New York Jets (Last Year: 7-9)
2020 NFL Season Preview:
QB Joe Flacco, RB Frank Gore, WR Breshad Perriman, OT George Fant, G Greg Van Roten, C Connor McGovern, LB Patrick Onwuasor, CB Pierre Desir.
OT Mekhi Becton, WR Denzel Mims, S Ashtyn Davis, DE Jabari Zuniga, RB Lamical Perine, QB James Morgan, OT/G Cameron Clark. Jets Rookie Forecast
RB Bilal Powell, WR Robby Anderson, OT Kelvin Beachum, OT Brandon Shell, G Tom Compton, CB Trumaine Johnson, CB Maurice Canady, P Laclan Edwards.
2020 New York Jets Offense:
Sam Darnold was a major disappointment last year. He was expected to make a big leap in his second season, but he struggled mightily against the Bills in the opener. It was revealed that he had mono, so he was out for the next three games, forcing the Jets into an 0-4 start. Quarterbacks don't often contract mono, so this was very discouraging. Darnold had a nice performance against Dallas after that, but he was woeful against the Patriots, as he was overheard telling his coaching staff that he was "seeing ghosts" on the field.
Darnold finished the year with some nice performances, but he was inconsistent. His seeing ghosts was worrying, and it was apparent that he needs plenty of help, specifically on the offensive line. The front office recognized this, so they brought in two new tackles for their quarterback. Both tackles are highly athletic players with low floors. The Jets signed George Fant, who never lived up to his upside in Seattle, but that could certainly change. New York then used its first-round pick on Mekhi Becton. The Louisville product blew up the combine, displaying his amazing athleticism. There's some concern that he could eat his way out of the league, but it's more likely than not that Becton will be a major upgrade for Darnold's blocking.
The Jets also brought in some new interior linemen, signing guard Greg Van Roten and center Connor McGovern. Both are nice upgrades. Van Roten is just mediocre, but he's better than what the Jets had at the position last year. McGovern, conversely, is an excellent center, so he's a massive boost to the interior blocking. The final starter, Alex Lewis, is a liability at guard. There's a chance fourth-round rookie Cameron Clark takes the job away from him.
In addition to the offensive line, the Jets also had to find better receivers for Darnold, as the position was lacking outside of Robby Anderson last year. Anderson isn't even around anymore - he signed with the Panthers - so New York signed Breshad Perriman away from the Buccaneers and then spent a second-round pick on Denzel Mims to go along with slot receiver Jamison Crowder. Perriman is a former first-round pick who was a huge bust for the most part, but he inexplicably thrived at the end of the 2019 season. It's unclear if this was a fluke, but if it's not, the Jets may have a No. 1 receiver on their hands. Mims, meanwhile, is a dynamic downfield play-maker, though there's some concern that his play speed doesn't represent his timed speed. Still, the receiving corps is better, especially when taking into account that tight end Chris Herndon is back to join Ryan Griffin at the position.
There's still one more dynamic offensive weapon who hasn't been discussed yet, and that would be Le'Veon Bell. The oft-disgruntled back was a disappointment last year, but he's still young and talented enough to have a huge year. Perhaps that'll happen if the offensive line is as improved as it appears to be.
2020 New York Jets Defense:
Le'Veon Bell wasn't the only new Jet who was a disappointment last year. The team gave C.J. Mosley a huge contract, yet Mosley barely played. He exited following the third quarter of the season opener - prompting the Jets to blow a big lead to the Bills - and was barely heard from again. This was an especially problematic situation because New York was also missing another talented linebacker, Avery Williamson.
The good news is that Mosley and Williamson both figure to be in action in 2020. The Jets couldn't defend the middle of the field without counting on their safeties, so that won't be the case this year. Speaking of the safeties, New York has an excellent tandem in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. There's some growing chatter that Adams could be dealt at some point. If so, that would be foolish, as Adams is one of the top players at his position in the NFL. The Jets selected Ashtyn Davis in the third round to eventually take over for either Adams or Maye, who will be entering free agency soon.
While the Jets have great safeties, their cornerback situation is in flux. They were expected to use an early selection or two in the draft on a cornerback, but that didn't happen until a late-round choice was spent on talented Virginia prospect Bryce Hall, who fell in the draft because of injuries. New York also signed Pierre Desir to a 1-year "prove it" deal, so there's at least some hope with him. Desir has been inconsistent throughout his career, so perhaps he'll improve his play after a down 2019. Desir and Hall will join Blessuan Austin and Arthur Maulet, as well as nickel corner Brian Poole in a group with some potential. Austin played very well last year, so perhaps that'll continue into 2020.
Edge rusher was another big position of need entering this offseason. Jordan Jenkins was the sole consistent presence on the edge, accumulating eight sacks in 2019. The Jets spent a second-day selection on Jabari Zuniga, a player with great upside who didn't perform up to his ability at Florida.
New York has a far better defensive line. The team used the third-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Quinnen Williams, who had a solid year but is capable of making a huge leap in 2020. Henry Anderson should also improve off a down year. He dealt with injuries and never seemed to be 100 percent. Williams and Anderson will sandwich monstrous run stuffer Steve McLendon.
2020 New York Jets Schedule and Intangibles:
The Jets need a new kicker. Sam Ficken was 19-of-27 last year.
Punter Lachlan Edwards was dead last in net yardage in 2016. He improved to 19th the next year and was 13th in 2018. He improved to 12th last season.
Despite the lackluster special teams discussion thus far, New York was exceptional at defending returns last year.
The Jets have a very difficult start to their schedule, as they have to battle the Bills, 49ers, Colts and Broncos in their first four games. It doesn't get any easier after that, as they'll have a three-game stretch against the Bills, Chiefs and Patriots in the middle of the year.
2020 New York Jets Rookies:
Go here for the Jets Rookie Forecast
, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.
2020 New York Jets Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2020 New York Jets Analysis:
The Jets finished 7-9 last year, but keep in mind that they were 7-5 when Sam Darnold returned from his bout with mono. That gives New York some hope for 2020, especially with an improved offensive line and the two talented linebackers returning from injury. That said, it's difficult to count on Adam Gase to meet expectations - particularly amid the Jamal Adams trade rumors - and the schedule appears to be far more difficult than it was in 2019.
5-11 (3rd in AFC East)
2019 Projection: 10-6. 2019 Actual Result: 7-9.
2018 Projection: 5-11. 2018 Actual Result: 4-12.
2017 Projection: 2-14. 2017 Actual Result: 5-11.
2016 Projection: 6-10. 2016 Actual Result: 5-11.
NFL Draft Team Grade: B+ Grade
Goals Entering the 2020 NFL Draft: The Jets must fix some parts of their defense - namely the cornerbacks and edge rushers - but this draft must be about strengthening Sam Darnold's supporting cast. Darnold's protection and receiving corps are both weak points, so both areas absolutely must be addressed with multiple selections.
2020 NFL Draft Accomplishments: New general manager Joe Douglas' first three picks look great on paper to some, as he was able to select Mekhi Becton, Denzel Mims and Ashtyn Davis in the top 70. Davis was just OK, though Mims was a steal in the second round. Becton is the big name, but he carries lots of risk. There's a non-zero chance that he eats himself out of the league. He has immense upside, but I think he was too much of a gamble for some teams at No. 11 overall, especially with someone like Tristan Wirfs available. Don't get me wrong; I didn't hate the start of the Jets' draft, but it was risky and may not pan out.
That said, most of the Jets' class was graded as a B- or higher. This includes fifth-rounder Bryce Hall, who was an absolute steal. He fell because of injury, but if he pans out, he'll provide an upgrade at cornerback.
Overall, I like what the Jets did. I wish they spent one more pick on an offensive lineman, and I would have preferred it if they didn't waste a pick on a punter, but Douglas had a fine first draft.
NFL Draft Individual Grades:
11. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville - C Grade
Over Tristan Wirfs!? Mekhi Becton has unbelievable upside, but he has a very low floor as well. There could be weight issues, and he's not exactly the most refined prospect. He could end up being a perennial Pro Bowler, and he could also eat himself out of the league in three years. I think Becton is way too risky for the No. 11 pick with Wirfs and the receivers available. I don't hate this pick, but the Jets could've done better.
59. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor - A+ Grade
I don't understand why Denzel Mims fell so far. I look forward to Charlie Campbell's Why the Slide on Mims, which will be posted sometime in May. In the meantime, the Jets get to enjoy an explosive receiver who should've been chosen at the end of the opening round. This is a steal for the Jets, and they get to fill a huge need.
68. Ashtyn Davis, S, California - B- Grade
I guess Jamaal Adams is getting traded soon. It's a shame that Adam Gase hates talent; otherwise, the Jets could've pursued a different position. Still, considering the mess Gase has caused, this is a fine selection. Ashtyn Davis could've gone in the second round, so he'll be a viable replacement for Adams.
79. Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida - B+ Grade
I can't remember the last time I didn't list "pass rusher" as a need for the Jets in my team needs pages. It may have been close to a decade. Perhaps Jabari Zuniga will change that. Zuniga is an explosive athlete with high upside. He's raw at the moment, but he could develop into a double-digit sack threat. I like the upside here for the Jets.
120. Lamical Perine, RB, Florida - B Grade
Lamical Perine is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none running back who was consistently mocked in the fourth round. He could end up being a solid backup behind Le'Veon Bell. This is a fine pick, but not one that's very exciting.
125. James Morgan, QB, Florida International - A+ Grade
This is a steal. James Morgan is the quarterback teams should've been targeting in the third round as someone who has loads of potential. Morgan is a smart quarterback with a nice arm and great leadership skills. He could easily end up being a starter in the NFL, and he's a nice project for the Jets to eventually flip into a second-round pick.
129. Cameron Clark, OT/G, Charlotte - C Grade
This is the first pick of the Jets' that I don't love or like. I don't hate it, as protecting Sam Darnold is a priority, but Cameron Clark was a sixth- or seventh-round prospect for me. I don't even think Clark can remain at tackle in the NFL, as he may have to move inside to guard.
158. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia - A+ Grade
Bryce Hall would have been chosen in the third or even second round if it wasn't for some major injury concerns. Hall may not make it because of poor durability, but he's very much well worth the gamble here in the fifth round. He could end up starting for the Jets if he can stay healthy.
191. Braden Mann, P, Texas A&M - O'BRIEN Grade
Stop drafting punters before Round 7. Please. And no, Rich Eisen, punters are not people, too. They're horrible abominations.
The Jets were a dark-horse sleeper of mine entering 2019, but they never had much of a chance because Sam Darnold missed several games with mono. We saw some signs of what they were capable of when they finished 6-2 in their final eight games.
Jets sign QB Joe Flacco
Jets sign RB Frank Gore
Jets sign LB Patrick Onwuasor
Jets sign WR Breshad Perriman
Jets sign CB Pierre Desir
Jets sign G Greg Van Roten
Jets cut CB Darryl Roberts
Jets sign C Connor McGovern
Jets sign OT George Fant
- Two Offensive Tackles: Protecting Sam Darnold is the top priority this offseason. The Jets will need two new tackles if they don't re-sign Kelvin Beachum. Signed George Fant
- Center: The Jets were so desperate at center that they signed Ryan Kalil. He turned out to be terrible, so a new center is needed. Signed Connor McGovern
- Guard: Here's another position of need on the offensive line. Signed Greg Van Roten
- Two Wide Receivers: Make that one if the Jets re-sign Robby Anderson. New York must upgrade Demaryius Thomas. Signed Breshad Perriman
- Cornerback: Some of the Jets' young players at the position performed well late in 2020, but the front office could still stand to add a talented player at the position. Signed Pierre Desir; re-signed Brian Poole
- Edge Rusher: The Jets will need to bring in an edge player if they can't retain Jordan Jenkins, who is set to hit the market in March. Re-signed Jordan Jenkins
- Backup Quarterback: Trevor Siemian is an impending free agent, so a new backup quarterback will be needed if Siemian doesn't re-sign. Signed Joe Flacco
- Kicker: Sam Ficken was one of the NFL's worst kickers last year.
- Punter: Lachlan Edwards is set to be a free agent in March.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
2020 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Connor McGovern, C/G, Broncos. Age: 27.
Signed with Jets (3 years, $27 million)
Connor McGovern did a great job of taking over for departed center Matt Paradis. McGovern can play both center and guard.
Greg Van Roten, G, Panthers. Age: 30.
Signed with Jets
Greg Van Roten played well this past season until he suffered a season-ending toe injury in November. His absence was one of the several reasons for Carolina's downfall at the end of the year.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Buccaneers. Age: 26.
Signed with Jets (1 year, $8 million)
Breshad Perriman had been a major bust throughout his career, but he caught fire late in 2019, finally emerging as a the dynamic threat the Ravens thought they were getting when they chose him in the opening round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Joe Flacco, QB, Broncos. Age: 35.
Signed with Jets (1 year, $1.5 million)
The Broncos waived Joe Flacco with a failed injury designation. His neck is the apparent issue, but it sounds like he'll be ready for 2020. Flacco struggled last year - six touchdowns, five interceptions - but he was stuck behind a miserable offensive line.
Pierre Desir, CB, Colts. Age: 29.
Signed with Jets (1 year)
Pierre Desir played very well in 2018, but struggled last year. He might be able to bounce back, but he turns 30 in September.
Frank Gore, RB, Bills. Age: 37.
Signed with Jets
Frank Gore is still somehow a steady back at the age of 37. He can't start anymore, but he's an excellent backup.
- Patrick Onwuasor, LB, Ravens. Age: 28. -- Signed with Jets
- George Fant, OT, Seahawks. Age: 28. -- Signed with Jets (3 years, $30 million)
New York Jets Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets. Age: 27.
Signed with Panthers (2 years, $20 million)
Robby Anderson is a dynamic deep threat who couldn't hit his potential because of limitations with the rest of the offense. Anderson has some off-the-field problems.
Brian Poole, CB, Jets. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Jets (1 year, $5 million)
Brian Poole was the Jets' top cornerback this past season. That's not saying much, but Poole did an excellent job of covering the slot.
Kelvin Beachum, OT, Jets. Age: 31.
The Jets' offense has been much better whenever Kelvin Beachum has been on the field. However, Beachum turns 31 in June, so regression and more injuries seem to be in the cards.
Jordan Jenkins, DE/OLB, Jets. Age: 26.
Re-signed with Jets (1 year, $5 million)
Jordan Jenkins has lived up to his third-round billing, logging a total of 15 sacks in the past couple of seasons. He tends to get burned in coverage, however.
Trumaine Johnson, CB, Jets. Age: 30.
Trumaine Johnson signed a 5-year, $72 million contract a couple of offseasons ago. However, he was such a disappointment that the Jets have decided to eat $12 million in dead money by cutting him this spring. Johnson missed 15 games in two seasons with the Jets, as he really struggled to stay healthy. He could bounce back, but then again, he turned 30 in January, so it's clear that his best days are behind him.
Laclan Edwards, P, Jets. Age: 28.
Laclan Edwards has been 12th and 13th in net yardage the past two years.
Art Maulet (RFA), CB, Jets. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Jets (1 year)
Art Maulet, no relation to Art Vandelay, stepped into the lineup because of injuries late in the year and performed admirably.
- Brandon Shell, OT, Jets. Age: 28. -- Signed with Seahawks (2 years, $11 million)
- Alex Lewis, G, Jets. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Jets (3 years, $18.6 million)
- Maurice Canady, CB, Jets. Age: 26.
- Tom Compton, G/OT, Jets. Age: 31. -- Signed with 49ers
- Bilal Powell, RB, Jets. Age: 31.
- Brandon Copeland, ILB, Jets. Age: 29. -- Signed with Patriots
- Demaryius Thomas, WR, Jets. Age: 32.
- Trevor Siemian, QB, Jets. Age: 28.
- Darryl Roberts, CB, Jets. Age: 20.
- Ryan Kalil, C, Jets. Age: 35.
- Ty Montgomery, RB, Jets. Age: 27. -- Signed with Saints
- Neville Hewitt, LB, Jets. Age: 27.
- Matthias Farley, S, Jets. Age: 28.
- Rontez Miles, S, Jets. Age: 31.
- Brent Qvale, OT, Jets. Age: 29. -- Signed with Texans
- Blake Countess, S, Jets. Age: 27.
- Albert McClellan, LB, Jets. Age: 34.
- Paul Worrilow, LB, Jets. Age: 30.
- Kenneth Dixon, RB, Jets. Age: 26.
- Ross Travis, TE, Jets. Age: 27.
NFL Free Agent Tracker:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors
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