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: Why are the Jets at an advantage in free agency and the NFL Draft?
EA:After enduring one of the most trying seasons in franchise history, the Jets are well-equipped to obtain personnel this offseason. OvertheCap.com projects the club has close to $70 million in cap space, so the Jets are financially healthy. It's important to note that GM Joe Douglas believes successful organizations don't buy their way to long-term success. His model remains draft well and develop your own players — and the early results of his first draft class, featuring LT Mekhi Becton and WR Denzel Mims, have been favorable. That sets the stage for April when the Jets have the No. 2 overall pick, a pair of first-rounders and five picks in the top 87. This build won't happen overnight and HC Robert Saleh has stressed that there is a lot of work to be done. But the Jets have the money to re-sign some of their own and make a few impactful signings in free agency. Players genuinely love playing for Saleh and don't discount that in the recruiting process. And then after the Green & White complete free agency, the Jets will have options galore on draft weekend. Every offseason is critical, but this one feels different on multiple levels. When the Jets become winners, there will be fewer holes, less money to spend and maybe a few more selections at the end of rounds.
EG: Having financial flexibility and a lot of draft capital gives GM Joe Douglas & Co. options how they want to fill holes on the roster. In free agency, as NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah put it, the Jets can "shop in a different price range" if they choose to. It's important to have cap space any year, but it's an added benefit this year because the cap is expected to be set lower than expected. The Jets could sign blue-chip talent if the opportunity presents itself and if Douglas decides to invest that way. Douglas, however, has repeatedly said good teams in the NFL build through the draft and develop homegrown talent. While he did not draft S Marcus Maye, Douglas has the money to extend the 2020 Curtis Martin Team MVP, which he said is an offseason priority. In terms of the draft, the Jets have five picks in the first three rounds and can continue to build the nucleus of talent to go with DL Quinnen Williams, LT Mekhi Becton, et. al. The Jets also have the ammunition to trade up (probably not from No. 2 to No. 1) in the first or second round. They're also in position to field calls on the No. 2 overall pick and acquire more picks if the right opportunity presents itself. There are a lot of possibilities between free agency and the draft, but the Jets are in a good position in both to improve the talent on the roster for next season.
RL: The Jets have several advantages in restocking their roster. One is the hiring of Robert Saleh as head coach. Not only the 49ers defensive players of the past four years know that Saleh is a hot prospect. Many around the NFL have heard the same, and the Jets players are beginning to realize it first-hand. The Atlantic Health Jets Training Center continues to be a strong selling point, as does the team's location in the New York metro area's media and advertising markets. As for free agency, the Jets are reportedly in good shape salary-cap-wise. And as for the draft, they currently hold five picks in the top 87, one of their best draft positions ever, and nine picks overall. No guarantees, of course, only hard work and inspired signing and drafting ahead. But things are looking up.