Should the New York Jets pursue star New England offensive lineman in free agency?

New England Patriots, Joe Thuney

Heading into last offseason, one of the hottest commodities projected to hit the market was two-time Super Bowl champion and all-pro offensive guard Joe Thuney. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins were reportedly set to back up the brinks truck to Thuney in hopes he would anchor his offensive line. Then, the Patriots threw a wrench in those plans by tagging Thuney. Now, Thuney will reportedly be allowed to seek a new home this offseason. With Mekhi Becton as the solidified anchor of the offensive line at left tackle, here is why Joe Thuney can give the Jets one of the best tackle/guard combos in football.

Who is Joe Thuney?

Joe Thuney grew up in Ohio and was one of four children. Thuney was not a stranger to success early in life, he was a member of two state championship football teams, he was named offensive lineman of the year in the Greater Catholic League, and was class president in his senior year of high school. Thuney was well-liked on and off the gridiron, and this led to an opportunity to play at NC State. At NC State, Thuney played all over the offensive line taking snaps at center, both tackle spots, and guard during his time with the program. Thuney graduated NC State in three years and received All American honors.

After a successful beginning to his football career, Thuney was selected with the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. In five seasons, Thuney has played every single game, not only that, but he has been a team-first guy being adaptable this past season and making the switch to tackle with Marcus Cannon opting out and creating a void. Thuney has been both a depiction of stability and success, winning two rings during his tenure with the Pats.

Why The Jets?

Thuney will command a monster deal this offseason. As one of the most reliable and consistent linemen in the game, he will be paid as such. Now, Joe Douglas has been rather set in his evaluations of certain players in the past, but offensive linemen have been his most focused entity in his brief tenure as general manager to this point. The potential of having two beasts on the offensive line for the long-term future in Thuney and Becton is something the well-traveled exec may not be able to pass up. Not only that, but as we saw just a few weeks ago with Patrick Mahomes, if you don’t have protection, the entire rhythm of the game plan is thrown out the window.

On a relatively young team, Thuney would slot in as a leader and building block for the future. We are talking about a durable, smart, and versatile piece that fits the mold of everything Douglas seems to look for in the guys he wants to fill out his roster with. Add all that into the fact that he is successful no matter the stop. Thuney could be used anywhere on the line, but the idea of Becton and Thuney anchoring the left side could be too much to pass up. No matter where you put him on the line, Thuney would be a massive addition to the team and someone the Jets should not let slip away.

New York Jets Record Predictions for the 2020 season

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

We are hours away from New York Jets football. In honor of the season, I have decided to give my official game by game predictions for the Jets season.  I will mark each game with a win or a loss prediction and then, at the end, give my final thoughts on how I predict they finish for the 2020-21 NFL Season.

Week 1: vs. Bills

Then Jets kick off the season in Orchard Park. With Josh Allen gaining new toys this offseason, and Sam Darnold gaining coal, I expect Allen to have success early. Especially after locking down Tre White, this Bills team is riding high, so I’ll say they probably ride out with a W.


Week 2: vs. 49ers

The 49ers have one of the best defensive lines in all of football. You can rebuild any offensive line, but it will be hard for this new one to stop the wrecking crew that San Fran brings. I don’t expect a big offensive game, so the defensive game favors the 49ers immensely.


Week 3: at Colts

The Colts have had an overrated offseason. The defense will take a big step this year, but the offense is not where it needs to be. Pittman and Campbell will have success at some point, but not with Rivers throwing a medicine ball-style pass time and time again. I think the Jets have the edge here.


Week 4: vs. Broncos

A few weeks ago, I would have predicted Denver outright. Now, Von Miller is out, and Courtland Sutton is struggling to stay healthy. Without two of their biggest weapons on both sides of the ball, Denver may have a tough day. 


Week 5: vs. Cardinals

The Arizona offense is next level. Kingsbury is an underrated leader as a coach, and with all that talent, I expect them to steamroll the Jets.


Week 6: at Chargers

The Chargers will toll in mediocrity this year. Tyrod Taylor is nearly a place holder, and it’s going to take a little for Herbert to be up to par. Tyrod will play well, but I’m going with Gang Green.


Week 7: vs. Bills

The Bills sweep the Jets in the season series. The Bills may have some hiccups, but particularly against the Fins and Jets, I expect them to play really good football.


Week 8: at Chiefs

Do I even need to explain this one? 


Week 9: vs. Patriots

Cam Newton has not played too well against Gregg Williams led defenses in the past, and I don’t expect that to let up any time soon. The Jets win a close one against the Pats.


Week 10: at Dolphins

Coming off a surprise win, I expect the juices to be flowing, and if the Jets can’t at least win one of the two games, they will be in for a tough AFC East record.


Week 11: Bye

Week 12: vs. Dolphins

Coming off a bye, expect Too to debut if he isn’t already. This should be the game a good coach wins, and that’s where Flores outshines Gase.


Week 13: vs. Raiders

The Raiders are a year out from contention. This next offseason needs to be a big one for both the Jets and Vegas to take steps forward. For now, though, the Jets are just a smidge better.


Week 14: at Seahawks

The Hawks are my team to watch in the Super Bowl. I expect wild card type noise from Seattle and a deep run, the likes of which the Jets can’t keep up with. 


Week 15: at Rams

The Rams offense is mediocre, but their defense is top-notch. With two of the best in the game, the Rams defense will give Sam nightmares all day long.


Week 16: vs. Browns

Odell likes some weird things, but those won’t help his relationship with Baker. Baker needs to take a big jump, or else the Browns could move on. I think that the Jets’ new brass is devoted to Sam, unlike the Browns to Baker, so I’ll roll with Gang Green to win this one.


Week 17: at Patriots

I firmly expect the Pats to be in the playoffs by this point, so this should be a light day for the Pats, which could skew the outcome of this contest.


Final record: 8-8

Middle of the road seasons never hurt anyone except the Jets fanbase. This would be significant growth, though, and set the Jets up nicely for a 2021 run at the playoffs.

New York Jets: Sam Darnold is getting a monster playmaker back

New York Jets, Chris Herndon

The New York Jets offense hasn’t been the same without second-year quarterback Sam Darnold, considering his first game back he managed to overcome a tough Dallas Cowboys team. Beating Dallas on Jerry Jones’ birthday is like celebrating Christmas twice, ask Giants fans.

With the Jets gearing up to face off against a stout New England Patriots team on Monday night, they’re also preparing to welcome back one of their best offensive weapons, tight end, Chris Herndon.

Darnold salivated over the idea of gaining back his security blanket, stating:

“Right now we’re just missing Chris, once all the guys are back together, I think we’re unstoppable as an offense or we can be,” Darnold said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s up to us how we execute or how well we go out there and play.

“It’s really up to us how many points we score, I think. I think we’re capable of scoring so many points. Our offensive line, too, they played well the last game, with the way we’ve been running the ball and the way they’ve been protecting, I think sky’s the limit for us.”

Darnold sliced the Cowboys defense for 338 yards on 23 completions and two touchdowns. The Patriots defense is an entirely different beast, though, as they allowed their first passing touchdown of the season last week against the Giants. Yes, you heard that right, their FIRST passing touchdown of the season.

The Jets undoubtedly have the talent to tack on the second and third, but it comes down to Darnold and if he can carry the momentum into Monday night.

What have the New York Jets been missing in Herndon?

The top tight end for the Jets amassed 502 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 over 12 games started. He’s not only a red-zone target for Darnold, but it was only his rookie season, and working out the kinks in his game was a priority. Going into his sophomore campaign with experience and chemistry with Darnold should make him a deadly option moving forward.

NFL has a Robert Kraft Problem, and They Helped To Create It

So any big news in the world of sports today? Oh, the owner of the NFL champions, the leagues latest and longest dynasty and one of the most influential individuals in American sports was busted engaging in a prostitution sting in Florida? This story has some interesting tangents to explore for the NFL as a league, Roger Goodell as commissioner, and even the POTUS.

First, let me start by saying this is something that the NFL should not have to adjudicate in any way. It’s essentially a private criminal matter for Kraft and his family to deal with. However, since Serpico Goodell has made any type of mild transgression by anyone who’s ever watched a football game his domain to act as judge/jury/executioner he is going to be forced to take some action on this. The fact its Kraft whose punishment he will be doling out makes it all the more complicated and likely to become a huge shitshow. Mazel Tov!

Goodell and Kraft have a long and complicated history, with Kraft going from one the strongest supporters of the commissioner to a guy who publicly labeled him a duplicitous liar and has convinced an entire region that Goodell actively hates the Patriots.

First, there were the fines and draft picks taken due to Spygate, followed by Tom Brady’s deflated balls and subsequent suspension. Kraft dropped his appeal for the latter because he thought the league would shorten or eliminate the suspension. When neither happened Kraft gave a statement that basically said he dropped the appeal and lawsuit for the good of the league and thoughts that would grant some leniency and that he felt Goodell screwed him. He may have even cried while screaming “Why?Why?”, or maybe that was Nancy Kerrigan. Either way, their relationship was destroyed at that point.

So the first issue is if Goodell can make a decision that won’t be viewed as biased against Kraft. League precedents include Colts owner Jim Irsay is suspended 6 games and fined 500k for drug/DUI related charges and Jerry Richardson being fined 2.75 million for a long pattern of sexual harassment within the Panthers organization. Kraft’s situation is in many ways more serious.

This is a league where conduct towards women is already a huge problem and Kraft is being implicated in a situation with elements of human trafficking,  forced prostitution, and there is a video of at least two instances. Even if Kraft goes into a diversion program and avoids criminal prosecution, that won’t be good enough for the NFL. League conduct rules are very clear “It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime.

We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.” If there is not serious ramifications for this incident I think the NFLPA and their attorneys will get very involved considering the zero-tolerance policy that players have been held to.

So what would a “reasonable” penalty be? It’s too soon to tell as evidence and information are still being released. It’s being reported that the women lived in the spa and that some were there against there will. If true and if reports that they were victims of trafficking are also true I’m not sure any suspension will be long enough. If a video is released or leaked it will make things even worse(although it shouldnt..but the NFL has shown time and again that video makes it harder to sweep away and they want no part of it). Also right now there are 2 incidents recorded, who knows how many times he actually was there or if he did other things like this. If this continues to snowball the league will have to consider its brand and I wonder if his ownership will become an issue.

As the commissioner and the league continue to navigate this there is another element to take into consideration. Robert Kraft is very close to one of the NFL’s most outspoken critics with an audience significant enough to be an issue. Donald J. Trump. Now I know as a sportswriter you never want to get into politics as it can only alienate half your readers, so understand this isn’t about policy but about his impact on the NFL.

His outspoken tweeting during the Kaepernick situation, and on the national anthem while not really something that could hurt the league,  was an irritant that no one wanted to deal with. The thought of daily tweet storms about whatever action the league takes in conjunction with Kraft and New England fans lambasting Goodell’s ability to be impartial is a recipe for an epic disaster. Factor in the NFLPA and the 90% of fans that hate the Patriots and those sides not thinking any penalty will be strong enough and you have a no-win situation.

The Kraft charges are a serious problem for the NFL and one with no good answer. The league has put itself into this situation by stepping further and further outside the realm of on-field or competition related discipline. It’s always been a slippery slope to hand out punishments with no real set parameters making it all look like it’s based on the whim of Roger Goodell in a given moment. This situation may be where the league finally falls down that slope and has to reassess its role in the off-field conduct of players and owners.