Max Pennacchio | Contributing Writer
The Jets have not played any playoff football for nearly a decade. The last time they were in the postseason was in 2011, when they were one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance since Joe Namath led Jets in 1969.
It’s been a tough stretch for Jets fans, but there seems to be a glimmer of hope for the future that all started when they ended their stretch of journeymen quarterbacks by selecting a young and promising prospect, Sam Darnold, in the 2018 NFL Draft.
There was no guarantee that Darnold would be there for the Jets with the third pick, but the football gods seemed to smile in their favor when he slipped to them with the third pick.
The Jets rebuild started before they landed their coveted quarterback, but it never felt like the rebuild could really get going until they found a long-term solution for the most important position in football.
Once Darnold donned the green and white, the fanbase felt a massive weight lifted off their shoulders.
One year into the Darnold era and he’s shown the world what he’s capable of. Like most rookies, Darnold’s had his bumps, but flashes of brilliance have also been shown. As he gets more experience, he can develop into the franchise quarterback the Jets faithful have been dying for.
This off-season, the Jets came in with the second most cap space in the NFL at nearly $100 million available. It was no secret that they would be big spenders, setting their sights on the big-ticket free agents to help build around Darnold.
They swung for the fences and hit a couple out of the park. Running back, Le’Veon Bell, 27, and linebacker, C.J Mosley, 26, were two of the top available free agents that the Jets secured. Their services came with some hefty contracts and a lot of guaranteed money.
Bell was the biggest free agent available. Players like Bell rarely hit the market, as teams who have a player of that caliber tend to keep them as long as they can. Mosley was the defensive captain of the Ravens for his entire career, and is now an anchor in the young and energetic defense.
These signings were the headline grabbers, but GM Mike Maccagnan made some other key signings and trades to help shape this roster.
Acquiring via trade guard, Kelechi Osemele, 29, and wide receiver, Jamison Crowder, 25, in free agency will help Darnold develop as a player and take hold of the offense. Having the third overall pick will help bring in another young and promising piece to add to the puzzle.
While there is still a long road ahead and the Patriots still dominate the Division, one can feel the excitement in Jets fans for the future. For once, the Jets have hope that they got their guy in Darnold, and the rest will fall into place.