New York Jets Continue Offseason Overhaul

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Paul Smyth, Maroon-News Staff

The New York Jets had an abysmal 2014 season. Gang Green finished 4-12 and in last place in the AFC East division. The trying season resulted in in a complete front office overhaul with the firing of head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik. Former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was tapped as Ryan’s successor and former Houston Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnan was hired as the new GM. Bowles, Maccagnan and team owner Woody Johnson must rebuild this team into a squad that can compete in a division that has been dominated by the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in recent years.

The biggest addition for the Jets this offseason has been the signing of coveted free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis. Revis signed a five year, $70 million deal with $39 million guaranteed. Revis returns home to the team that drafted him with the 14th pick in the 2007 draft and where he played until 2012. Revis played one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before joining the Patriots in 2014 where he helped lead the stingy defense to a Super Bowl title. The four-time All-Pro is arguably the best cornerback in the league and will need to bring Revis Island back to New York if the Jets want to be competitive in 2015. 

To further bolster a secondary that was one of the worst in the league last season, the Jets signed cornerback Buster Skrine and safety Marcus Gilchrist. The Jets also added former Arizona Cardinal Antonio Cromartie who will play opposite of Revis in the secondary just as the duo did from 2010-2012 with the Jets. On paper, this secondary is one of the best in the NFL and paired with a great front seven, this defense will be one that can compete with any team in the league.

The New York Jets also hit the trade market this season and added former Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The Jets traded their fifth-round 2015 draft selection for Marshall and the Bears’ seventh round pick. By doing so, the Jets added a true No. 1 wide receiver who will be able to provide a great offensive threat for whoever is at quarterback this season. Speaking of quarterback, the Jets also acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick from the Houston Texans for a late-round conditional pick. Fitzpatrick will compete with third-year QB Geno Smith. Smith has been wildly inconsistent in his first two years as a starter, showing flashes of greatness coupled with many head scratching moments. Fitzpatrick will compete with Smith for the starting quarterback job this season.

The only silver lining from the awful 4-12 season was that the Jets will receive the sixth overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Early expert projections predicted the Jets to select former Oregon University quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota led the Ducks to the National Championship game this past season while claiming the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the national player of the year in the process. But Mariota disappointed scouts in his pro-day and was outplayed by former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston at the NFL combine. Winston will likely be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the first overall pick.

If the Jets choose not to select a quarterback at No. 6, look for the team to possibly go with standout linebacker Randy Gregory from Nebraska. Gregory is no doubt one of the players in this draft with an extremely high upside but his off the field troubles are certainly concerning. Gregory tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine this past month and said that he has been struggling with the urges to smoke pot throughout his college career. But, the Jets do not need Gregory to be a team leader or a locker room presence, they just need him to get after the quarterback and he is the best member of this 2015 class at doing just that. If the Jets don’t select Mariota or Gregory, look for the team to go after wide receiver Amari Cooper out of Alabama to add yet another weapon to this rebuilding offense.

The New York Jets are well on their way to building a team that, on paper, can compete with any team in the league. But the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins both got better this offseason and will also look to challenge the Patriots for the AFC East division crown. Either way, Gang Green is building a team that will surprise a lot of doubters this season … and they’re not done yet.