By Brian Jones
2015 record: 10-6
Head Coach: Todd Bowles (10-6 with Jets; 0-0 in playoffs)
Notable Additions: Matt Forte, Ryan Clady, Steve McLendon, Jarvis Jenkins, Khiry Robinson, Bruce Carter, Bernard Pierce
Notable Subtractions: Chris Ivory, Antonio Cromartie, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Willie Colon
Notable Draft Picks: Darron Lee, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Brandon Shell
Offseason: The primary offseason story was the conundrum that was Ryan Fitzpatrick and his contract negotiations. It took the better part of 6 months but it finally got done, literally minutes before the first meetings of training camp got underway. Fitzpatrick signed a one-year, fully guaranteed $12 million deal that has escalators that can raise it to $15 million. With that settled, along with the other (literal) last second signing of defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to a long-term deal the Jets have all their key components in camp to make a possible run in the playoffs.
Key Training Camp Battle(s): CB and LB. Buster Skrine is currently penciled in to be the starter opposite future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis but rookie sensation Marcus Williams will make his case during camp to become the other starting cornerback on defense. At linebacker, draft pick Jordan Jenkins made noise during rookie camp and will be looking for playing time alongside veteran David Harris. First round pick Darron Lee will also be looking to make an impact on defense this season. A long holdout means precious time Lee missed out on but he looks to be a crucial part of the defense this season and going forward.
Schedule: One of the toughest in the league. Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore, Arizona and the opener September 11th against Cincinnati are on the slate along with the usual divisional foes in Buffalo, Miami and New England.
Best Case Scenario: Fitzpatrick and the offense take things to a new level this season, production from the tight end position becomes available, the defense plays like the best in the league and the Jets are able to overcome a very top-heavy schedule on the way to the playoffs.
Worst Case Scenario: Ryan Fitzpatrick plays like, well, the Ryan Fitzpatrick we saw in Buffalo last season, offensive numbers are down, the defense is good but not great, the schedule plays to form and it’s another playoff-less season in Florham Park.
Season Prediction: The tools, players and coaching staff are there to make a long playoff run, if not make a Super Bowl appearance this season. The odds say it won’t happen and with a schedule full of playoff and championship contenders I’m going to lean in the direction of things not coming together this season. 8-8 or 9-7 is the prediction – but this is the NFL and anything can happen. If they manage to get in the playoffs, the Jets would be a dangerous and tough out but now today, on paper, it doesn’t appear it will play out that way.
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