Any injury coming after Eric Decker‘s season-ending surgery shouldn’t surprise the extremely old New York Jets.
There were two certainties about the 2016 New York Jets that all backers wanted to completely ignore.
The murderous schedule the Jets faced was the first startling issue. Facing the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals the first six weeks of the season isn’t exactly a sweet way to begin an NFL season.
The other and far more overlooked aspect is the fact that the Jets are an old squad.
Entering the 2015 season, first-year general manager Mike Maccagnan managed to field the league’s 27th oldest team with an average age of 26.6. Heading into the 2015 campaign, Mikey Mac trimmed the age to 26.23, ranking them 21st in the NFL.
While 21st doesn’t sound too bad on the surface, digging deeper tells a more troubling story.
Too many of the top impact Jets players are nearing the end of their football lives:
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, 33
- Brandon Marshall, 32
- Nick Mangold, 32
- David Harris, 32
- Darrelle Revis, 31
- Kellen Davis, 31
- Matt Forte, 30
- Ryan Clady, 30
- Eric Henderson, 30
- Steve McLendon, 30
- Eric Decker, 29
Count ’em, that’s 11 of the Jets 22 starters on offense and defense that are at the age of 29 or older. Nearly 50 percent of the Jets starters are at that magical age of 30.
Therefore, should anybody be surprised when these guys start going down via injury?
The first blow officially came down on Wednesday in the form of Eric Decker, via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Expectation is that #Jets WR Eric Decker, with a torn rotator cuff, will have season-ending surgery, source said. He tried to go, couldn’t.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 12, 2016
Let’s not forget about Mr. Darrelle Revis, too. Revis, the future Pro Football Hall of Famer, has a bum hamstring forcing him to miss Week 5’s game in Pittsburgh. At Wednesday’s practice at Florham Park, Revis was still sidelined. In fact, he was sidelined with two other older Jets in Nick Mangold and David Harris, via Darryl Slater of NJ.com.
In all, that’s four of the Jets older players who were all missing in action on Wednesday: Decker, Revis, Mangold, and Harris — four impact starters on the squad.
When Maccagnan took the helm in 2015, he decided the “aggressive rebuild” was the route to take. Instead of the long, drawn-out youth movement, he decided to take on the likes of Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Brandon Marshall. He’s stuck by the claim that he’s maintained “cap flexibility” throughout the entire process.
Now, with the veteran-laced team dropping like flies, that claim better hold water moving forward.
If it doesn’t, these Jets could be in a world of hurt in 2017 and beyond.