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5 Reasons for New York Jets Fans to Be Hopeful in 2024



The New York Jets entered the 2023 season with high hopes after acquiring four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the offseason. Those hopes came crashing down in startlingly quick fashion when Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon on only his fourth regular-season snap. 

 

New York showed admirable resilience by beating the division champion Buffalo Bills in the opener, but the future Hall of Famer’s absence over the rest of season proved to be too much to bear. The team cycled through four starting quarterbacks—tying an ignominious record held by only two other teams in NFL history—on its way to finishing with a 7-10 record. It was the eighth consecutive losing season and the 13th straight that the Jets failed to make the playoffs. 

 

Responding to a poll in January, only 23 percent of Jets fans said they had confidence in the franchise. The lack of belief is understandable, but there are reasons for hope heading into the offseason. 

 

1. Clarity at Quarterback 

 

It’s no small thing that the Jets begin the offseason with a clear plan at quarterback. Despite his age and injury history, Rodgers is a proven No. 1 option. Assuming he can stay healthy, he’s certainly preferrable to the quarterback carousel of the 2023 season.  

 

Last year’s uncertainty at quarterback came about in part because the team wasn’t prepared for an outcome in which Rodgers wouldn’t be able to play. Zach Wilson entered the season as the backup, and the Jets had already lost faith in him. 

 

General manager Joe Douglas has suggested the franchise has learned its lesson. Even if Rodgers is injured again, it’s expected the front office will have a veteran quarterback in place to keep the offense on track. 

 

2. Emerging Stars on Offense 

 

Wide receiver Garrett Wilson posted his second-straight 1,000-yard season, the first Jets player to do this in nearly 15 years. Wilson, who was named the 45th-best player in the league by ESPN at the close of the season, got open more often than all but five other NFL receivers. Had he been supported by better quarterback play, his numbers may have been even more impressive. 

 

Further down ESPN’s list, running back Breece Hall earned the No. 81 spot on the strength of a strong season that saw him rebound from an ACL injury. Playing all 17 games, Hall finished second among all NFL running backs in total yards. 

 

Owing to his injury rehab, Hall himself believes he even wasn’t at his best this year, saying he intends to come back even stronger in 2024. Jets fans would love to see it. 

 

3. A Strong Defense 

 

The highest-ranked Jets player on ESPN’s top 100 list was the No. 26 entry, cornerback Sauce Gardner. The 2022 draft pick had a target rate of 13 percent and a yards-per-coverage-snap allowed of 0.8 percent, third- and second-best in the league, respectively. 

 

Elsewhere on defense, fellow 2022 draft pick Jermaine Johnson improved to such a degree that head coach Robert Saleh believes he’s already a Pro Bowl-level defensive end. Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and linebacker Quincy Williams were also key contributors to a defensive squad that finished seventh in the NFL in yards per game.  

 

Good news for Jets fans: all four of these players are in or entering their primes, and each of them—in addition to five other defensive starters—are under contract through at least next season. 

 

4. Coaching and Front-Office Consistency 

 

Jets owner Woody Johnson announced in December that he would retain Saleh, Douglas, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The decision comes with the apparent blessing of Rodgers, who said he supports all three. Johnson himself cited continuity with Rodgers and the team’s leadership in keeping all three men, saying he believes Rodgers’ return “will make everybody’s job easier.”  

 

Along with Rodgers, Hall and Garrett Wilson have expressed confidence in the direction of the team. The buy-in from three of New York’s key players is a good sign heading into next year. 

 

5. Potential to Reload 

 

Both Johnson and Rodgers have noted that, while the core of the team is strong, there are still areas of need. Offensive tackle may be the biggest.  

 

Winning three of their final five games likely left the Jets with too low of a draft pick to select one of the two standout rookie tackles in the upcoming draft, so the franchise may look to sign a veteran tackle to protect Rodgers. Possible free-agent targets include Jermaine Eluemenor, Mike Onwenu, and Jonah Williams. 

 

Elsewhere on offense, the front office may revisit a trade that would reunite Rodgers with former teammate Davante Adams. Doing would help to supplement the wide-receiving core.  

 

More help could come in the draft, where the Jets are expected to receive three compensatory picks on top of the five they already knew they had. The extra picks will probably be late in the draft, but there’s always a chance a lower-round selection hits. 

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