Jets post average PFF offseason grade until QB situation is resolved

The Jets pose the most incomplete grade at this point, as we wait to see how things play out under center.

| 4 months ago
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

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.

Conclusion

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:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 3.25.53 PM

New York Jets’ projected base offense in 2016:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 3.26.15 PM

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Jason Williams

    I’m afraid for Jets fans that the QB situation is resolved and that Gino-coaster is your 2016 QB. Eeek!

    • McGeorge

      Assumption: The Jets 2016 schedule is much harder than the 2015 schedule. With how the Jets played in 2015, they won’t be above 500 in 2016. And they lost some players.

      Scenario 1: Fitzpatrick comes back, at 8-10MM. Jets go 8-8

      Scenario 2: Geno starts. Jets might go 8-8, but probably worse, like 7-9 or 6-10. And they save 8-10MM

      8-8 vs 7-9 is meaningless. But saving 8-10MM, that can be rolled over and given to Sheldon Richardson, is worth something. In addition, there is a small chance that Geno improves, call it 15%. I’ll take Geno, since the Jets aren’t going anywhere this year anyway. Nor next year either.

      • Jason Williams

        Orrrr the jets get lucky and win a couple games they lost last year and now you’re a playoff team. Probably not a threat to win it all but would you rather be a playoff team or a top ten draft pick?

        • McGeorge

          The Jets could get lucky this year and beat Seattle and the Cardinals. They could also lose to the Bengals, Chiefs and Steelers.
          I’d rather plan for the future than try to make a wild card thats promptly knocked out.

          • Jason Williams

            Makes sense!

  • crosseyedlemon

    I don’t think the QB situation is a big deal. The addition of Forte should bolster a run game that already was very solid. The Jets just need a QB who can manage their offense the way Alex Smith does with the Chiefs.

    • bobrulz

      Fitzpatrick is that QB for the Jets. Geno Smith still needs a lot of work – the potential for improvement is still there, but I have my doubts he’ll ever be starter quality, and Hackenburg is awful. I would be mildly surprised if he even makes it to his 2nd contract in the league. Bryce Petty is a back up at best.

  • Elliott

    How is Sheldon Richardson gonna play OLB he’s like 290lbs