Last year was an unmitigated disaster filled with injuries, another losing season, and disappointment.
Woody Johnson has now resumed full ownership of the team after some time away and his patience is wearing thin. That could lead to some heads rolling if there aren’t tangible results this season.
If that does come to fruition the Jets would be in a unique position to potentially welcome in one of the best coaches in the NFL.
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A Blockbuster Move
Earlier this offseason New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton shocked the football world by taking an indefinite leave from the game.
He was open and honest during that media availability that he wasn’t sure what his future held. Well, this week we got some clarity with Payton telling Jarrett Bell of USA Today that he foresees a comeback eventually:
“Ultimately, do I think I’ll get back in? Sure,” Payton said. “There’s no way to predict who that club might be. Usually, there are about six openings every year. If there’s a right fit somewhere, that ultimately will depend on several factors.”
That led Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports to list the top and most logical NFL destinations that would be a fit for Payton in 2023.
He listed the Jets as a top-3 landing spot with only the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys being higher on his list:
“Few teams poured as many resources into supporting their young quarterback this offseason as the Jets, but if Robert Saleh doesn’t oversee significant improvement either on the retooled offense or his signature defense, it’s possible management could turn to a proven name for a quicker fix. And Payton, besides offering the QB tutelage that could elevate (or seek to replace) Zach Wilson, knows the New Jersey area well, spending six years between the Eagles and Giants from 1997-2002. In the Jets, he’d get a big market, a young roster that should be on the rise, and a division that may have just one big threat in the Bills.”
A History of Fluidity
Since 2014 the Jets have had four different head coaches. Their last coach, Adam Gase, only lasted two seasons before the front office pulled the plug on that experiment.
There is a clear history of musical chairs at the top and the one constant during that stretch is ownership.
Not only has Johnson been willing to wipe the slate clean if things aren’t going according to plan but he also has an affinity for the splash.
Mr. Johnson loves the headlines and what bigger one could there be than trading for the rights to one of the most gifted offensive coaches in NFL history.
Payton’s rights are still owned by the Saints so if he chooses to make a football return in the future another team would have to compensate New Orleans to land the experienced coach.
In theory, Zach Wilson and a slew of talented young offensive pieces could be a key part of the pitch to lure Payton to New York.
Of course, the only way this is even a thought is if the 2022 campaign is a total disaster. There is a lot of optimism among the fans that this could be a surprise year for the Jets and if it is, then this Payton dream will die before it ever really gains any steam.
However, if things go south this year, this might not be the worst thing in the world to hope for in 2023.