With the NFL season officially over, New York Jets fans will try to erase the image of seeing Joe Namath hand deliver the Lombardi Trophy to the arch-rival New England Patriots and focus on an offseason that is filled with promise.
The Jets are expected to be major players on the market this winter as they have enough cap space to pursue almost any target they deem fit for the organization, whether it’s through free agency or a trade.
One of the main objectives is to surround second-year quarterback Sam Darnold with reliable, All-Pro level talent to help further develop the USC product who many tab as the second coming of Joe Namath.
Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams has already started the recruitment of free-agent rusher Le’Veon Bell, who is one of the top dual-threat backs in the league. While he looks for a contract near that pays $17 million per year, the Jets are tabbed as the early favorites to sign Bell once free agency begins on Mar. 14.
It provides an immediate upgrade from the tandem of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell, the latter sustaining a neck injury that was originally believed to be career threatening.
While much of the focus is on Bell, Darnold’s outside threats in the terms of wide receivers do not exactly instill much confidence for the young quarterback.
Robby Anderson has become a surprising outside threat, Jermaine Kearse adds a veteran presence in the slot, while Quincy Enunwa hasn’t played a full season since 2016. Neither carry No. 1 receiver capabilities nor have they proven to be reliable enough for Darnold.
The biggest name that comes to the forefront is Bell’s former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Antonio Brown, who is headed for an unceremonious split with his current team. Gang Green has enough trade assets to pique Pittsburgh’s interest and has the cap space to take his contract completely off the Steelers’ books.
There will be questions of whether or not the Jets should introduce that kind of personality into the team’s locker room seeing how he fractured things in Pittsburgh. He was also reportedly involved in a domestic dispute on Tuesday in Miami, but not arrested.
If the Jets are looking for another option, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano noted on Monday night that the Jets could try and make a move for Cincinnati Bengals star receiver AJ Green. While he recovers from a toe injury that required surgery, the seven-time Pro Bowler has a potential out in his contract this offseason.
While he’s said in the past that he wants to remain in Cincinnati, the firing of Marvin Lewis could shake things up a bit. So it’s something to keep an eye on.