Every now and then, a team's season can be summarized by one game. For the 2022 New York Jets, that game was their 10-3 defeat to New England in Week 11, a loss that showed what the Jets still lacked in their quest to be a title-contending team.
The loss to the Patriots made it abundantly clear that the Jets simply didn't have the offense necessary to compete for a championship in Robert Saleh's second year in the Big Apple. The Jets' offensive woes only got worse from there, as New York won just one more game -- closing out the season on a six-game skid to finish 7-10.
While it was a disappointing finish, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic if you're a Jets fan. The team boasted the league's fourth-best defense last season, led by Pro Bowlers Sauce Gardner, Quinnen Williams and C.J. Mosley. Running back Breece Hall was enjoying a stellar rookie season until he suffered an injury. Fellow rookie Garrett Wilson turned in a prolific season that saw him catch 83 passes for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns.
In Saleh, it appears that the Jets have a coach who is capable of getting Gang Green back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Here are three things the Jets should do this offseason in order to make the postseason a reality in 2023.
Find a franchise quarterback
Quarterback was the Jets' biggest issue last season, and it should be New York's primary focus this offseason. Fortunately for them, there are several accomplished veteran quarterbacks who will be available via free agency.
Jimmy Garoppolo makes a lot of sense for the Jets. He knows Saleh from their time together in San Francisco. Garoppolo is not a game manager, but he also doesn't have to throw the ball 50 times to be effective, which bodes well for a Jets team that needs a quarterback that won't lose games for them.
Derek Carr may be another option, but given his rocky 2022 season, he likely isn't at the top of the Jets' wish list. Tom Brady, however, would be another story. The biggest question is whether or not Brady wants to return to the AFC East during the final stage of his career. While it doesn't seem likely, Brady coming to the Big Apple can't be ruled out, especially given Brady's possible desire to face the Patriots twice a year.
Regardless of who it is, the Jets need to bring someone in who is definitely better than Zach Wilson and Mike White. That shouldn't be hard to do, given the subpar play of the Jets' quarterbacks this past fall.
Upgrade the offensive line
Alijah Vera-Tucker and Laken Tomlinson are the only linemen who appear to be locks to start on the Jets' offensive line next season. New York had one of the worst lines in the league last season, so the Jets will need to bring in several new players to help fix this issue.
Expect the Jets to use both the draft as well as free agency to upgrade their offensive line. CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Chris Trapasso has the Jets taking Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronski with the 13th overall pick in April's draft. The 6'4, 315-pound Skoronski won the coveted Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year this past year while also being a unanimous All-American.
It would be costly, but the Jets could make a run at Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. should he test the open market. Guard Matt Pryor and tackle Cameron Erving are other possible, more affordable options once free agency starts.
Strengthen the skill positions
Each of the Jets' skill players outside of Hall and Wilson are expendable. And with Hall coming off an ACL injury, the Jets would be wise to make upgrades at running back this offseason.
DJ Chark would be an optimal acquisition in free agency if the Lions don't re-sign him. JuJu Smith-Schuster may also be an option if the Chiefs let him test the market. Kareem Hunt and Jamaal Williams are possible options at running back this offseason. Josh Jacobs may also be available, but the Jets would have to pay a pretty penny to acquire the .league's reigning rushing champion.
Boston College's Zay Flowers, North Carolina's Josh Downs, Tennessee's Jalin Hyatt are possible Day Two options should the Jets try to acquire a receiver at that point in the draft. Flowers caught 12 touchdowns for the Eagles last fall. Downs caught 11 touchdowns and 94 passes for the Tar Heels in 2022. Hyatt pulled down a whopping 15 touchdowns last fall while helping the Volunteers go 11-2.