It is a few weeks away but there will be football this month. Before you hit the beach for the 4th, let’s review what to buy and what to sell for the New York Jets…
The player who should be projected to lead the Jets in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and has a reasonable chance to have his first 1,000 yard season, if Sam Darnold plays 16 games. Anderson’s usage should be more diversified than it was under Jeremy “Walkabout” Bates. There is no reason Anderson can’t have a slightly improved version of the season Kenny Stills had under Gase in 2017 (58 receptions, 847 yards, 6 touchdowns), particularly now that he will have Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder opposite of him on the outside (nevermind Le’Veon Bell in the backfield) rather than the collection of receivers/backs he had with in December of last year after Enunwa was hurt. Anderson will go lower than he should in your fantasy draft, take advantage.
SELL: MO CLAIBORNE AS A CORNERBACK ANSWER
Many Jets fans are clamoring for the Jets to bring back still available free agent cornerback Morris Claiborne to boost the currently terrifying depth chart at the position. There is a valid case to be made that he would improve the depth situation somewhat but the gap between him and Daryl Roberts isn’t as massive as some think and there is reason Claiborne is still unsigned. Even with the theoretical addition of Claiborne, the Jets biggest problem of having a “meh” number two corner opposite a major question mark at “number one” corner (cough, cough Trumaine Johnson) isn’t going away, either is the reality that slot corner is likely to be comparable to what it was last year. Signing Claiborne to a veteran minimum deal doesn’t bring any risk but also isn’t clearing up arguably the biggest problem on the current roster.
Adams made a healthy jump on the field from year one to year two, netting himself second team All-Pro recognition. He did this despite mostly playing with backups next to him at safety and an average front seven in front of him. This season he will ideally have Marcus Maye back as his running mate for the bulk of the season and will also have a notable increase of talent in front of him with the addition of CJ Mosley and Quinnen Williams. Adams is going to be good in whatever scheme plays in, whether it is coming from Todd Bowles or Gregg Williams, but with more talent around him he should be in position to make more big plays and have a few more interceptions/fumbles bounce his way, further inflating an already impressive stat line. Adams can still get better and further push from being in the discussion as one of the best safeties in the NFL to a first team All-Pro who is widely recognized as the best player at his position.
SELL: ROOKIE PASS RUSH SAVIORS
Until the Jets selected Jachai Polite in the third round of the NFL Draft, they sat out the edge market this offseason. On the defensive line, first round pick Quinnen Williams will be counted on to help with the interior pass rush and make life easier for the returning Henry Anderson and Leonard Williams. Polite was a worthwhile swing/risk in the third round and has a fascinating ceiling long term but counting on him to immediately be a full time player and threatening double digit sacks is naive. While expectations are rightly higher for Williams, he is still a 21 year old rookie who will be working through rotational reps with the other Williams, Anderson and Steve McLendon while adjusting to the pro game. It is far from inconceivable that Quinnen has a rookie season comparable to the one we saw from Leonard or from Muhammad Wilkerson back in 2011. Basically, it is probably misguided to assume a rookie is going to lead the Jets in sacks or be the reason in 2019 the team finally has somebody over 10 sacks.
The Jets were bad at running back last season, particularly over the final 6-7 games of the year. They left yards on the field. They dropped passes. They were inconsistent in pass protection. They fumbled the ball away. Many seem to have forgotten but Le’Veon Bell was arguably the best back in the NFL the last time he was on a football field during the 2017-2018 season. It is fair to wonder if he immediately regains his old form but it is insane to think he won’t provide a massive upgrade of talent and offensive flexibility to Sam Darnold and the offense. Beyond that, the Jets added a hybrid receiver/running back Ty Montgomery as depth, who is basically a rich man’s version of what they had in Elijah McGuire and were able to bring back Bilal Powell as further insurance below him on the depth chart. Powell was the Jets best back the past few years and is now their third best…a positive step for the overall depth.
SELL: ADAM GASE THE GENIUS
There was a reason that the overwhelming majority of Jets fans had no interest in Adam Gase as a Head Coach pick in early January and why they were skeptical of the hire when it happened. Since then, Gase ousted incompetent GM Mike Maccagnan and is entering his grace period with fans where they have now fully rationalized the hire as a stroke of genius. Gase still hasn’t a coached a game since his team was wiped three straight weeks by three bad teams to end the 2018 season. This paragraph is not meant to say he cannot learn and improve from his Miami experience. It is meant to say we have no tangible proof he has and until he proves otherwise, he is a 23-25 Head Coach who was 13-19 the past two years. The three biggest question marks in the Jets organization right now after a very encouraging offseason are Head Coach, offensive line and cornerback…