It is now five years without the playoffs for these New York Jets, a team that went from media darlings and the toast of the town on Sunday morning to being labeled as the "Same Old Jets" just several hours later. A humiliating loss in a situation where they controlled their own playoff destiny will do that to you.
All is not lost for Jets fans, not by any stretch of the imagination. They did finish 10-6 (they were 4-12 a season ago) and they played meaningful football until the final week of the season (have to go back to 2010 to truly say that). So the building blocks are there for this team, they just need to put it all together.
All of which can make for an interesting offseason.
What to Expect from the Jets This Offseason:
Mo (and) Fitzmagic – Muhammad Wilkerson, the Pro Bowl defensive end and veteran journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will both be a part of this team next year. The Jets can franchise Wilkerson but a broken leg in Sunday's loss at the Buffalo Bills might let the Jets retain him at a lower price. And Fitzpatrick will be back although the Jets will likely need to offer him a multi-year deal to do so. And why shouldn't they? He had one of the best passing seasons in franchise history and his presence means that they can let last year's fourth round pick Bryce Petty sit and develop for at least one more season.
Some Tough Decisions – Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who had all of the guaranteed money in his three-year deal with the Jets this season, is likely gone. His production just does not meet the remainder of his contract and that money can be better utilized elsewhere. And there is the case of nose tackle Damon Harrison who had a fantastic season for the Jets. He is the ideal space eater in the center of the Jets line, not just consistent in his gap assignments but consistently pushing into the backfield. He will command top dollar in the open market and the Jets will need to decide if they keep 'Snacks' or let a player like Wilkerson walk. Look for the Jets to let Harrison test the free agent market. Wilkerson is a star and a building block as well as being a local kid. Would be hard to let him go.
Chris Ivory Will Not Be a Jet – Despite the first 1,000 yard rushing season of his career, Ivory still was disappointing for stretches of this season. He battled injuries for the second half of the year, something that is a concern as he's 28-years old this March and played a full season just once in his career. But after being one of the league's top rushers for chunks of this year, he's going to want more money. The Jets do have Bilal Powell on the roster, the first player re-signed by the team last offseason. And this draft has some good running back prospects, meaning that they might be able to upgrade at the position without overpaying. And since Ivory did have fumble concerns this season, it might be the right time to move on.