Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will give their responses to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What is the most interesting Jets storyline heading into the offseason?
EA: The Jets collective goal is to get to the postseason dance. After ending a streak of futility against the Patriots, the team will set its eyes on returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Team success leads to more individual accolades as well. Although the Jets can celebrate DT Quinnen Williams, CB Sauce Gardner and edge Jermaine Johnson earning Pro Bowl invites, the club's 7-10 mark made it an uphill climb for players to reach the Pro Bowl Games. I think seven Jets will receive Pro Bowl invites in 2024. The floor is set at two with Williams and Gardner, two dominant players at their positions who are just 26 and 23, respectively. Quincy Williams was a first-team All-Pro and the Team MVP who flew around on a unit that ranked No. 1 in yards per play. His first nod is on the horizon. Flip it to offense and I like the chances of both RB Breece Hall (fourth-most combined yards in 2023) and WR Garrett Wilson, who averaged 89 catches and 1,072 yards in 2022-23 despite playing with four different QBs each season. Speaking of QB, Aaron Rodgers has been a Pro Bowler 10 of his 15 years as a full-time starter. If he's healthy, he'll make it 11 of 16.
EG: I'll go with four Pro Bowlers when the initial team is announced. The Jets have talent on the roster and deserving players such as the three players representing the Green & White in Orlando this year (Sauce Gardner, Quinnen Williams and Jermaine Johnson). LB Quincy Williams could've easily joined them since he was named first-team All-Pro. If Aaron Rodgers plays a full season in 2024, I'd imagine the Jets' young offensive stars WR Garrett Wilson and RB Breece Hall will be in the conversation to be named to their first Pro Bowls not to mention Rodgers, a 10-time Pro Bowler. There's a chance four is too low of a number because of the talent the Jets have. D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II, C.J. Mosley could all be in the mix despite not making it in 2023. But you never know how a season unfolds in the NFL as Jets fans were reminded four snaps into the season opener on Sept. 11. Pro Bowl voting is somewhat unpredictable, which is why I'm erring on the side of caution.
See Quinnen Williams, Sauce Gardner and Jermaine Johnson at Thursday's Pro Bowl Skills Competition in Orlando.
RL: Let's assume the Jets' offense takes a positive step forward and the defense maintains its high level of performance. Then I can see the Jets' Pro Bowl population increasing as it has from two selections for the early '23 games to three (including late addition Jermaine Johnson to Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner) this year to more a year from now. Quincy Williams is a prime candidate to get his first invite to Orlando's Camping World facilities. Then on the offense, others are eager to break through, such as Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, perhaps Alijah Vera-Tucker with a full season of health at one position on the OL, and even old man Aaron Rodgers. But all of that is based on an offense that finally gets rolling and a team that mounts a playoff run in support of the primetime exposure it's again likely to get. This may be Pro Bowl pie in the sky, but I'll say the Jets will match their last haul of five conference all-stars, which they had at the end of their 2015 season that went so well until Game 16 at Buffalo. And may the Green & White, regardless of how many Pro Bowlers they claim in early '24, find their way back into the AFC's postseason grid
CH: The Jets ended up having three Pro Bowlers in 2024 with Sauce Gardner, Quinnen Williams, and Jermaine Johnson (who replaced the injured Khalil Mack). In my opinion, they should have had at least three more: I think Quincy Williams, Bryce Huff, and Michael Carter II were all playing at Pro Bowl levels. All-Pro Quincy Williams had a career-best year with 139 tackles, 4 QB hits, 10 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles and an interception. Bryce Huff lead the Jets with 10 sacks and Michael Carter II ranked first among nickel cornerbacks in total yards allowed, total receptions allowed and in yards per snap. Not only should these players have all made the Pro Bowl, if players like Will McDonald follow a similar career path as Jermaine Johnson, then he could make the Pro Bowl in his second year, too. All in all, I think the Jets will have at least five Pro Bowlers next season if everyone continues to play at the level they did this season.
JP: For this answer I am going to choose the number of Pro Bowlers the Jets will have when the teams are announced during the season, not the number when alternates are added to the rosters to fill in for players who have withdrawn. For that number, I'll go with five. With perennial Pro Bowlers Aaron Rodgers, Sauce Gardner and Quinnen Williams on the roster, it is assumed that if those players stay healthy, they will earn nods to the all-star event. Add breakout stars such as LB Quincy Williams, named to The AP's First Team All-Pro in 2023, and pass rusher Jermaine Johnson, added to the 2023 Pro Bowl roster in place of Chargers LB Khalil Mack, the Jets have plenty of strong candidates on defense. On offense, a rising tide lifts all boats. A healthy Rodgers will benefit RB Breece Hall and WR Garrett Wilson's campaign to earn their first bids. Wilson had his second straight 1,000-plus yard receiving season in 2023, despite having played with seven QBs in two years. And Hall, in his first season back from a torn ACL, recorded 1,500-plus all-purpose yards. The addition of a four-time MVP and future Hall of Fame QB will likely push at least one of these – if not both – over the top.