Are The Jets A Good Destination For Free Agents?

March is upon us which means the NFL offseason is about to heat up for all 32 teams across the league. For the New York Jets, it signals the beginning of another monster offseason as they look to capitalize during the Aaron Rodgers window. At noon ET on March 11 the 52-hour tampering window begins before the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. ET on March 13. During that time expect Joe Douglas and the Jets to be active in trying to fill much-needed roster holes.

Today let’s take a look at why the Jets are and are not appealing for free agents entering 2024 free agency.

Are The Jets A Good Destination For Free Agents?

Aaron Rodgers

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been and will remain the Jets’ biggest selling point as long as he wears green and white. After tearing his Achilles on the fourth snap of the season Rodgers was able to return to practice in December leaving Jets fans wondering, what if? Either way, 2023 is now in the rearview and many around Rodgers feel he is as motivated as ever which is a welcome sight for potential free agents.

Throughout his entire career Rodgers has been doubted and entering this season is no different. From the night of the 2005 NFL Draft where he saw 23 players selected ahead of him to right now where many don’t believe he can produce at 40 coming off an Achilles tear. Rodgers has always been able to quiet the doubters even recently when he took home back-to-back MVPs in 2020 and 2021 in his age-37 and age-38 campaigns. Many thought those years would be the beginning of a drop-off.

Not only is it the motivation Rodgers will be playing with it’s the opportunity to play with a future Hall of Fame quarterback that makes the Jets a likable destination. To put it simply, if Rodgers a 4x NFL MVP, Super Bowl Champion, 10x Pro Bowler, and 4x First-Team All-Pro is healthy the Jets are going to have a chance to contend for a Super Bowl. A chance to take home the Lombardi is what every player is looking for when finding a new home.

Win-Now Mode

When the New York Jets traded for Aaron Rodgers in April of 2023 they pushed all of their chips into the center. Even with Aaron Rodgers going down four snaps into the season, New York remains in win-now mode. For free agents, teams that are ready to win now can be a risky destination but the potential success is very high.

For both veteran free agents and younger free agents the chance to win at any point in your career is a great selling point for a franchise. Veterans who are nearing the end of their careers will look for win-now teams to try and squeeze in one championship before they call it quits. On top of this, younger free agents will look towards a team where they can spend their prime playing in big games and potentially taking home a Lombardi.

It isn’t clear how many years Rodgers will play but even if it is for just 2024, there will be free agents interested in jumping on board for the chance to compete for a Lombardi Trophy.

Coaching Staff

It hasn’t been a quiet month for the coaching staff as Robert Saleh and company have been blasted in multiple bombshell reports. This isn’t exactly New York’s top recruiting tool and while there have been changes there remain many problems. These issues are so large it makes many across the league wonder if even a team as talented as New York can overcome the internal problems.

In a results-driven business, Robert Saleh has mustered up just 18 wins in 51 games at the helm in New York. That’s 33 losses and a .353 winning percentage. Not exactly appealing for anybody including those already in the building.

However, the real issues are on the offensive staff which is headlined by offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. In 2023, the Jets were statistically one of the worst offenses in history, which was led by a circus quarterback room and an offensive coordinator who was in over his head. Multiple reports have been released discussing how Hackett would not go over offensive game plans with other coaches until the last minute of game week. Another liability is offensive line coach Keith Carter who has been publicly criticized by current and former players.

To put it simply, the Jets coaching staff is not going to be the reason why any free agent comes to The Big Apple. Instead, it might be the reason they don’t come which could be a major problem for New York. Especially offensive players whom the Jets desperately need.

Future of The Franchise

As mentioned earlier, being in a win-now mode is both helpful and can be hurtful depending on the results. For the Jets, Aaron Rodgers remains the biggest selling point for the fanbase and for free agents, but after Aaron Rodgers is a complete unknown. The Rodgers era in New York may be over this time next year which could also signal the end of the Saleh-Douglas era in New York. That’s concerning for free agents.

There is also a scenario where Aaron Rodgers may retire after the season even if it’s a successful 2024 which would leave the Jets with Saleh-Douglas and no quarterback. This coaching staff and front office have shown they are incapable of building winning teams up to this point. For a free agent to sign a three to four-year deal with 75% of those years being a complete unknown of who the quarterback, coach, and GM will be is a major concern. Especially for free agents who are entering their prime.

GM Joe Douglas and company need to do everything in their power to sell the Aaron Rodgers all-in, win-now vision or else free agents will look elsewhere. The track record of Saleh and Douglas is not good enough for free agents to trust them after Rodgers.

Main Image: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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