General manager Joe Douglas emerged to speak out on the state of his New York Jets, who look very different from when we last saw them.
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas emerged on Wednesday to give a de facto state-of-the-team conference call. Despite the relative stagnance of the sporting world, the Jets are undoubtedly a different looking team thanks to Douglas’ moves
Here are the main takeaways from Wednesday’s comments…
Expect a lineman at #11
These aren’t your father’s Jets. They’re not your older brother’s Jets. Heck, they might not be your twin brother’s Jets.
The blocking negligence of the Mike Maccagnan era was all but confirmed with the checks Douglas has bestowed this offseason. Funds have been diverted to providing protection for the Jets’ potential pair of backfield saviors, Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant have gotten green makeovers. Competition for playing time will ensue, but Douglas is pleased with the established depth he was able to obtain.
“We had a lot of holes to fill. Our plan was to be strategic and disciplined,” Douglas said, per Robby Sabo of Jets X Factor. “I felt like we needed to build a foundation…the best teams in the NFL have a lot of depth.”
The improvements offered apparent flexibility and freedom to the Jets with the 11th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Perhaps the pick could be used on a playmaking receiver talent like CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs.
Douglas, how, gave a veiled “not so fast”.
“I think there’s a real shortage of quality offensive linemen in the NFL,” he said per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. “So we’re going to do our best to get as many quality ones as we can because you can never have too many.”
Improving the line has been one of the early hallmarks of the Douglas era. One of his first moves was convincing former All-Pro Ryan Kalil out of retirement for the 2019 season. That one didn’t pan out, but it was perhaps more than Maccagnan had done in years. Prior to taking Chuma Edoga in last season’s third round, the Jets had not taken a blocker within the draft’s first two days since Vlad Ducasse back in 2010. Douglas, it appears, is just getting started.
Receiving help will rise from within
With an apparent dedication to blocking at the 11th, the draft is still relatively deep at receiver. Talented names like Jalen Reagor, KJ Hamler, and Chase Claypool will likely all still be around on day two. That’s big for the Jets after the departure of Anderson.
The newly minted Carolina Panther’s tallies of 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns over the past four seasons are relatively pedestrian in today’s NFL. But the fact remains that the Jets just lost a lot of offensive productions. No other Jets, for example, reached double digits in touchdowns in the same span. As of now, the void of top receiver is set to be filled by Breshad Perriman on one of Douglas’ prove-it deals.
Douglas acknowledged that the Jets aren’t done spending yet. At the same time, he’s looking forward to seeing some of the current roster names rise up in Anderson’s wake. According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, Douglas invoked the names of Vyncint Smith, Josh Doctson, and Braxton Berrios. Considering the fact that that group combined for 44 receptions and 340 yards in 2019, they’re probably not done adding to the arsenal. It could well strengthen the case for Demaryius Thomas to return.
Brian Winters is probably staying
The veteran blocker Winters has frequently appeared on lists of potential salary cap cuts. Entering the final part of a four-year extension, the departure of Winters would save the Jets just over $7.2 million against the cap. With interior help coming in the form of McGovern, Van Roten, and Josh Andrews, it felt like Winters was on borrowed time, but Douglas appeared to imply the opposite in this bit from SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.
“We love his competitiveness and toughness,” Douglas said. “We should have a really good competition for our offensive line.”
While that’s far from cementing his roster spot, it certainly sounds like Winters will be invited to training camp, whenever that may be. Experience could certainly play in Winters’ favor. Only three members from the 2019 roster have more service in the NFL. Winters is also set to be the longest-tenured Jet in New Jersey should running back Bilal Powell leave in free agency.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags