Things change quickly in the NFL, so glass-half-full Jets fans (any of you guys left?) should look at the two most recent NFC champions for hope.
In the season prior to the Carolina Panthers making Super Bowl 50, they went 7-8-1. In the season prior to the Atlanta Falcons making this most recent Super Bowl, they went 8-8 (and 4-12 the season before that). The Jets themselves went 10-6 in 2015 a year after going 4-12. So, maybe 2017 is the year they finally catch some breaks.
To put themselves in a position to exceed expectations though, there is much work to be done – particularly in free agency. Here are some of the more marquee names Gang Green could potentially target in a few weeks.
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Kirk Cousins, QB
The Jets always go into free agency pledging to be frugal, but we all know how that typically turns out. If the Jets are still the Jets and Washington allows Cousins to hit the free agent market, expect New York to make a pitch.
Cousins finished third in league in passing yards this past season and led the Redskins to the playoffs in 2015.
Odds of landing with Jets: 20-1
Martellus Bennett, TE
The Patriots traditionally allow players seeking big pay days to test the market, so Bennett will likely be available. The 30-year-old would be an excellent fit in new offensive coordinator John Morton’s scheme.
Bennett was banged up throughout the year for New England, but still managed to record a career-best seven touchdowns.
Bennett is familiar with the New York market, having played with the Giants in 2012.
Odds of landing with Jets: 15-1
Logan Ryan, CB
The last time the Jets swiped a cornerback from the Patriots in free agency it didn’t exactly turn out well as Darrelle Revis has looked like a shell of himself the past two years. The difference here with Ryan is that he’s just now entering his prime at age 26.
The Rutgers product was just as solid as Malcolm Butler throughout the Patriots’ playoff run, highlighted by a key interception against Houston in the divisional round.
Odds of landing with Jets: 10-1