Jets post average PFF offseason grade until QB situation is resolved
The Jets’ offseason has been one overshadowed by a single storyline: An ongoing game of chicken between the franchise and last year’s starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, over the value of the veteran signal-caller. Against that recurring headline story, the Jets have hit the reset button in their offensive backfield around the quarterback position while bidding farewell to key members of both their offensive and defensive lines. Ultimately, the Jets’ offseason grade is still largely incomplete until the Fitzpatrick saga is brought to an end, but right now, the Jets’ offseason sits on a solid C grade, refreshing the talent on the team as much as they’ve added or taken away from it.
Below is a compilation of the New York Jets’ 2016 offseason transactions, including free-agency moves and draft picks:
Offseason grade: C
Free agency and trades
New arrivals: RB Matt Forte, OT Ryan Clady (trade), NT Steve McLendon, CB Darryl Morris, DE Jarvis Jenkins, RS Jeremy Ross, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, and LB Bruce Carter
Re-signings: DE Muhammad Wilkerson (franchise tag), RB Bilal Powell, LB Erin Henderson, OL Ben Ijalana, TE Zach Sudfeld, and TE Kellen Davis
Departures: NT Damon Harrison, RB Chris Ivory, OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson (retired), CB Darrin Walls, WR Jeremy Kerley, RB Stevan Ridley, P Ryan Quigley, S Antonio Allen, TE Jeff Cumberland, and LB Demario Davis
The two unresolved stories from the Jets’ free-agent travails of 2016 is the lack of a long-term deal for Muhammad Wilkerson, and the lack of any deal for the still unsigned Ryan Fitzpatrick; a resolution to either deal will put the Jets in a position to build on their promising 2015 campaign. Around those two mysteries, the Jets made a largely like-for-like moves in the free agent and trade markets. A healthy Ryan Clady would provide an upgrade on the D’Brickashaw Ferguson we saw in the final year of his career. Matt Forte offers a different style of back to Chris Ivory, with a downgrade in tackle-breaking ability, but an upgrade in skills in the passing game. The biggest loss in terms of play quality was nose tackle Damon Harrison, where former Steeler Steve McLendon will need to show more consistency to come close to matching the production the Jets have lost to their New York rivals.
2016 NFL draft
- Round 1 (pick No.20) Darron Lee, ILB, Ohio State
- Round 2 (pick No.51) Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
- Round 3 (pick No.83) Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
- Round 4 (pick No.118) Juston Burris, CB, NC State
- Round 5 (pick No.158 from WAS) Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
- Round 7 (pick No. 235 from LA via HOU and DEN) Lachlan Edwards, P, Sam Houston State
- Round 7 (pick No.241) Charone Peake, WR, Clemson
The Jets were bold with their first two selections, going for the athleticism of Lee at linebacker and the unrefined tools of Hackenberg at quarterback in the second round; did the unresolved Fitzpatrick situation play its part in the Jets reaching for Hackenberg in Round 2 after back-to-back underwhelming seasons for Penn State? After their aggressive, trait-based selections in the first, the Jets added solid contributors in the middle rounds. Jordan Jenkins was overshadowed by Leonard Floyd at Georgia, but he was a quality—and potentially game-winning—performer in his own rights, as he showed against Vanderbilt in 2015 and Tennessee in 2014. Fourth-round pick Burris could be the hidden gem in the class, having surrendered just 321 yards for N.C. State last season; his 0.71 yards per coverage snap placed him ninth in the draft class in that metric.
This was an offseason for the Jets to turn over the roster in head coach Todd Bowles’ image, while not allowing any gaps to emerge. Resolution to Wilkerson’s long-term future, and in particular, Fitzpatrick’s short-term future would add security for a roster that is still well-placed to build on its 2015 success, regardless of an offseason largely spent matching an acquisition for a loss in free agency. The strength of this roster is still at wide receiver (making the quarterback conundrum all the more pressing) and the defensive line, where Harrison’s loss can be managed by the fact that even a career-high 577 snaps a year ago only saw him play just over 50 percent of the Jets’ defensive snaps. With Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and Sheldon Richardson powering this defensive front, the Jets’ defense will still be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
New York Jets’ projected base defense in 2016:
New York Jets’ projected base offense in 2016: