Jets End-of-Season Mailbag: What positions must be addressed this offseason?

Jets GM Joe Douglas
Jets GM Joe Douglas / USA TODAY Sports/SNY Treated Image

The Jets made legitimate progress this year. You can’t deny that. Maybe that makes the bitter taste left in their mouths after losing their final six games -- keeping them out of the playoffs -- a bit more manageable.

This is a team clearly headed in the right direction. They have problems they must solve this offseason — but they’re on the right path.

So, with the Jets offseason officially underway, what’s to come over the ensuing months?

We answered that, and much more, in our end-of-season mailbag.

@BKJYK1287: Who will be the Jets starting quarterback next year?

The reports of Woody Johnson’s anger at how this season ended aren’t overblown. There’s a very, very clear playoff mandate for both head coach Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas in 2023. The two men do still believe in quarterback Zach Wilson, but realize they cannot risk their jobs on his development. They will acquire a veteran quarterback this offseason they believe can take them to the playoffs.

The two you’ll hear linked to the Jets are Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders) and Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers). There will be obvious interest in both. I’d tend to lean more towards Carr than Garoppolo for durability reasons.

Again: Saleh and Douglas have a playoff mandate. The last thing they need is to sign a player they believe can get them there, only to have an injury put them back where they were this season. Carr has played 15-plus games every year of his career. Garoppolo has played a full season just once since he joined the 49ers in 2017.

The wild card is Lamar Jackson. The Jets will be on Line 1 if the Baltimore Ravens actually entertain offers for him — still something several of my league sources doubt happens. I do like the Jets' chances of getting something done if that opportunity presents itself. That’s the type of move that Johnson loves to make and it would solidify New York’s quarterback position for the foreseeable future.

And, unlike when the Jets didn’t pursue Deshaun Watson (pre-allegations), New York can afford to part with draft capital this offseason because they are believed to be just a quarterback away.

@Cmcglynn84: Is there any chance the Jets get aggressive pursuing a trade up for a rookie quarterback this offseason?

It would surprise me. The Jets can’t afford to roll the dice on another rookie quarterback after missing so wildly on Wilson. They need someone they know can get them to the postseason. It would also go against everything they’ve said to this point about not wanting to give up on Wilson because once they draft a new quarterback well, Wilson’s time in New York is over.

Correct: Coaches and GMs lie all the time. This would be a new level, though. In all likelihood you’re looking at a proven veteran with Wilson as the backup. I could see the Jets having a quarterback room of Garoppolo, Mike White and Wilson, if they went the Jimmy G route, to protect against his injury concerns.

Among the first things Douglas stressed at his introductory press conference was the need for the Jets to rebuild their offensive line. It’s rather alarming that, three years later, the line is still atop that list. A healthy Alijah Vera-Tucker is a cornerstone. The Jets do like Max Mitchell as their long-term answer at right tackle. There are legitimate concerns outside of that at left tackle, left guard (after Laken Tomlinson’s struggles), and center (Connor McGovern is a free agent).

Aside from that, though, the Jets must address the safety, linebacker and interior defensive line positions. Lamarcus Joyner (safety) just isn’t good enough, there’s a chance both C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams (linebackers) are gone next year, and they need more beef to help shut down the run (defensive tackle).

You can get cute with some other spots, too, like receiver (to replace Corey Davis) and another running back, but those spots above, along with quarterback, must be addressed.

@SanzoneBrandon: What are the chances the Jets get a veteran offensive coach?

Oh that’s happening. Saleh basically confirmed it at his end-of-season press conference on Monday. It clearly was a mistake not having that person in place before this season, but it’s hard to fault Saleh’s line of thinking. He felt it would be best for Wilson to have as few voices in his ear as possible.

Think about his rookie season. Mike LaFleur, Rob Calabrese, Greg Knapp, Matt Cavanaugh and John Beck were all in Wilson’s ear at different points. The Jets insisted they were all preaching the same message, but still, that’s a lot of voices for a young player.

Saleh wanted to change that, so in 2022, the only people in the quarterback room were LaFleur and Calabrese. It didn’t work as the Jets greatly would have benefited from a veteran coaching presence, which is why Saleh is going to add one this offseason. A name to watch: Gary Kubiak.


@StevenCosenza: How much longer should the Jets stick with Mekhi Becton?

It was great to see Becton in the Jets locker room on Monday. He looks great. Not only physically, but he seemed to really be in a great place mentally. He understands most of the football world is counting him out. That has humbled and re-motivated him. That’s great news for the Jets.

From a football perspective, though, Becton is a lottery ticket. The Jets aren’t going into 2023 with any expectations. They’ll be over-the-moon happy if he bounces back and becomes the player they thought he was when they drafted him in the first round, but they cannot bank on that. He hasn’t played in almost two years — and his rookie season still had some concerns (seven sacks allowed).

The Jets will likely have Mitchell starting at their right tackle, then pair a veteran with Becton on the left side. If Becton beats that veteran out? Great. The Jets line won’t be sunk if his durability concerns rear their ugly head again.

@Garr3ttWilson: What does your realistic offense look like for the Jets in 2023?

I love the Jets' chances of acquiring Jackson if the Ravens make him available, I just doubt the Ravens make him available.

So I’ll go with this: Derek Carr (free agent or trade) at quarterback. Breece Hall, Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight at running back. Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore and Darius Slayton (free agent) at receiver. C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin and Jeremy Ruckert at tight end. Then, on the offensive line, Duane Brown, Tomlinson, Vera-Tucker, John Michael Schmitz (rookie) and Mitchell.

@JetsByJack: What positions must the Jets address this offseason?

Among the first things Douglas stressed at his introductory press conference was the need for the Jets to rebuild their offensive line. It’s rather alarming that, three years later, the line is still atop that list. A healthy Alijah Vera-Tucker is a cornerstone. The Jets do like Max Mitchell as their long-term answer at right tackle. There are legitimate concerns outside of that at left tackle, left guard (after Laken Tomlinson’s struggles), and center (Connor McGovern is a free agent).

Aside from that, though, the Jets must address the safety, linebacker and interior defensive line positions. Lamarcus Joyner (safety) just isn’t good enough, there’s a chance both C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams (linebackers) are gone next year, and they need more beef to help shut down the run (defensive tackle).

You can get cute with some other spots, too, like receiver (to replace Corey Davis) and another running back, but those spots above, along with quarterback, must be addressed.