The Jets decided to go all in on Ryan Fitzpatrick this year after he led Todd Bowles’ side to a 10-6 record in 2015 – but were made to regret that call after a disappointing campaign. New York finished fourth in the AFC East, losing 11 of their 16 regular season fixtures, the sixth worst record in football. It may seem harsh to place all of the blame on Fitzpatrick’s poor form at the quarterback position but that’s the way the NFL is…
At the end of the day, this is still a quarterback league and Fitzpatrick’s stat line makes for ugly reading whichever way you look at it. In 2016, the Jets man, who signed a one-year deal in July 2016, threw just 12 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions. In addition, his completion percentage was just 56.6% and he averaged a measly 193.6 yards per game; and you won’t win many football games with stats like that.
With Fitzpatrick on his way out of MetLife Stadium and Geno Smith also out of contract, the Jets now have a choice to make: go big on a quarterback early on in the draft or look to sign one in free agency. According to reports, Mike Glennon could be available. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers man isn’t much of an upgrade at the position but his experience could prove useful if the Jets acquire a quarterback for the future in the draft.
First things first, New York must focus on rebuilding their offensive line. The Jets struggled to protect the quarterback throughout the season and re-signing right guard Brian Winters will be one of their top priorities ahead of free agency. At 25 years old, he is still young and has shown enough improvement to suggest that he can be a reliable option at the position.
Just look at the New England Patriots for instance. Bill Belichick’s men protect Tom Brady better than anybody else in the NFL and that is why they are so successful. The Patriots, priced at 8/13 to win the Super Bowl with Betway, will claim a fifth ring if they beat Dan Quinn’s Atlanta Falcons next month – and it would be fair to say that most Jets fans will be cheering Matt Ryan and co on in that one.
Unfortunately, the salary cap figures show that the Jets are right on the cusp and general manager Mike Maccagnan may need to make some tough decisions to open space ahead of the new season. Brandon Marshall is one of those players walking a tightrope; partly down to his actions last year but also due to the financial situation.
Marshall has made a mixed time of it since joining the Jets organisation. If you exclude his phenomenal 2016 campaign, the 32-year-old has failed to top 800 yards during his time in New York and 11 touchdowns over two seasons just isn’t enough. With a £7.5 million contract and no dead money, his job could be on the line. His rifts in the locker room with key personalities on the Jets roster certainly won’t help his chances of staying with the franchise.
There’s only one thing for Jets fans to do now: brush themselves off and go again. With the right draft strategy and free agency pickups, this New York side has the potential to climb the AFC rankings. 2016 wasn’t our year but Bowles will have the Jets raring to go ahead of what could be a memorable 2017 campaign for all the right reasons.
Photo via Keith Allison