I don’t like, I LOVE what the Jets are doing. Let all the pundits around the country mock and laugh about the Jets roster. Let them joke that the Jets season is already over. Pay them no mind because the Jets will get the last laugh.
There is gold at the end of this journey. Let me explain.
I get it wasn’t the perfect timing to let go of a stalwart linebacker like David Harris. It was a stunning move especially after the 10-year veteran had participated at OTAs and even met with the media on Tuesday after practice. He was owed $6.5 million dollars in the final year of his contract and the money was not guaranteed. They reportedly tried to work down that number, but talks broke down and they cut Harris. Were they being fair to Harris? No, not at all, but fair has nothing to do with it. They no longer valued him as a $6.5 million dollar per year player and made the decision to move on.
They should have treated him better. Harris has been a good Jets off the field and a really productive player on the field. He deserved better, for sure. They could have cut him earlier in the off-season which would have provided some options for him in free agency.
With that being said, the Jets realized they can be bad with Harris and can be just as bad or even worse without him. So, why not save some money in the process. Same thing rings true for whenever the Eric Decker situation resolves itself. The Jets are deciding to part ways with talented players, but are Harris and potentially Decker difference makers? At this stage of their careers, the answer to that question is no. They will also not be part of the long-term solution, either. So there ultimately is no point in moving forward with either player.
The Jets can be 2-14 with them or 1-15 without them, they are now competing for something else. It is not about the playoffs and the playoffs were never a reality in 2017 anyway.
The Jets have embraced it and so should we, they are going to be really bad next year. The reason they have embraced and you should too is that next year represents a strong draft class at the QB position with USC’s Sam Darnold topping the list. Now he can elect to stay in college after this season, but not many players would come back when you are expected to be the top overall selection.
When you don’t have a franchise quarterback, it is next to impossible to win consistently in the NFL. You search each and every season trying to find THAT guy to be THE guy for your squad. When you have a player with the ability of Darnold, it makes sense to take the hit for a season in order to hopefully set your team up for the next 10 seasons. He represents a franchise quarterback and the Jets do not have one.
This is not a case of Mitchell Trubisky when you are trying to convince yourself that he is a franchise quarterback. There is not much disagreement on the talent level of Darnold. He is great and his arm is ridiculous.
Just check out his Rose Bowl performance against Penn State this past season. That was his way of saying ‘hello’ to America. When you have that caliber of player potentially available, you ‘tank’. It worked for the Colts with Andrew Luck. Are Colts fans complaining about that ‘lost’ season when they have Luck lining under center? They do not.
I know that might be tough to swallow if you are a season ticket holder and are invested financially and emotionally in this organization. After all, we are all taught from a very young age to never say never. You always need to compete and you can never give up.
All of that motivational jargon does play when, or should I say if, I am at the gym trying to get myself going on the treadmill to work up a sweat. In reality, you need to be fair and realistic and look at your team without drinking the Kool-aid and be honest in realizing what you are and what you are not.
For general manager Mike Maccagnan, I think he has done that when looking at his Jets roster. Quite simply, they are not a good football team. The team outlook can change with a franchise signal caller and Darnold represents that guy.
Maccagnan can say that tanking is not the Jets focus in 2017, but actions do speak louder than words and their actions say otherwise. Darnold represents hope and the Jets need to do whatever they can to get him. If that means being as bad as they can possibly be, so be it.
Suck for Sam I say. I love it.