Former Jets executive Pat Kirwan can't wait for what's next. He likes the pairing of Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles and thinks the Green & White have a promising future ahead.
"I like Mike and I'm proud of him, and he got an opportunity to do it his way. And I think he's starting to be a star," Kirwan told me. "And you know what, the Jets have needed a star at that position. I think the future of the club is going to be very exciting. I can't wait to see his next draft to tell you the truth."
Maccagnan, who is down here in Mobile, AL with his college scouts, also has been joined by Bowles. The former has final say on the 53-man roster while the latter is responsible for molding those pieces together.
"At the end of the day I think the guy is in total control … He was almost built to be a head coach," Kirwan said of Bowles. "Some guys – I worked for four of them – they struggle with it. It's hard for them. They're constantly guessing or re-evaluating what they say or do in front of the team. I don't think the guy has any problem in front of the football team."
After a 10-6 campaign, both Maccagnan and Bowles have publicly said they would like to retain as many as their own players as possible. Kirwan believes that is imperative as the duo attempts to create a foundation.
"First thing you have to do and I learned the hard way when I was at the Jets, is you better keep all your talent and grow from there," Kirwan said. "You can't lose players and then just constantly use the draft to replace guys who were good because you're not making any progress."
Every team must work within the constraints of a salary cap and the reality is there will be changes ahead. The Jets have a number of prominent players with expiring contracts including DE Muhammad Wilkerson, NT Damon "Snacks" Harrison, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and RBs Chris Ivory & Bilal Powell.
"But if it doesn't equal out financially, you're going to have to say goodbye," Kirwan said.
The Jets, who finished 10th overall in offense while amassing a franchise mark with 5,925 yards, had a 3,000-yard passer (Fitzpatrick), two 1,000-yard receivers (Brandon Marshall & Eric Decker) and a 1,000-yard runner (Ivory).
"If you put a big-time vertical threat tight end in there, that would scare people that you wouldn't know if you should be in nickel or base defense," Kirwan said. "He could flex out and cause the same kind of problems that Gronk causes and a lot of this good tight ends cause. Then I think you have it all."
And even if the Jets re-sign Fitzpatrick to an extension, Kirwan believes the club should continue to stockpile talent at the position.
"I love Ryan Fitzpatrick, would go into but I the quarterback business. Now they may not agree with me on that, but I don't think you ever stop trying to get quarterbacks. And Dick Steinberg who raised me at the Jets said, 'Never pass a quarterback.' So if there is one sitting there and you know Ryan's age, I think you go get one too. And there's nothing like having two or three of them that you really believe in."