Nine straight seasons with no playoff berths means the Jets are facing another offseason of mass changes.
Many players will play their last games as Jets on Sunday in Buffalo. Many already have. Some players have helped themselves and earned another contract.
General manager Joe Douglas and coach Adam Gase have some easy decisions to make. But they also have some tough ones in their first offseason together trying to build a roster that they believe will contend at some point.
The Big Three
The Jets have to decide if Jamal Adams, Le’Veon Bell and Robby Anderson are a part of their future.
Adams has been the Jets’ best player this season. He really elevated his game and became a true impact player under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
The Jets listened to offers for Adams before the trade deadline and will receive more this offseason. Unless Douglas receives a Godfather offer – one he can’t refuse – the Jets will keep Adams and give him a Godfather-like extension.
Bell’s future is a little murkier. The Jets could explore trades for the former Pro Bowl running back, and Bell may welcome a change of scenery and systems.
His fit in Gase’s offense and whether Gase will adjust his system to maximize Bell’s skills are legitimate questions. Gase prefers big passing numbers and more of a running back by committee. He wasn’t totally on board with the Bell signing.
There are questions about Bell’s skills being diminished. After sitting out last season, Bell hasn’t had the same explosiveness or speed to get outside. The offensive line’s struggles have contributed to Bell’s lack of production.
Gase and Bell need to have an open and honest discussion to decide whether they can work together and flourish.
Anderson’s strong finish has set him up for a big payday. The Jets want to bring Anderson back but at what cost?
The receiver class isn’t stacked so Anderson could be in high demand. He’s never caught more than 63 passes or had a 1,000-yard season. But he could seek a salary starting at around $12 million if not more.
Anderson has good chemistry with Sam Darnold, and showed improvement as a route runner and with his ability to make catches in traffic. The Jets want to re-sign him, but they also need to spend on other needs.
Who won’t be back?
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson ended the season on injured reserve, and will start next year in a new uniform. Johnson played in 17 games, was benched twice and was beaten often after the Jets gave him a five-year, $72.5 million deal in 2018. The Jets save $3 million by waiving him before March 20.
Running back Ty Montgomery also looked like a good signing. But he wasn’t used much in the backfield and wasn’t the weapon many expected him to be. Montgomery has played far more special teams snaps than offensive snaps.
Signing veteran center Ryan Kalil looked good at the time. It turned out to be a mistake. Kalil barely participated in camp after Douglas talked him out of retirement and played just seven games. They were better with Jonotthan Harrison.
Right guard Brian Winters was a mainstay before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. The Jets are expected to revamp the offensive line, and cutting him saves $7.28 million.
Tackle Brandon Shell was benched early, but he was re-inserted because of the injuries on the offensive line. The free agent is likely gone.
Who’s on the fence?
Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins has been one of the Jets’ most productive pass rushers and a favorite of his defensive coaches. They need to find a true edge rusher, but Jenkins could be back.
Middle linebacker Avery Williamson was the Jets’ top tackler in 2018. He and Mosley together are a good linebacker tandem. Cutting Williamson would save the Jets $6.5 million, but they could try to rework his deal.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum is a consummate pro and a leader. He played through injuries all season, which the coaching staff appreciated. But he’s a free agent and they could look for upgrades.
Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa suffered a season-ending neck injury in Week 1. He wants to resume playing, but it’s unclear if he can or how effective he can be after a second neck injury in three years. He also blasted the Jets on social media after being fined for missing rehab assignments.
Who helped themselves?
Guard Alex Lewis, acquired from Baltimore for a seventh-round pick, helped stabilize the O-line after becoming a starter in Week 5. The Jets want to keep him.
Linebacker Neville Hewitt became an important player and the defensive play-caller with C.J. Mosley missing 14 games and Avery Williamson out the entire season. Hewitt has the third-most tackles on the team.
Linebacker James Burgess has been cut nine times, but he made a strong case to stick with the Jets. All the injuries at linebacker gave Burgess his shot and he’s second in tackles, despite playing only nine games.
Wide receiver Vyncint Smith, signed during the Jets' bye week, showed he has playmaking ability and toughness. He could have a bigger role if he’s back.
Cornerback Arthur Maulet was cut seven times, including by the Jets in October. Injuries opened the door for Maulet and he’s played well. He’s set to start his sixth straight game on Sunday.