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NFL Offseason Outlook: For The Two-Win Jets, It’s All About Who Is Under Center To Start 2021

The 2020 season for the New York Jets was supposed to be the “Tank for Trevor” season. The team was going to ‘tank’ the season to get the first overall pick and draft quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Leave it up to a bunch of proud players to find a way to win two of their last three games after starting the year 0-13 and allowing the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars to sneak in for the first overall pick.

Now sitting at No. 2 overall, there will be plenty of options for the Jets if they want to draft a quarterback. Otherwise, the team still have youngster Sam Darnold, who could slide right back into the starting role if the team wants to go that route.

But that’s not likely.

Darnold is almost surely on his way out, meaning that the Jets are either going to go with a rookie, or they are going to do whatever they can to make a push for Deshaun Watson.

One day, Watson is all about playing in New York, and then the next day, he wants nothing to do with playing there. So who knows where his mindset will be at the end of April when the NFL Draft takes place.

So with all the drama surrounding the Jets, the two big things to note are the fact this team has 25 pending free agents and a whopping $66.438 million in cap space to play with.

Here’s a list of the free agents for the Jets as things get heated up with a few weeks to go before free agency starts:

RB Josh Adams, 25
C Josh Andrews, 30
TE Daniel Brown, 29
G Pat Elflein, 27
QB Joe Flacco, 36
RB Frank Gore, 38
WR Breshad Perriman, 28
WR Jeff Smith, 24
WR Vyncint Smith, 25
TE Ross Travis, 28
LB Tarell Bashman, 27
CB Kyron Brown, 25
DT Trevon Coley, 27
S Matthias Farley, 29
LB Bryce Hager, 29
LB Neville Hewitt, 28
CB Bennett Jackson, 30
LB Harvey Langi, 29
LB Frankie Luvu, 25
CB Arthur Maulet, 28
S Marcus Maye, 27
S Bradley McDougald, 31
LB Patrick Onwuasor, 29
CB Brain Poole, 29

Offseason Outlook: Everything with this team starts and ends with that second overall pick.

Is new coach Robert Saleh ready to give Sam Darnold another shot as the team’s starting quarterback, or is the Darnold era over after just three seasons in which he’s gone 13-25 as a starter?

With Lawrence going to the Jags (at least that’s what everyone says), there are a few names to watch for the Jets to draft and insert at the QB spot: Zach Wilson of BYU, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Trey Lance of North Dakota State and Mac Jones of Alabama.

The free agents the team has are probably not going to come back, as this team needs to upgrade the offense in a big way.

The club was last in the league in 2020, scoring just 15.2 points per game. With close to $70 million to spend, look for the team to grab at least one big name wide out in free agency (JuJu Smith-Schuster is one name to watch) and perhaps a running back as well.

One name that is possibly worth bringing back is receiver Breshad Perriman, who last season had 30 catches for 505 yards and three scores. Those aren’t huge numbers, but they’re good enough to complement a team that needs playmakers all over the field.

Until the Jets make that all-important QB decision, it’s going to be an interesting offseason of decisions for Gang Green.

Look for a lot of moves as the Jets look to get back to form with a new coach, new GM, and likely, a new quarterback at the start of 2021.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

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