Merry Christmas, Jets fans. Here at JetNation.com, we hope you got everything you put on your list this year, and we thought we’d take a guess as to what Jets GM Mike Maccagnan’s list might look like. With over $100 million dollars in cap space, a franchise quarterback on the roster and a top five draft pick in the fold, here’s our best guess.
1) A head coach who can develop young players
Mike Maccagnan has had his share of misses in the NFL draft and free agency, but where might his team be right now if so many players hadn’t regressed? The list of proven NFL players who were retained or added to improve the roster but had little impact or got worse under Todd Bowles is scary. Leonard Williams, Trumaine Johnson, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Spencer Long and James Carpenter come to mind as high-priced players who saw their on-field performance take a significant dip under Bowels’ staff.
However, there’s one way that Maccagnan could get this wish, but still feel like he got a lump of coal. While most Jets fans would love the idea of Jim Harbaugh taking over, that’s probably not something Maccagnan would be crazy about as it would likely mean a new role/title for him, or he would retain the GM title and make his picks based largely on Harbaugh’s “recommendations”. Should Chris Johnson make a strong push for and eventually land Harbaugh, Maccagnan would have nobody to blame but himself. He’s added some very good pieces as the Jets GM, but hasn’t done nearly enough to have his opinion outweigh that of Harbaugh.
2) A trouble-free offseason for Robby Anderson
Anderson has been the team’s best deep threat since the days of Wesley Walker. Adding to that, Anderson has hauled in 20 balls for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Jets last three games, with only one of those coming on a go route. We’re seeing Anderson significantly expand his route tree, coming up with big catches on a variety of routes. At this point, the biggest concern for Anderson has been off-field issues. If the speedy receiver can keep his nose clean and continue to play at a high level next season, he’ll be in line for a big pay-day and Maccagnan will have some stability in the pieces he’s placing around Sam Darnold.
Sam Darnold to Robby Anderson in the last three games:
20 catches, 312 yards, 3 TD's, one go route.
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) December 23, 2018
Also worth noting is that given Anderson’s recent production, simply placing a second-round tender on the restricted free agent to be might not be enough to chase off potential suitors.
3) Another first-round hit
Despite the regression of Leonard Williams and the suspension of Darron Lee, Maccagnan is still yet to have a Vernong Gholston, Calvin Pryor or Dee Milliner-like first round pick. All of his selections (Williams, Lee, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold) have shown they can contribute in the NFL at anywhere from a serviceable to pro bowl level. Another hit along the lines of Adams or Darnold (thus far) would go a long way in building for the future.
4) Jingle Bell..Le’Veon Bell
As a group, Jets fans seem to be torn on whether or not the team should splurge on running back free agency, but Bell is the best offensive play maker on the market. Let’s say Bell signs for somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million per season. That would still leave the Jets with over $85 million to spend, and Sam Darnold would have a game-changing running back who can also be pencilled in for 60+ catches if used the right way.
5) Gain an Edge
The Jets need an edge rusher in the worst way and trading up a spot or two for Nick Bosa may be in the cards, but if the Jets look to fill as many needs as possible before the draft, they’ll have the cash available for a player such as DeMarcus Lawrence of the Cowboys. While pass rushers of his caliber don’t tend to reach free agency, the Cowboys are in a bit of a unique situation with some big-time decisions to make. Dallas has $54 million in cap room going in to next season, but they’ve expressed a desire to sign quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term deal along with wide receiver Amari Cooper while elite cornerback Byron Jones is a free agent after next year. Those three players alone would likely cost the Cowboys over $50 million per year and could make Lawrence the odd man out. Or so the Jets hope.
Again, Jets fans. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!!!