While many others teams fans are gearing up for the 2017 season with the hope of winning a Super Bowl, New York Jets season ticket holders have taken a different approach.
Looking at the roster moves that GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles have made this offseason, most experts around the NFL have left the Jets for dead. In releasing veterans Eric Decker, David Harris, Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, Marcus Gilchrist, Darrelle Revis and trading 2014 1st Round draft pick Calvin Pryor, fans also seem to be waving the white flag. While it can be argued that these moves are necessary if the Jets ultimately want to contend, fans should be a little unsure whether they can trust this regime to rebuild the roster.
According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, New York Jets season ticket holders want them to tank the season. While losing to secure a high first round pick seems wonderful and even logical, what proof has tanking a season every shown to guarantee success?
The biggest problem that the Jets face for the upcoming season isn’t that these moves are the wrong moves to make. I think even the most cynical Jets fan understands that despite the production and value of the veterans the Jets released, they weren’t going to help the team much beyond this season. The money saved in salary cap alone is a good enough reason to suffer a rough season. However, what fans and season ticket holders are unsure about, is whether or not this regime deserves the chance to oversee that rebuild. Looking at the fans reactions, most seem willing to give this regime another chance, despite the results so far.
Looking at the production on the field from the first two drafts under this regime, one can understand why the fans should be a bit skeptical. Taking a look at the history of Jets high first round picks, their track record of drafting doesn’t make fans sleep any better either. Going back to the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the Jets have drafted players in the top three of the NFL draft four times (1980, 1981, 1990 and 1996). On two other occasions (1993 and 1997), the Jets traded down after holding a top three selection.
Of those four players drafted in the top three, only one player – Freeman McNeil taken third in 1981 – had a career longer than five years with the team. Two of the players, WR Johnny “Lam” Jones (taken second overall in 1980) and RB Blair Thomas (taken second overall in 1990) are considered “busts” by all standards. Jones played five season for the Jets totaling 138 receptions and had a pension for dropping the ball. Thomas lasted four seasons with the team, totaling just 2,009 rushing yards and five TD. Keyshawn Johnson (taken 1st overall in 1996) played well in his tenure (was a Pro Bowl selection in 1998 and 1999), but was traded after his fourth season.
No matter what happens during the 2017 season for the Jets, tanking a season does not guarantee that the results will work out. However, most fans are willing to give this regime another chance to rebuild it.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.