We are a little less than a month away from the official start of training camp for the entire New York Jets roster and what better time to check in with our expert writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller.
This mailbag column will discuss potential preseason extensions and trades that could be on the horizon, as well as our mindset heading into the 2022 season and more. Before we get started, below are links to our latest weekly chats with fans:
- Week 44: Shocking cuts, year 2 leaps/regressions & the free safety battle.
- Week 45: Top offseason storylines, surprise starters/benchings.
- Week 46: OTA concerns, roster longshots & predicting the next FA signing.
- Week 47: Ring of Honor snubs, season predictions & closing the eastern gap.
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Potential Preseason Extensions & Trades
1. Who would you extend first if you were Jets general manager Joe Douglas, Quinnen Williams or George Fant?
This is a fascinating question because both players are in very different stages of their careers. Williams still has two years left on his deal and is only 24 years of age. While Fant will be 30 by the start of training camp and is entering the last year of his contract.
If it was up to me, I’d extend Williams first. If you believe in him as much as the staff seems to, then why wouldn’t you proactively sign him to a long-term deal?
He is really talented and is set to have the best year of his career — being in the second year of a system and being surrounded by other really talented players. That is a healthy bet worth making this offseason knowing the variables that you do. By doing so you’ll save a few bucks and if he blows up this season you’ll look like a genius for doing it early.
Those are all very fair points but due to the uncertainty at the offensive tackle position, I’m extending Fant before Week 1.
With Williams, you have the benefit of time being on your side and while you could save money long-term with a lucrative deal, you could also end up giving a huge contract to a player that doesn’t prove he fits the system. This is a pivotal season for “Big Q” and if he has another lackluster campaign, you’ve backed yourself into a corner.
Don’t get me wrong, I would like to extend both players but I think Fant is the more pressing matter. Get this deal done now because if Mekhi Becton gets hurt again in 2022, then you’re in some real trouble with Fant holding all the cards in negotiations.
2. Would you consider trading Denzel Mims before Week 1?
You can’t be Dave Gettleman and turn the phone off. I would always listen to any offer for any player, within reason.
Mims is battling for the fifth or sixth fiddle on the depth chart right now. I believe he makes the roster and is a key break-the-glass emergency guy if a wide receiver above him gets injured.
According to the latest coming in, Mims has finally bought in and he was the “star of the offseason” per Rich Cimini. Unless the offer was crazy (how could it be), I’d keep him. He has two more cheap years left on his rookie contract so why would I toss that away for a half-eaten Snickers bar?
That doesn’t make sense. I’m keeping him but I would consider trading nearly anyone on the roster if the price was right with few exceptions.
I think the answer to this question has a lot to do with players like Jeff Smith and rookie Calvin Jackson Jr. — or even a wildcard like Lawrence Cager or Kenny Yeboah. If two of these bubble candidates prove they belong, that’s bad news for Mims.
The Baylor product would have to really impress this summer to make him untradeable in my eyes. He does not contribute anything worthwhile on special teams so if he’s the fifth or sixth wide receiver, he’s wasting a roster spot.
However, if he proves he deserves some snaps over a similar WR role like Corey Davis — or even if it’s trending that way for next season — I’m more likely to keep him. I’d never cut Mims because of his contract but I would cut my losses and trade him for anything worthwhile if other depth pieces force the issue.
3. Positions like defensive end and cornerback appear to have depth heading into training camp. Would you consider trading an asset at either position?
As I said previously, I’ll consider anything as any good general manager should. However, I’m keeping guys like Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols at cornerback.
For any deal, you have to weigh return (how much are you getting back) vs. the comfort of having depth in case injuries hit (and they always do). I much prefer the security over what may turn into a day three pick? That just isn’t enough for me.
Now on the defensive line, that’s a different conversation. Connor Hughes had a nugget in his article for The Athletic that I tweeted out about flipping a guy you might cut for a pick. I’m all about that because in this scheme you’re keeping between 10-11 guys tops, meaning quality players will shake free and that is a great problem to have.
I’d flip one of those for an early day three pick if the opportunity presented itself. If you don’t, then you’ll cut them and someone could get them for free.
It’s hard to look at a recent prospect like Hall or Bryce Huff that has done everything right and then trade them, but that exact scenario could be coming in August. This is a cutthroat business and GMs are hired to think rationally, not emotionally.
Similar to Mims, it could depend on the training camp results of others. If key injuries occur as they did last summer, there should be room for these backups to make the 53-man roster. If not, or if unexpected bubble candidates perform, you could see Douglas sell off a more valuable asset at one of these two positions.
Like Boy Green, I lean toward trading a defensive lineman over a cornerback — considering the Jets have 14 or 15 combined DEs and DTs that I could see making an NFL roster in 2022.
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Looking Back & Looking Forward
4. In hindsight, do you have any regrets about missing out on a veteran wide receiver like Tyreek Hill or A.J. Brown?
At the time, I made a compelling case of why I wanted a proven option over a rookie because you knew what you were getting. However, in hindsight, I’m satisfied with the decisions that were made.
It stunk at the time missing out on both Hill and Brown because the actual price tag — in terms of the trade, not the contract — was manageable. Then again, the Jets’ star-studded draft would not have been possible if they made one of those blockbuster deals.
The real question is, how quickly can Garrett Wilson adapt to the NFL game? From what I hear from draft analysts, Wilson is an instant impact guy that can make things happen from the get-go. We’ll see if those inklings are true.
I love what I’ve seen from Garrett Wilson’s personality so far and this is no slight on him, but I would still have preferred the Brown trade on draft night. If you give up the No. 10 pick — which is more than what Philadelphia gave up — you don’t have to worry about losing out on Jermaine Johnson II or Breece Hall in this scenario.
It’d be a straight swap and I’m willing to pay the contractual difference for a veteran that can help Zach Wilson without any growing pains in Week 1.
Again, this is not meant as an insult to Garrett Wilson, who could turn into a true number one talent, but I’ll be honest and admit that I still prefer the experience. Hill is a little different because of his age and off-the-field drama. I think I’d stick with the rookie over the ex-Chiefs superstar, but I’d take Brown in a heartbeat.
5. C.J. Mosley said his mindset is “playoffs or bust.” Should fans have the same mentality about the 2022 season?
Unequivocally yes. We are “fans” for a reason, which is short for fanatic. Anything lower than those expectations is a loser mentality that has been beaten into us because of the general mediocrity over the last 11 years.
We have been so bad for so long that fans have adjusted their expectations accordingly. It is disgusting! It’s time to believe again and you have to be willing to get hurt. The Jets have the longest active playoff drought at 11 seasons and counting and the next closest isn’t that close (Denver Broncos, currently ongoing at six seasons).
In the NFL, unlike some sports, it is realistic to turn things around very quickly because of the abundance of available resources. Four or five-year rebuilds are a thing of the past — it’s time to win and that should be the expectation.
This question makes me think of the New York Mets. As we know, many Jets fans are also Mets fans and even though the baseball franchise has been in first place the entire season without Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer — two of the best pitchers in the sport — most fans are just waiting for them to collapse.
As Boy Green stated, this mindset has been beaten into us over the years.
Now, the Mets are in a little bit of a different spot than the Jets with a new rich owner and a ton of pro-ready talent but that doesn’t mean Gang Green can’t shock some teams. To quote our baseball brethren: “You gotta believe.” That’s what being a fan is all about.
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