1. Who will be the coach?
Todd Bowles was fired Sunday night, so it's officially time to move on. It makes sense for the Jets to pursue an offensive coach, and someone who can help Sam Darnold become the player the organization believes he can be. Of course, everyone wants the next Sean McVay, the wonderkid who has turned around the Rams. His quarterback coach Zac Taylor should be among the candidates the Jets interview. Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy also should receive a call. Other candidates include Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell. Former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was a name to watch before Minnesota fired him in-season. Oklahoma Lincoln Riley deserves a phone call, even if he says he’s staying in college.
2. Who will pick the coach and reload the roster?
Some believe that general manager Mike Maccagnan should follow Bowles out the door. The record the last three years – 5-11, 5-11 and 4-12 – are as much a reflection on the roster that Maccagnan assembled as Bowles’ coaching. It’s fair, but Maccagnan will stay and be allowed to use the roughly $100 million the Jets could have in free agency to spend on players. It was his rebuilding plan and CEO Christopher Johnson is expected to let Maccagnan execute it. Safety Jamal Adams, a staunch Bowles’ supporter, already put the pressure on Maccagnan to deliver “big-time players” and “names.” Adams already mentioned Le’Veon Bell, but he said the Jets need a lot more, and he’s right.
3. Whom will the Jets draft?
They’re picking third, so they should be able to get an impact player on defense. The Jets need an edge rusher. Ohio State’s Nick Bosa probably won’t fall to them, but they should have a number of defensive lineman/outside linebackers who can help them. Among them are Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Clemson’s Clelin Farrell, Houston’s Ed Oliver, Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams. The Jets don’t have a second-round pick, but they have two thirds.
4. Can the Jets recruit big-time free agents?
They should be attractive to free agents. First, they’re going to spend. Remember, they offered three years and $90 million – fully guaranteed – to Kirk Cousins. They gave Trumaine Johnson a five-year, $72.5-million deal. Second, they should interest free agents because they have two young cornerstone players: Darnold and Adams. Players want to play with good quarterbacks and the Jets believe they have a star on the rise. Adams is well respected around the league and talks to players all the time. Game recognizes game, so maybe Adams can help recruit some guys.
5. Other than edge rusher, where do the Jets need help?
Just about everywhere. They’re good at quarterback and safety, especially once Marcus Maye is healthy. But they need a No. 1 receiver, a proven lead running back and a revamped offensive line. On defense, they need help on the line, at linebacker and in the secondary. Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine are both free agents. It won’t be a quick fix for the Jets, but they have the assets to fill holes.