In less than two weeks, the Jets will embark on the most hyped season in franchise history. One of the greatest quarterbacks in league history is under center for them. There are new faces on either side of the ball, including running back Dalvin Cook. The defense is coming off a sensational year and the offensive line is finally coming to fruition ahead of the season.
This has the makings of a dream year, but it won’t be perfect.
Let’s discuss three bold Jets predictions for 2023:
Early pass game struggles. Rodgers is in town so that should erase absolutely every single issue the Jets had in the passing game from last year, right?
Well, it’ll help a tremendous amount to have a future Hall of Famer throwing the ball. But there are still some question marks at receiver behind reigning Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson.
Allen Lazard is a decent No. 2 receiver but has just one season with more than 40 catches and only recorded a 60% catch rate last year (for comparison, former Giants wideout Richie James led the league at 81.4%). Then you have 33-year-old Randall Cobb who has just one season in the last five with over 38 catches and has missed games each of the last seven years. And Mecole Hardman, who’s coming off an injury-plagued season (eight games).
Following the trade of Denzel Mims and Corey Davis’ retirement, the Jets are left with Charles Irvin and undrafted free agents Jason Brownlee and Xavier Gipson as the reserves.
Wilson is en route to becoming one of the league’s best receivers and tight end Tyler Conklin is also pretty damn talented. But there’s a true lack of options for Rodgers here.
Sauce Gardner is defensive player of the year. Second-year corner Sauce Gardner will keep rising after a sensational Rookie of the Year campaign. He’s already established himself as a top-three corner, if not the No. 1 corner, in the NFL. And he will have even more eyes on him with the Jets being the talk of the league.
Gardner’s length and vision allowed him to compete against top-tier wide receivers as a 22-year-old. Now with a year under coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s watch alongside a mostly returning defense, Gardner’s experience should allow him to reach that next level, which will be a scary sight for AFC East quarterbacks.
Gardner’s next step will be to emerge in the turnover game — he picked off just two passes last year. But that’s if quarterbacks even want to look his way much to begin with.
Jets swing big trade at the deadline. The NFL trade deadline will arrive on Oct. 31, seven games into the Jets’ regular-season schedule.
If they do indeed have struggles through the air with limited options at receiver, general manager Joe Douglas could make one of the biggest moves of his career and bring Davante Adams to Florham Park.
Listen, we all know the legitimate possibility Adams wants out of Vegas, especially after the Raiders released starting quarterback Derek Carr. While Carr isn’t a star by any means, he’s still a close friend and college teammate of Adams and is a more competent starter than Jimmy Garoppolo, who the Raiders acquired this offseason.
Would Adams rather be in Vegas on what’s looking to be a third-, maybe fourth-place team with Garoppolo? Or would he rather be in the Big Apple gunning for a Super Bowl with the man partly responsible for his incredible Packers tenure?
Would the Jets rather sit tight at receiver? Or would they rather maximize this brief championship window by reuniting one of the more productive quarterback-receiver tandems of the last decade?
The stars could certainly align.
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