This is one in a series of articles that will also appear in the New York Jets 2022 Yearbook, which will be published later this summer.
All NFL general managers want what Joe Douglas wants for the Jets. Great players, "freaks" if you will, who love football. A strong relationship between the personnel and coaching staffs. Perfect health. More victories.
But there was something edgy, sincere and insistent when Douglas touched on all those subjects this offseason.
The GM, in his third full season orchestrating their free agency and draft approaches, declined to sugarcoat the tough road behind and ahead for him, his staff and his team.
"Look, there needs to be improvement, I think everybody knows that," he said, and "I've got to do a better job, make better decisions moving forward and help Coach Saleh put this team in position to win more games," and "We know we have to be better than four wins, so the main thing is improving the win-loss record."
Also, all teams want to optimize their salary cap situation and draft capital. The Jets did both, and Douglas revisited the twin topics before and after making a number of strong free agent signings in March and April.
"I've made it known that my job is to get the team better and we're going to do that via any avenue that we can," he said, "If the right opportunity presents itself, we're going to be aggressive. If there's the opportunity to add quality players, quality depth, we're going to do it."
But also significant were the transactions Douglas and his staff didn't make. When trade negotiations with Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill became too steep, the Jets said thanks but no thanks. When their bid on the first night of the draft to trade up for Breece Hall late in Round 1 didn't produce reasonable offers, the Jets made their much-praised draft stronger still by waiting till the top of Round 2, then made a much more cost-effective trade with the Giants and grabbed the Iowa State RB at No. 36 overall.
Robert Saleh summed it up with a sentiment he shared several times, most recently during the draft.
"Joe and his staff have done an unbelievable job bringing in some new faces," the coach said, "and our job is to develop them and continue developing the quarterback."