Evey New York Jets fan knows their offseason priority has to be addressing the quarterback. After having one of the top passing offenses in the league in their prior year, the Jets couldn’t return to form this season. After resigning journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets seemed to have a stall in place. Then the season happened. Again, Fitzpatrick had a season that gave insight on why he never sticks.
One name being floated around is the former starter for the Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo. Dallas seems to have their quarterback of the future in Dak Prescott and every football circle believes the Cowboys are willing to trade Romo. Plenty of teams will be willing to trade the farm to get him. The New York Jets shouldn’t be one of them. While there’s no doubt Romo can play at a high level, the Jets are more than one piece away and can benefit from alternatives.
If New York wants to improve their position they can do so in free agency. Doing so they need to look no further than Chiefs backup quarterback Nick Foles. Jets fans might not love that choice but he gives the Jets a better option than Fitzpatrick. Foles hasn’t had much success as a starter but can take care of the football.
In his best season with the Philadelphia Eagles, Foles threw 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. That same season the Eagles won the NFC East going 10-6 and followed up with a second 10-6 year. In his career, he is 20-16 which is mostly weighed down by his time with the then St Louis Rams. Even in his time with the Kansas City Chiefs, he proved there’s enough to kick the tires with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions in a backup role.
In New York, he’d also benefit from similar talent surrounding him. With his career season in 2013 Foles had the pieces to help him win. Every asset that helped him succeed is in place on the Jets roster already. LeSean McCoy was the dual threat running back in Philly Matt Forte is in New York. The Jets have better options at receiver than Desean Jackson and Riley Cooper. With the emergence of rookie Quincy Enunwa mixed with Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, the Jets can spread the field all day. It would be wise to have a veteran under center who is familiar with the speed of the game.
Foles comes at a price much cheaper than a quarterback needed to turn the Jets around. By not breaking the bank or dumping draft picks, it puts the team in a better position to do more with what they have. This year’s draft class has already been played off as a down year for quarterbacks. A veteran like Foles will allow the Jets to take a chance later in the draft in finding their Dak Prescott player to groom. In doing so they’ll be able to focus on the one position they really need to fix, tight end.
Tight end seems to be the position the Jets have forgotten about. Who’s all-time leading tight end in a Jets uniform? Save some time Googling, it’s Mickey Shuler who retired in 1991. Since entering the league in 1960, the Jets have had just 4 tight ends suit up for them more than 100 games. A mark that is a career span of only 6.25 seasons. Only 3 of those 4 have caught more than 100 passes. To put that in perspective, Rob Gronkowski has played 7 seasons as a staple of the Patriots offense. He has already racked up 405 receptions in 75 games in an injury-depleted career.
The tight end position is the swiss army knife of an offense. Not only can they catch passes, they’re expected to block to give quarterbacks more time, and can often create mismatches against linebackers. With so many holes in their passing defense, it would be wise for the Jets to trade down from 6th and move into the late teens/early 20’s in the 2017 NFL draft. They can easily stockpile second or third round picks to address the defense and go after South Alabama prospect Gerald Everett who might not make it to the second round. The 6’4 240-pound tight end is primed for a smooth transition to the NFL and could be the final piece to the Jets puzzle.
Both Everett and Foles give the New York Jets more wiggle room in the offseason than they deserve. If they can lock up those two players, free agency can be spent on the offensive line, while the draft can rebuild their aging defense. If the Jets want to be cellar-dwellers for seasons to come, risk it all on Romo. 2017 is a new year, are they content with being the same New York Jets? Only the offseason will tell.