TOJ’s Afternoon Tea: Be Patient Jet Nation

It takes experience to get a job and a job to get experience.

For the New York Jets, it takes patience to have success, and it takes success to change the narrative. A narrative of losing has plagued this franchise for years, with the last semblance of substantial success this franchise had coming over a decade ago. For years the team’s fanbase has been told to “be patient” or “trust the process” and “hope for the best.” We’ve been sold bags of damaged goods and overpaid mightily in times of desperation on what always turns out to be fools gold.

So, why be patient? Patience has cost us season after season, and now patience has caused us to miss out on a superstar receiver in Tyreek Hill. A player so talented that it feels like the cherry on top of so many other misses by this team. The reality is that not many players want to be New York Jets right now. Why should they? The team has had two winning seasons in the last 11 years with players like Le’Veon Bell and Jamal Adams have made the public narrative even stronger that the team is full of a losing culture that lacks “dawgs.” Why should we fault Hill for making a decision we all would make if faced with equal contracts from the Dolphins and the Jets? If you polled 10 people, likely at least nine of those polled would choose no income taxes and the warm weather over living in New Jersey. Not to mention the history of incompetency being a significant undertone. The Jets missed out on Hill for the same reason they’ve missed on so many free agents and stars in the past: because they haven’t changed the narrative.

Now, the Jets have Joe Douglas: cutting his teeth in winning franchises, Douglas was an executive lauded league-wide upon his hire as a can’t miss move that should elevate the Jets. They have a highly respected head coach in Robert Saleh, and an offensive coordinator in Mike LaFleur from a coaching tree that makes you think it’s only a matter of time before he’s out the doors to be a head coach upon the smallest glimpse of life from the offense. Gone are the days of crazy eyes Adam Gase and Mike Maccaganan dropping bag after bag on free agents to try to save his behind from the hot seat. The Jets have competency: now all they need from this fanbase is patience.

Joe Douglas has swung and missed more times than today. Mekhi Becton has the jury still out, Denzel Mims looks to be a large miss, and Ashtyn Davis has struggled with being consistent and has not looked like the center fielder of the defense the team needed. The first draft class for Douglas as a whole looks largely underwhelming. Some have also said his fixation on sticking to his price points has cost the team numerous stars. With that said though, the good has begun to outweigh the bad.

Zach Wilson has far from even begun to prove himself, but he looked to get more comfortable as the season neared a close and there is at least hope he can continue that momentum with continuity this offseason and going into next season. Elijah Moore, Michael Carter III and Alijah-Verah Tucker look like home runs on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, the team added Michael Carter Jr., Brandin Echols and Bryce Hall to the secondary in the past two drafts. Douglas has found some diamonds amidst the rough and there is hope within his past few classes as we move towards this year’s class.

In free agency, the lack of big moves has annoyed some, but the Jets have swung big the past two years and look poised to field more star power heading into next season then in recent years. EDGE Carl Lawson returns after inking a monster deal last offseason and then spending the season on the sidelines with injury. WR Corey Davis had his moments, but with a potential other receiver addition, likely in the draft, the Jets hope it will take the pressure off and allow him to regain some of his success that he had in his last two seasons in Tennessee. This off-season, they added OL Laken Tomlinson, S Jordan Whitehead, CB DJ Reed, TE CJ Uzomah and TE Tyler Conklin, while bringing back WR Braxton Berrios. These are all players who figure to be starters or key contributors next season.

Douglas has been adamant on bringing guys in who want to be New York Jets and not just guys looking to cash in and check out upon their arrival. He has looked for high character and high upside additions. His draft strategy of targeting captains has gotten borderline predictable, but it’s the right mentality. Douglas is trying to find leaders of men. He is trying to find players that have been foreign to this franchise for over a decade: potential winners.

On days like today it stinks. It stinks to watch other teams make big moves and watch the Jets come so close, but fall short. Sure, they did all they could to land Hill, but past failures are still hard to erase and now the team will face him twice a year rather than having him in their own locker room. Until the team changes the culture, and truly stays steadfast in being patient, this will continue to happen.

Signing stop gaps like Lev Bell and Trumaine Johnson has worked poorly for this franchise. Trading for high profile players hasn’t worked out either: just look back to Tim Tebow ten years ago. The team has, for so long, tried to put Flex Seal on the holes causing the ship to sink. Instead, Joe Douglas let the ship sink. Now, he’s trying to rebuild it, and all he needs is time.

Sure, he could make me look like an idiot in no time, and that’s a risk I take. It’s a harsh reality of the situation, that results get rewarded and failure gets the pink slip. Right now, Douglas needs some results, but until that happens, the team and this fanbase needs to be patient and wait for the plan to come to fruition. If it fails once it reaches that point, then we are back at square one. For a franchise that has been full of ineptitude though, why not change it up and be patient, see if the rebuild can work.

I know it’s tiring, I know I’m the bad guy for saying this, but a lack of patience got this team here. A lack of sitting back and instead rushing to try to expedite the process got the team here. To change the narrative around this franchise won’t be easy, it feels damn near impossible at points, but patience is key.

TOJ Running Free Agency Blog for the New York Jets

As the tampering window “opens” (let’s be clear, it’s been open for weeks), we will drop takes on rumors and signings that don’t become official for a few days right here. The hope is that no one is Anthony Barr’d, but we ride anyway! Bookmark to follow the free agency period.

March 16th, 9:14 AM: The Jets haven’t signed anybody yet as of this morning, which means Joe Douglas must be fired. Just kidding, friends. Here’s some guys still available that Douglas could target, and this list might as well be titled “Guys DA has wanted since writing for TOJ”: 1. Allen Robinson: if the Jets want a veteran in the wide receiver room, Allen Robinson could be the guy they pivot to. There are questions about whether he still has anything left or whether last year was because of his disinterest in remaining in Chicago. I think it is the former, but this signing would probably confirm that the Jets will go corner with one of their top 10 picks. #NotIdeal 2. Jadeveon Clowney: DraftSZN’s Joe Belic has consistently reminded us that the Niners deployed a bigger edge opposite their pass rushers in order to ensure they could successfully stop the run while also getting to the QB. Jadeveon Clowney has settled in nicely as that big edge who can stop the run while also getting to the QB (has had at least 9 sacks in 3 seasons). There was a rumor that the Jets had entered the Chandler Jones sweepstakes, but that felt an awful lot like a “teams aren’t rushing to make my client an offer so let me throw the Jets out there” kind of news. Clowney could be a target to both improve their terrible run defense and provide some juice on pass rushing situations. 3. Melvin Ingram: if the focus is to ignore the bad run defense and add a guy that can just rush the passer, then Melvin Ingram could be the guy. With the Jets losing Foley Fatukasi, it could stand to reason that you will see more of John Franklyn Myers inside next to Quinnen Williams with Sheldon Rankins potentially playing the main depth tackle role. That does leave an opening for Kayvon Thibadeaux opposite Carl Lawson, but what if you could put a front four of Lawson, Williams, Thibadeaux, and Ingram on passing downs? Robert Saleh did this alot with the 49ers where he moved Arik Armstead inside next to Deforest Buckner and had Dee Ford with his hand in the dirt. 4. Maxx Williams: the Jets added CJ Uzomah to be their TE1, but everything we’ve heard says they’re not done at TE yet. Could they take a swing at OJ Howard? Hayden Hurst? Or will they opt for a more blocking TE with some pass catching production in the form of Maxx Williams? The name of the game this offseason on offense has been to improve the mentality of this team, and they did that by adding two bullies in Laken Tomlinson and Uzomah. Maxx Williams fits that moniker as a blocker. Improving the run blocking will only increase Michael Carter’s productivity, which will help Zach Wilson in the playaction game. Williams could go a long way towards helping that. 5. JC Tretter: look, sometimes players are released that really have no business being released. JC Tretter is one of them. He allowed one sack last year on 1078 snaps. Connor McGovern isn’t it up front. Adding Tretter and Tomlinson to this offensive line would immediately take this unit from a potentially good unit to a potentially great unit. If Fant plays how he played last year, and AVT takes a step? Zach Wilson could build a nightclub in Florham Park with how much time he will have. Cut McGovern, net the $9M in savings, and get this done. -DO

March 16th, 8:40 AM: The Jets have made four large additions to the roster, and now redirect their attention towards depth and bringing back their own. They began that with Berrios, Coleman and Shepherd. Now, according to Brian Costello, interior offensive lineman Dan Feeney will return to the team on a one year deal next season. Feeney, known for his fantastic mullet and chugging beers at Islander games, also has a mean streak and proved to be another strong player as a depth piece on the line last season.-DP

March 15th, 8:45 PM: The Jets have now resigned defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd. Shepherd now becomes the first player to earn a second contract from the Mike Maccagnan era. Shepherd has become a consistent piece of the defensive line rotation, last season he appeared in all 17 games, racking up 28 tackles with eight pressures. Shepherd remains a mainstay from the previous regime, while continuing to provide depth to the line of the current regime.-DP

March 15th, 3:03 PM:  Connor Hughes has reported that the New York Jets have inked former Seattle Seahawks corner D.J. Reed to a three year, 33 million dollar deal. Reed ranked in the top ten in PFF coverage grading, and finished the season with 78 tackles and two interceptions. His ball skills are stronger than arguably any defensive back on the roster, he has familiarity with both the scheme and Saleh himself, plus, he’s well versed in man and zone coverage. At only 25 years old, Reed is a big addition to a defense that ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass defense, and figures to slot in as a starter immediately.-DP

March 15th, 5:10 PM: According to Rich Cimini, Jordan Whitehead, a safety from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has agreed to join the Jets on a two year 14.5 million dollar deal. Whitehead is a good fit for the team as he is about to freshly turn 25, is a superb athlete and excels in both run defense and pass defense. Last season, Whitehead posted 73 tackles, two interceptions and 5.0 TFLs. Similar to Reed, Whitehead will be entrusted to help elevate one of the worst defenses in the NFL.-DP

March 14th: 7:00pm: The Jets have a new TE! Adam Schefter reported the Jets have agreed to terms with CJ Uzomah formerly of the Bengals for 3 years $24MM. I’ve always liked CJ and wanted the Jets to go after him if the big fish TE were to be tagged. Uzomah is never going to be a 1k yard receiver but he’s a great target in the red zone and can block. He was also beloved in the Cincinnati locker room. This is the type of guy to help instill a winning culture (coming off a SB appearance). Pair CJ with a guy like Ruckert or McBride in the draft and you got yourself a solid TE corps for Zach Wilson in year 2. -SZ

March 14th, 2:50 PM: Berrios is back in the green and white! Receiver and kick returner Braxton Berrios is back with the Jets on a two year 12 million dollar deal with 7 million guaranteed. Berrios was the one constant as the receiver room dealt with injuries for the entirety of the season. Berrios posted 46 receptions for 431 yards and five total touchdowns. He’s a consistent weapon and safety net for Zach Wilson, a good locker room guy and someone who will continue to produce on special teams. For the Jets, this always made sense if the price was right and in this case, six million dollars a year was the right price for Joe Douglas to bring Berrios back.-DP

March 14th, 2:45 PM: The Jets are on the board! According to Adam Schefter, the New York Jets have agreed to terms with Pro Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson on a three year 40 million dollar deal with 27 million guaranteed. Tomlinson has missed only one game in his career, and it was due to not having enough time to get ready to play after being traded from the Lions to the 49ers a few years ago. Tomlinson is durable and consistent, a mauler and will solidify the guard position for the Jets alongside AVT. Tomlinson is reportedly going to be swapping sides from left to right in order to accommodate for AVT.-DP

p>March 14th, 11:20AM: Another Connor Hughes tweet regarding a potential Jets target. Scherff would be a tremendous upgrade to the interior of this Jets offensive line. He is one of the best offensive guards in football. The issue with him has always been health as he rarely has played a full season in his 6 year career. I think a 1 year deal would be a great move by JD but he probably will be looking for 3-4 years. -SZ

March 14th, 7:54 AM: Connor Hughes had this tweet this morning regarding the Jets and who they may be all in on this off-season. Keep in mind: there have been no leaks out of Florham Park since Joe Douglas took over, and there’s no way to know if the Jets really were interested in someone who ends up somewhere else, but it gives an interesting perspective if true.-DO

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