In a weird way, the extreme offseason teardown of the New York Jets might have helped coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan.
The Jets came into the season with the lowest expectations imaginable. Many wondered if they’d win a game. In that prism, the Jets’ 5-10 season doesn’t look too bad. It was enough for the Jets to extend the contracts of Bowles and Maccagnan with a glowing statement about the direction of the franchise. Multiple reports said the extensions are for two years and run through 2020.
“We are very happy to have extended both Mike and Todd. During their time here, they have worked together to help the organization build a foundation on which to grow,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. “They are identifying, developing, and getting productivity out of our players. I believe we are headed in the right direction. This provides us continuity and stability as we continue to move this team towards sustained success. We still have a lot of work to do and I am excited to work closely with both of them as we move forward.”
As most of the NFL continues to follow the college football model and scream for mass firings every time a team loses a big game, it’s refreshing to see the Jets take a prudent approach. They could have seen a 10-loss season and fired everyone, and nobody would have argued. But that would be lacking context.
Bowles did a fine job keeping his team afloat in the first half of the season. Without much talent on hand, the Jets were still able to get some nice wins and be competitive in most of their other games, including a near-win against the New England Patriots. Maccagnan tore things down, dumping some malcontents and bad contracts, and the Jets clearly favored the slow rebuild instead of a quick fix. The draft class has produced pretty well. Some of the low-level free-agent moves have worked out. Even trading defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to Seattle for receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick has worked out much better than anyone figured (read our winners and losers of every major trade in 2017 here).
Even though the Jets are 5-10, there were positive signs. Players played hard for Bowles. Maccagnan’s roster played better than anyone expected. In an NFL world that grows less and less patient every season, it’s nice to see the Jets take a different approach.
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