Alright, Jets fans, it is time we come off the ledge you have found yourself on after the Jets went into Los Angeles and beat the then-NFC West leading Rams 23-20. This win moved the Jets from pole position on the Trevor Lawrence Expressway to the dreaded 2nd pick where *gasp* the choice isn’t as easy. There are still two games left for both the Jaguars and Jets, and A LOT of Jets fans believe it is over and there’s no way the Jags win a game now. The same Jets fans who just saw the Rams lay an egg before mounting a spirited come back (that they were one hold away from completing, mind you) suddenly believe that Mitch Trubisky cannot lose a game.
Let’s put aside the “what ifs” for a minute and look into a future that has the Jets picking 2nd at years end. Joe Douglas would enter his first head coaching search with the following in tow, to start: an estimated $81.7M in cap space, a franchise left tackle in Mehki Becton, an All-Pro at DT in Quinnen Williams, a stud at WR in Denzel Mims, your Center signed for the next two years, a returning CJ Mosley, and a very good safety in Marcus Maye locked up before you walk into the building. You, also, get to pitch this new Head Coach on the opportunity to hire their own staff and the fact that they get to work with you under an owner in Woody Johnson who is better at this than his brother and who will open up the checkbook and get out of the way. This is before you even mention the 2nd pick overall, 26th pick overall, 33rd pick overall, 66th pick overall, 90th pick overall, and 97th pick overall: that’s right, FIVE picks in the top 100 this year and two firsts in 2022. You sell this new coach on your first draft class, which netted not just the two aforementioned pieces but building blocks like Ashtyn Davis and Bryce Hall in the secondary.
In this scenario, you can tell your new Head Coach they don’t get a shot at Trevor Lawrence but they can still pick out of the other QBs should they so choose or we can trade the pick and run it back with an inconsistent Sam Darnold entering year four. If Sam doesn’t cut it in their system, you have acquired the draft ammunition to aim for a QB in 2022. Because of the six-year contract you signed, you can also assure your new Head Coach that you are in this together. That’s how you sell a top coach, like a Matt Campbell or a Bill Cowher, on coming to New York and rebuilding the Jets with you.
Matt Rhule was the Head Coach a bunch of Jets fans wanted, and the Panthers were able to get him without the number one pick. Rhule was willing to come here to work with Mike Maccagnan, a terrible General Manager who signed off on the hire of Adam Gase. Everybody scoffed at the Giants for hiring Joe Judge, and they are somehow playing for a division title (and just beat the Seahawks a couple of weeks ago with their backup QB) in Judge’s first year. The Jets were in the running for Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury while having the third pick in the draft and probably get him if Maccagnan okays trading Sam Darnold and drafting Kyler Murray. The Bills were able to hire NFL Coach of the Year Sean McDermott despite not picking first overall and not really having a lot of hope in Buffalo: three years later, they’re the division champions in the AFC East and found their franchise QB.
The Miami Dolphins hired Brian Flores away from New England despite not having the first pick in the draft and, two years after #TankForTua swept up South Beach in a fan frenzy, the Dolphins are most likely headed to the playoffs with their franchise QB and are positioned as Buffalo’s biggest threat to the division going forward.
There will be a lot of talk about how the Jets have the least desirable Head Coaching job in the NFL. Never mind that the Houston Texans, despite having Deshaun Watson, have a terrible owner, 5th lowest cap space entering the 2021 offseason, and no first round pick this year. Never mind that the Atlanta Falcons have an aging roster and no GM right now. As of right now, the Jaguars represent the biggest threat to the Jets in terms of the title of most desirable job because they have offensive weapons, the league’s most cap space entering 2021, and they have the first pick as of this writing. However, the owner and owner’s son have clashed with star players on social media and want to move the team to London, no GM has been hired so you don’t know who you’d be working with as a Head Coach, and your OL is in shambles.
There is still a lot of football left, but the Jets are not in as bad shape as folks think they are because they’re currently picking 2nd. It is still a desirable job, and getting the Head Coach right is arguably more important right now than whoever the QB is because a bad Head Coach will derail most promising players.
Let’s let things play out.
Oh, and leave Mehki Becton’s mom alone.