We have entered the month of April and technically the New York Jets don’t have a QB1 on the roster.
For most teams that would be incredibly scary times but this Gang Green squad has a quiet confidence with all of the Aaron Rodgers rumors floating around.
Distractions and Predictions for the Jets in 2023
1. The Jets are one of four eligible teams for HBO’s Hard Knocks in 2023, should the Jets participate? Would it be a distraction? Give us your honest assessment.
Well, I don’t believe that they can say no if selected by the NFL, but having said that, yes it would be a distraction. Saleh hinted at it pretty clearly at the NFL League Meeting: No coach wants this messing with their training camp.
I used to work in film production and having an entire crew of outsiders at every practice (on top of the Jets personal production crew, One Jets Drive), can only cause problems. Whether it’s players focusing too much on the cameras or just too much going on in general, these things are not ideal when you’re trying to learn a new offense and create excellence as a team.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean you cannot win and be productive with Hard Knocks around. It’ll be on Saleh and the coaching staff to contain the chaos.
Would it be a distraction? Only if you let it.
Time for a history lesson kids, the last time the Jets were featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks (2010) they ended up appearing in the AFC Championship game. Does that sound like a distraction?
Gang Green is the obvious choice of the teams eligible and guess what MO? You’re right, NFL teams have no choice.
“By league rules, teams can be forced to do Hard Knocks if they haven’t done the show in the last 10 years, haven’t been to the playoffs in the last two years, and don’t have a new head coach,” per Pro Football Talk.
The Jets check each and every one of those boxes. It isn’t a matter of if the Jets will be selected, it is simply a matter of when they’ll announce it to the rest of the world.
2. If the Jets don’t get OBJ and get rid of Corey Davis, which wide receiver should they go acquire this offseason?
This may be a balk of an answer, but I don’t see any way that this happens. I’ve said it before, it’s OBJ or Davis at this point in the offseason. I firmly believe that.
The Jets really like Davis and he fits Nathaniel Hackett’s system as a great run blocker, but he’s also a tad bit expensive, and Allen Lazard could play the same role. So, do the Green & White need Davis? No, but they wouldn’t mind keeping him if they miss out on Odell Beckham Jr.
Having said that, I feel that they do see OBJ as a higher-ceiling talent than Davis, and would make that swap if the financials are right. I don’t think there is an option C though, it’s either roll with Davis or sign Beckham. P.S. A Randall Cobb signing doesn’t count.
Fascinating question and I think general manager Joe Douglas is always thinking. With how weak the overall free agent wide receiver class is, I’d opt for the trade market to fill that void on the roster.
For any player I’d consider, several factors would have to be evaluated: contract, age, and how much compensation it would take to land the said player.
The answers to a variety of those questions will change my tune on how motivated I am to make that proposed deal.
DeAndre Hopkins. Courtland Sutton. There are so many talented names out there that could be had.
3. Who is the best and most realistic replacement for Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd on the interior defensive line for the Jets?
After missing on Fletcher Cox and Calais Campbell in free agency, that ideal replacement may come in the draft. Now, I’m not saying take Jalen Carter at No. 13 overall amid his legal troubles. Those types of moves never work out for the Jets long-term and Joe Douglas prides himself on high character.
For those reasons, I don’t necessarily see that one happening even if he drops in the draft. It could be a second-round prospect, however (Mazi Smith is a 1-Tech DT name I like if he falls to the Jets), but I don’t really have an exact player in mind. I just know that youth could be the answer here.
The Jets have not invested a premium draft pick on the D-tackle position since Quinnen Williams, but it is still a very key position in the modern-day NFL. The best way to disrupt an elite quarterback is still pressure up the gut, and most Super Bowl champions have game-wreckers on the interior.
Unlike my partner I’d be all in on Jalen Carter at No. 13 and hell I’d even be willing to trade up for him. Sometimes you have to risk it to get the biscuit and he is arguably the best player in the entire 2023 NFL draft.
The options to me are either in April’s draft or a less sexy option built around promoting from within. Gang Green lacks true interior defensive linemen but they have plenty of versatile players that are capable of kicking inside.
We’ll have to see how the rest of the offseason plays out before we make any concrete decisions with Micheal Clemons and John Franklin-Myers jumping inside on a full-time basis. However, those are both strong options to fill the void.
Rating the Needs and Not Needs for Jets in 2023
4. What is the most underrated need on the Jets roster that people aren’t talking enough about?
Hmm, I’m not sure people aren’t talking about it but I don’t have any answer that fits the description perfectly. Instead, I’ll go with defensive tackle as an underrated need that some are talking about, but not enough.
Head coach Robert Saleh even brushed off DT at League Meetings, joking that they still have Quinnen Williams. That may be true, but I’d love for the Jets to finally pair “Big Q” with an above-average talent.
Not Solomon Thomas, not Nathan Shepherd, not Foley Fatukasi, not even Sheldon Rankins. I’ll give Gang Green some credit because they attempted to do this with Cox and Campbell, but they shouldn’t give up on adding to the position just because they failed on those two signings. This is the missing piece that the Jets need to complete this top-five defense.
I continue to pound the table for running back. Breece Hall’s injury timeline is up in the air. There is no way Ty Johnson, Michael Carter, and Zonovan ‘Bam’ Knight are good enough to carry the load on their own. They need help.
Give me a cheap veteran that has experience and will be intrigued by the number of reps he can eat at the beginning of the season as Hall is worked back in slowly. When Hall eventually returns in a healthier state he and the new running back can split the workload.
5. What is the most overrated need on the Jets roster that people are talking about but you don’t buy it?
Definitely safety, and it sounds like Saleh agrees with me. I’m not sure if Chuck Clark and Jordan Whitehead will make a top-tier safety duo, but they should get the job done inside a secondary that flaunts Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter II. This room is also much deeper than people give it credit for.
Tony Adams looked really good last year and if Clark doesn’t work out, I would love the former UDFA to get a shot at the starting gig. Will Parks is also a really solid and underrated veteran backup that could start in a pinch (although it wouldn’t be your first choice).
Then, if he makes the team, Ashtyn Davis is that fifth man and core special teamer. Sure, the Jets could add another safety in the draft, but I wouldn’t prioritize it and I certainly wouldn’t spend money on it in free agency.
After people read this take they might start grabbing torches and pitchforks but I don’t think QB2 is as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be.
If the Jets land Aaron Rodgers like many expect, you just have to hope he stays healthy. Over the last five seasons, he has only missed one game.
However, if he were to go down, let’s be honest with ourselves, the season would be over for the Jets. No backup quarterback, regardless of how good they were, would be able to have the same impact as Rodgers on the squad.
With A-Rod Gang Green is going to have Super Bowl expectations, a backup QB wouldn’t be able to fill that void.
Plus when you consider the financial investment in Zach and the logistics of it, the move makes even more sense. You might as well continue to invest and see what you have in the young man since you can’t get rid of him.