, but there are those kinds of variables every year. I’ve had enough of the excuses, it’s time to shut up and play ball.
I want Wilson to show he is one of the ascending young quarterbacks in the game and if he does that the wins should come along right with it. That record should also put the green and white in the conversation for the final seed in the AFC playoff picture and with this talent they have, it is within the realm of possibilities.
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