AFC East offseason review: Jets hoping short-term pain will mean long-term gain - The Buffalo News
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AFC East offseason review: Jets hoping short-term pain will mean long-term gain

This is the last of a three-part series examining how the rest of the AFC East fared during the offseason. Today's installment looks at the New York Jets.

Let the painful process begin. You want to get good? First, you'd better get bad. Really, really bad.

At least, that's what the New York Jets believe is the best way to eventually end a playoff drought that stretched to six seasons after last year's 5-11 finish.

Showing the door to 11 veterans -- including some who rank among the best to ever wear one of their uniforms -- this offseason would seem to help take care of the making-them-bad part.

Whether the desired result of having a record poor enough for the Jets to land the top overall pick in next year's NFL Draft and their choice of one of the members of a highly touted quarterback class is anyone's guess.

What's for certain is that they'll have plenty of cap room in 2018, about $80 million worth, and will rely heavily on a roster loaded with young players for the foreseeable future. That's quite a change from 2015, when the Jets paid $168 million to five players. That included cornerback Darrelle Revis, one of the prominent names in this year's purging.

Media in New York and others around the league are calling it a classic tank, even if no one in the team's hierarchy would ever acknowledge as much.

Here's the breakdown on the Jets:

Key additions: QB Josh McCown (FA, Cleveland), CB Morris Claiborne (FA, Dallas), LT Kelvin Beachum (FA, Jacksonville), S Jamal Adams and K Chandler Catanzaro (FA, Arizona).

Key losses: LB David Harris, WR Eric Decker, CB Darrelle Revis, C Nick Mangold, WR Brandon Marshall, T Ryan Clady, T Breno Giacomini and K Nick Folk.

Better, worse or the same?: Much worse.

Perhaps the Jets went too far in dumping Harris (who has since joined the New England Patriots) and Decker (who has since signed with the Tennessee Titans). Harris is 33 and has lost a step or two, but he still was a leader and did an excellent job of calling defensive signals. Decker, 30, had health issues and landed on the Jets' injured-reserve list last October with a shoulder injury.

But the $14 million in cap savings the Jets gained from dumping Harris and Decker might have been worth sacrificing to make the roster transition a tad less harsh.

Todd Bowles, entering his third and possibly final season as head coach, is going to have a heck of a time motivating players who see the organization's lack of commitment to winning, at least in the short term.

The Jets don't have a long-term solution at quarterback. If they did, they wouldn't have taken such radical steps to try to get one. But they do need to line up someone behind center, and that most likely will be the 38-year-old McCown. He struggles to stay healthy and has been on nine previous NFL teams since 2002, surviving mainly on his game-management skills.

Then, again, going with one of two developmental quarterbacks on the roster, Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty, would probably do more to increase the chances of bottoming out. And who knows? Maybe Hackenberg, a second-round pick last year, will gain some traction as a starter or at least show he's worthy of some investment of time to help enhance his development.

Adams, this year's sixth overall pick, should make an immediate impact on the secondary. The former LSU standout is tremendously talented and shows excellent instincts. It's hard to argue with the Jets' decision to pass up one of the two top members of an unspectacular QB group -- Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes -- for a player with the ability to be a defensive fixture for years to come.

More from AFC East series:

AFC East offseason review: Leave it to the Patriots to find ways to get even stronger

AFC East offseason review: Dolphins take methodical approach to improvement

AFC East offseason review: Jets hoping short-term pain will mean long-term gain

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