After a disappointing 5-11 season, the Jets enter a critical offseason when they must retool their roster if there is any hope of breaking their six-year playoff drought.
The man in charge of that rebuild is general manager Mike Maccagnan, who will meet with reporters Thursday for the first time since mid-November. Maccagnan usually says little at these press gatherings, but he has some questions to answer with fan confidence in him and coach Todd Bowles at a low point since they took over two years ago.
Maccagnan must show some accountability for his role in the 5-11 season, and a little show of passion would be nice. Neither Maccagnan nor Bowles ever seems as upset as their fans. There is plenty to dissect from this season, but looking ahead to his plan for 2017 is even more interesting.
Here are five questions we would like him to answer Thursday:
Maccagnan tried to plug holes with veterans in his first two years while restocking the roster through the draft. Two years into this, how does he feel that roster rebuild is going? There were anonymous quotes this season, clearly from inside the Jets’ front office, about Maccagnan needing two more drafts to get this thing right. Does he feel that way?
At the moment, this does not look like a playoff team in 2017. There is plenty of work to come this offseason, so he can drastically alter that view. Does he think they can turn this around in 2017?
The second-round pick from Penn State could determine Maccagnan’s fate with the Jets. If the quarterback flops, Maccagnan could pay with his job. If Hackenberg becomes a franchise quarterback, Maccagnan will look like a genius.
ESPN quoted an anonymous coach over the weekend saying Hackenberg couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean. Maccagnan never would admit it if he regrets the Hackenberg pick, but how he answers the questions will be telling. Yes, this one will be about reading between the lines.
Maccagnan is not going to touch this one with any depth, but maybe he will acknowledge the need to bring in a veteran quarterback. Does he feel Hackenberg or Bryce Petty has shown enough to compete for the starting job? Would he draft another quarterback?
As usual, the Jets’ offseason revolves around who will be playing quarterback.
The Revis contract falls more on owner Woody Johnson than Maccagnan. There is no doubt Johnson wanted Revis to return. Still, that five-year, $70 million contract handed out in 2015 looks pretty terrible now. The Jets gave Revis $39 million guaranteed to be a shutdown corner, and after a shaky 2015, Revis completely fell off the cliff in 2016.
So, will the Jets cut Revis and eat the $6 million guaranteed he is owed this year? Will they try to move him to safety? This is another set of questions Maccagnan will tiptoe around, but something might be gleaned from the way he answers the questions about Revis.
Maccagnan’s first draft class is 32 games into its NFL career, a fair measuring stick. Defensive end Leonard Williams is the only slam dunk in that 2015 class, but linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin and nose tackle Deon Simon both showed promising flashes this season. It is too soon to judge the 2016 class, but linebacker Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins played a good amount. How does he feel about their potential? Does he see Brandon Shell as a starter in 2017 after finishing his rookie year starting at right tackle?
The Jets signed K Ross Martin to a reserve/future contract. Martin spent last offseason with the Jets before getting cut at the end of training camp.