The Jets are having a very solid offseason, if you listen to one NFL general manager who spoke to Metro New York.
Assessing the Jets’ decisions in free agency, the league executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, called the team’s moves this offseason “very solid; they upgraded their team.”
Despite a large amount of salary cap space, the Jets have been relatively understated. The team signed running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Eric Decker to bolster an anemic offense a season ago. But outside of those moves, most of the Jets’ free agent signings have been under the radar.
But that didn’t stop one AFC general manager from seeing it as a good offseason for the team. This despite the clamoring of fans for big names and bigger contracts.
“I think what they did was really smart. They didn’t go out there and overspend. They stuck to their board and their values, which most teams don’t do. It was shrewd from them,” the general manager said. “It wasn’t big names, but this is a new general manager. I think it is fair to say that they ‘got religion’ in terms of big-time free agents. They’ve hit very few home runs in the past.
“Last year, a lot of people didn’t like their moves: Chris Ivory, [Dawan] Landry, even re-signing [Calvin] Pace and moves like that. There weren’t big names. This year, they got some bigger names like a Decker, like [Breno] Giacomini, but they retained a lot of their core, a core that got them to 8-8. It is the kind of offseason that the doctor ordered.”
The general manager also applauded counterpart John Idzik, who took a different approach to a less-than-stellar crop of talent.
“Despite the hype, this wasn’t a tremendous free agent class,” the general manager said. “They didn’t overspend. It gives them the chance to sign and retain this group down the road — guys like [Mo] Wilkerson who could want a contract extension soon. Remember, free agent money ties down money not just this year, but years down the road. So just because you aren’t spending this year doesn’t mean that the money will be there next year. Fans don’t understand that it doesn’t work that way. But they aren’t far away. If Geno Smith plays better, they are a playoff team [last year]. They needed some upgrades, they didn’t need a dramatic offseason overhaul or talent infusion. They’re close.
“It is clear that they are going to build through the draft. That’s what the Seahawks have done and what I know John wants to do.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.