Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg and Randy Lange will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What's your major Jets headline out of the NFL League Meetings?
EA: On a beautiful March day in Palm Springs, FL, Jets GM Joe Douglas said that his team needs to be playing "meaningful games" in December. The Jets have taken a step forward, but head coach Robert Saleh said New York's AFC representative isn't "close to done" with its offseason. It's a now world, so people are quick to analyze the NFL's pecking order by April 1. With prudent signings since the league year began, Douglas has stuck to his approach of aggressive, but not reckless. While Tyreek Hill ultimately landed in Miami, Douglas remains intent on surrounding QB Zach Wilson with as many weapons as possible while building the line in front of the second-year passer. And while receiver figures to still be in play, Douglas feels good about his group of wideouts that includes Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios. Douglas also said that the club is operating like Mekhi Becton will be one of its two tackles next season and Saleh said when he does come back, Becton will be a "ball of butcher knives." It's possible that the Jets' right side of the line in 2022 could be Alijah Vera-Tucker at RG and Becton at RT with the left consisting of George Fant at tackle and Laken Tomlinson at guard. As Wilson continues to get in valuable offseason workouts with his skill-position teammates, Saleh wants him to own the playbook at a faster clip. The Jets have improved the roster, but don't grade anything yet. Douglas & Co. aren't done, and they have a unique opportunity with four picks in the top 38 selections in April's draft.
EG: That they're ready to be aggressive. Since Joe Douglas was named GM of the Jets, he's always taken a calculated approach. That's not to say he would not have been aggressive in the past or that he hasn't been, but after two seasons of creating financial health and a molding the team, it's evident he's ready to pounce. He said as much in Palm Beach as did Chairman Woody Johnson. The team's interest in now Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill is well documented, but I think it shows that the team won't shy away from adding talent by using their draft capital. However, there may not be a player to be had via trade before the draft. You never know, though. I don't think many people thought Hill would not be with the Chiefs in 2022 either. Reading the tea leaves from Douglas and Robert Saleh talking about the draft, it feels like the Jets are headed to the trenches with at least one of their two first-round picks. That's not necessarily surprising considering they both believe games are won and lost in the trenches. Saleh obviously favors the defensive line while Douglas the offensive line, but as Douglas said – if they went in either one of those directions, the team wins as a collective. Couple that with what we know about the Jets and their recent pursuit at wideout, OL/DL/WR are all three in play at No. 4 and No. 10. I'm fascinated to see how it'll play out in a couple weeks.
RL: My takeaway from the Jets' presence at the annual league meeting was not a particular headline but a general impression: Joe Douglas means business. Of course every GM means business every year at this time. But you know how antsy team execs get when they're asked the big questions, like, Isn't it time for your team to get back into the playoffs? Douglas didn't say yes or no to that one but he said the next best thing: "Absolutely, we need to be playing meaningful games in December." Not much wiggle room there, especially for a team that's been eliminated from playoff contention in early December every season since their last flirtation with meaningful games in 2015. Then mix in Joe D's statement that if the opportunity and price are right, "We're going to strike," and taking the injury bug head-on by saying, "Great teams keep their good players healthy." Don't get me wrong. Saying it doesn't make it so. But I feel the GM's aggressive attitude will pay dividends as it trickles down to all the good players who, along with HC Robert Saleh and his staff, are hard at work on that culture thing that the Jets will need to break through in '22.