The New York Jets 2018 NFL season is officially here with Sam Darnold leading the way and ESNY brings its official preview and predictions.
It’s here. We’re here. The New York Jets have been prepped, trained and forced to be completely ready for Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season for this opening instance comes under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
Just one year ago, tanking was the talk of the town. Three, two, one or even zero wins was the prediction on the docket from many so-called “football analysts.”
I didn’t buy it. In fact, early on in the summer—shortly after the Eric Decker and David Harris release—I confidently labeled New York’s roster “improved” compared to the old and tired one that finished up the disappointing 2016 campaign. After all, names such as Harris, Decker, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall and others weren’t really bringing production along with them. Only age was walking out of the door.
Most onlookers couldn’t grasp that. I called for a 6-10 season. Of course, the Jets finished with five wins, one shy of the prediction.
Now, things seem to be turned on its head a little as some outlets, including the illustrious Sports Illustrated, have the Jets sneaking into the AFC side of the tournament.
Could I be, yet again, at odds with the so-called “experts,” this time on the other end of the spectrum?
Either way, 2018 accounts for a season full of hope with a young buck leading the way as the new face of the franchise.
Here’s ESNY’s New York Jets 2018 season preview and predictions with Robby Sabo and Paul Esden Jr.:
Additions / Losses
Demario Davis, LB
You have to give general manager Mike Maccagnan some serious love for this player-for-player swap trade (Calvin Pryor). Demario Davis had a career year, one that we had never seen before on 1 Jets Drive. Then the Jets, in the offseason, didn’t even offer Double-D a contract, deciding to move on for one of their key additions at linebacker (more on that later).
Once one of the best young stars in the NFL transformed into a spoiled brat who had become a locker room cancer, the Jets wisely released Muhammad Wilkerson and saved a ton of cap space this offseason.
Matt Forte, RB
The Jets lost their veteran running back to retirement, which worked out for all parties because the green and white were looking to get younger in their backfield.
The Jets and ASJ’s camp were separated by $2 million in contract negotiations. The Jets drew a line in the sand and decided to move on. With the current group the Jets possess, it seems like the team downgraded at the tight end position with this key loss.
Several of these names will be questioned for their placement in the key loss category, but to be honest, there was no other category. Johnson isn’t even on an NFL roster as I type this and he was the starting center all of last season. Speaks to the offensive line depth.
The Christian Hackenberg experiment was over before it ever began. The end was official when they traded their signal caller to the Oakland Raiders for a conditional seventh-round draft choice. How’d the Jets even get a seventh?
Bryce Petty, QB
A really nice guy, but that’s about it. He was never the future and he never converted from the system offense at Baylor to a pro system. In the offseason, he signed on with the Miami Dolphins.
Kony Ealy, DL
Kony Ealy was a late waiver-wire addition last season that was a key rotational piece on the defensive line. He signed on with the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason, but is currently a free agent. His pass deflections on the defensive line was a welcomed addition.
Chandler was a pleasant surprise last season, but the Jets decided to try and improve with Cairo Santos, who never played a snap for Jets. The kicker position will be a key aspect to watch out for this season for the Jets.
Terrelle Pryor, WR
Veteran playmaker Terrelle Pryor tallied over 1,000 yards with the Cleveland Browns a few years ago. He’s a big red-zone target that offers a different kind of body at the wide receiver position for the Jets in 2018.
Sam Darnold, QB
This addition can’t be understated. Sam Darnold is the present and future of the New York Jets. When he officially takes his first snap on Monday Night Football, he’ll become the youngest starting Week 1 quarterback since the merger.
Nathan Shepherd, DL
With Muhammad Wilkerson out the door, the Jets will turn to another rookie to help out immediately. Shepherd is a big body that is more developed than most rookies at his advanced age. He’ll have to transition quickly to a much higher level of competition though.
The Jets utilized a fourth-round draft selection on an intriguing tight end from Miami who should be able to contribute right away (sense a theme here?) A really nice athlete with loads of potential.
Parry Nickerson, CB
A feisty corner out of Tulane who will backup Buster Skrine this season, if Parry Nickerson is called upon, he can make an impact with his playmaking skills and competitiveness.
Trumaine Johnson, CB
The prized gem of the 2018 free agency class for the Jets received the second highest free agent contract in NFL history for a cornerback. He’s arguably the most important player to the entire Jets team this season.
Spencer Long, C
I think it’s obvious that the Jets improved the center position this offseason, but the big question is by how much? That all depends on Long’s health. He has a long track record of injuries in the pros.
Avery Williamson, LB
The Jets chose Avery Williamson, a younger more effective option then Demario Davis this offseason. He’s supposed to call plays on defense if Darron Lee fails in that department. Regardless, Williamson should be a three-down backer for the Jets this season and many seasons to come.
While Teddy is no longer on this Jets squad, it was a major addition for this team. They invested a monetary value of $1 million and got back a premium pick (2019 third-round draft choice). You can’t do much better than that.
Isaiah Crowell, RB
I mentioned earlier that the Jets wanted to get younger in the backfield and they sure did exactly with the addition of Isaiah Crowell. He won’t impress you with his flashiness, but he’s effective and that’s ultimately what the Jets need.
Henry Anderson, DL
An almost forgotten about addition, but a key one for certain. Anderson was forced out of Indianapolis because the Colts transitioned from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. Worked out beautifully for the Jets because they got a really good scheme fit and it only cost them a seventh-round draft choice.