Joe Douglas has made a lot of big decisions since he was hired as the Jets' general manager one year ago. But it's still hard to judge his work in just one year when so many of the players he's brought in haven't even hit the field.
Still, there's been enough action (or inaction in some cases) to try. So here's a look at the best and worst of the short Douglas era, and a peek at what's to come:
Trading Leonard Williams
The entire league knew the Jets weren't going to keep Leonard Williams in 2020, and since he wasn't having much of an impact, there wasn't much of a market for him at the deadline. Yet somehow, Douglas squeezed a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick out of Dave Gettleman and the Giants for a player the Giants could've easily just signed as a free agent five months later.
It was a steal. Though most of the credit for this deal has turned into criticism of Gettleman, Douglas deserves praise for somehow getting a return that no one around the league ever imagined he would get.
Focusing on offensive line
Douglas made it clear from his first day on the job that he believed in building his team from the trenches on out, and he has stuck to it the entire way. Most of his work in free agency was centered around a complete rebuild of the line, signing Connor McGovern, George Fant and Greg Van Roten and re-signing Alex Lewis. Then he used the 11th overall pick on Mekhi Becton.
The result is more talent up front than the Jets have had in years, which should give quarterback Sam Darnold the protection he needs to actually run Adam Gase's offense. An offense simply can't work if the quarterback is on the run or the running back doesn't have blockers. Lots of GMs say that. Douglas turned his words into action.
Draft day deals
When the Jets, desperate for a receiver, traded down from the 48th pick of the draft in Round 2, it was hard to understand their strategy. They could have stayed put and selected Baylor's Denzel Mims or several other highly rated receivers. By trading down, they risked ending up with none.
No one should have questioned Douglas, though. He picked up an extra third-rounder in the deal, dropped 11 spots, and still was able to select Mims. Then he later turned that third-round pick (101st) into three more picks in another deal. And then he capped his day off by trading a sixth-round pick -- a place where teams usually find special-teamers and bottom-of-the-roster players -- to Indianapolis for cornerback Quincy Wilson, a former second-round pick who is still only 23 years old.
That's a master class in managing the draft and maximizing value.
The Kelechi Osemele injury mess
This wasn't Douglas' fault, but it was an ugly situation that he needed to get under control before it became public. Last October, Osemele -- just seven months after the Jets acquired the offensive lineman in a deal with the Raiders -- told the Jets he needed surgery on a shoulder he hurt back in August. The Jets disagreed and told him to play,
Osemele and his doctors said he couldn't even practice. The Jets' response to that was to fine him for every practice he missed, which was an absolutely terrible look that stunned many players (including some of their own). Eventually, Osemele went ahead and had surgery. The Jets finally ended everything by releasing him.
If the Jets really believed he wasn't hurt, there probably wasn't an easy solution. But it was Douglas' job to find one before Osemele felt the need to go to the press. And no matter the reason, fining a player for not practicing when a doctor insisted he needed surgery on his shoulder looked really bad to a lot of people who were watching around the league.
Signing C Ryan Kalil
One of Douglas' first moves was to lure veteran center Ryan Kalil out of retirement to help the Jets' weak offensive line. It wasn't a bad gamble, even at $8.4 million for one season. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro, and the Jets needed help.
But at 34, Kalil was clearly done, and it didn't help that he was rushing out of retirement. The results were predictable. He couldn't play in the preseason, got off to a shaky start, never played well, and after seven games landed on injured reserve with an injured knee.
It didn't hurt the Jets financially in the long run, but they would've been better off letting Jonotthan Harrison be their starting center from Day 1 so they could use that money somewhere else.
Not aggressively pursuing a receiver
This was somewhat stunning, given most people would've identified this position as one of the Jets' biggest holes. Granted, there wasn't much available on the market, though they could've gotten Emmanuel Sanders for $8 million per year. They did bring in Breshad Perriman, but all he did was replace Robby Anderson, who left for Carolina.
But during the offeason, Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins and Brandin Cooks were all traded and there's no indication the Jets were serious players for any of them. They probably couldn't have gotten Diggs, considering the Bills gave up a first-rounder as a part of a four-pick package. Cooks, who went for a second-rounder, was expensive given his injury history. But the price for Hopkins was only a fourth-round pick.
The Jets would've undoubtedly been better with any of those three on their roster. Right now, Sam Darnold's array of weapons is questionable at best.
Future moves to watch
Jamal Adams contract
This isn't just the next item on Douglas' agenda, it's the biggest. Douglas is in a bad spot. He seems to sincerely want to pay Adams and make him a "Jet for life" and the highest-paid safety in the NFL. But Adams is all but demanding his money now, even though he has little leverage with two years left on his contract.
Also, the NFL is facing a lot of uncertainty about its revenues for the 2020 season, which could have a dramatic impact on the 2021 salary cap. That makes it hard to give anyone such a big contract, even if the Jets were so inclined.
Douglas has to somehow walk the tightrope between what's best for the Jets and keeping the peace with Adams, who has already made it clear he's unhappy. As outspoken as Adams is, this has the potential to get worse.
Sam Darnold's contract
One year after the Jets drafted Adams, they drafted Darnold, which puts the quarterback just one year behind the safety in the search for that megadeal. Quarterback contracts are crazy, but teams that have a franchise quarterback know they have to pay it. The problem for Douglas is he has to determine if Darnold is really worthy of a contract that, by the time he's ready, could be worth $40 million per year.
Also, he has to be aware of Darnold's situation as he deals with Adams. If Douglas does give Adams his contract extension after just three years in the league, Darnold will surely insist on similar treatment. So really, there are two tightropes for Douglas to carefully walk.
Adam Gase's future
A big selling point for Douglas coming in as the Jets GM was his relationship with Gase, but don't assume they are stuck with each other. Douglas seems to like Gase and believe in him as a coach, but no one is sure how far his faith in his friend goes.
If Gase wins and leads the Jets to the playoffs (or close) than this won't be an issue. But if the Jets struggle again under Gase in Year 2 after last year's lost season, Douglas will have a big decision to make at the end of the year. And if that happens, it could be very tempting for the GM to want to bring in his own coach.