It won’t be playoffs or bust this year for the New York Jets, who will be eyeing up something more than just wins and losses or the postseason when judging head coach Todd Bowles. What would be a fifth year with the Jets in 2019 doesn’t rest solely on making the playoffs for him.
There is no playoff mandate in place for Bowles from Jets management or ownership, so a source tells Metro New York. The future of Bowles, currently heading into his fourth season with the Jets, won’t hinge on making the postseason, a streak of playoff misses that is already seven years long. The source within the organization, speaking on the condition of anonymity, says that any judgment of the season won’t be done with a predetermined criterion such as the Jets having to make the playoffs.
“There is no playoff mandate coming down on Todd,” the source told Metro New York. “It isn’t playoffs or he’s gone. Everyone from the top down understands that this is still part of a rebuilding phase. It is a process and patience is needed. Growth and development has to be seen before wins become the ultimate judge.”
While the Jets were active this offseason, they didn’t spend much and didn’t go heavy after star power. Instead, general manager Mike Maccagnan and Bowles targeted certain veteran pickups to supplement a roster that went 4-12 last year.
The source believes that “the Jets will be better” but said that it isn’t just about making the playoffs.
They head into next offseason with likely $100 million in salary cap space. Then, it is likely the Jets become playoff contenders and the criteria for judging Bowles’ job performance will chance.
“[They] need to improve on the field, yes, but the foundation had to get better. There’s now been a few really good drafts that have yielded some pieces to build around. There is a quarterback now that you hope will solidify that position. There’s cap flexibility next year,” the source said. “To think that this team magically jumps in win totals and is a playoff team this year - that isn’t the ultimate judge. At the end of the year, you look and ask if ‘Things are improving? Are they going in the right direction? Is there a sense that the Jets took a step forward?’ Yes, you want to see more wins, you want the playoff [drought] to end. But you look to see if something is being built and that is what Todd and ultimately Mike will be judged on.”
Since Maccagnan and Bowles joined the Jets three years ago, the team has gone a combined 20-28. They never made the playoffs and had just one winning season in 2015 when they went 10-6. That was the first year the team was under the control of Maccagnan and Bowles.
In that year, they were just a game short of making the playoffs, losing to the Buffalo Bills in the regular season finale.