As if the message coming from the New York Jets wasn’t clear the spring departures of veterans such as wide receiver Brandon Marshall, center Nick Mangold and cornerback Darrelle Revis, it’s now official.
The Jets are in full rebuild mode.
That’s really the only thing that can be taken away from Tuesday’s news out of Florham Park, N.J., after the team released veteran inside linebacker David Harris and informed Eric Decker that the receiver would be traded or released this week.
The timing of both moves was odd, coming near the completion of voluntary workouts and just before the start of a mandatory minicamp. By releasing both players, the Jets will add about $11 million in salary cap room, but if finances were the true concern, these moves could have been made earlier.
Instead, the Jets just look like a wreck.
Two years removed from being a playoff contender in the AFC East, it’s as though the Jets are trying to position themselves for the 2018 draft. If they were to lose enough games and land the No. 1 pick, they could have their pick of top passers. Rather than root for wins, Jets fans might find themselves rooting for draft position this season.
Meanwhile, coach Todd Bowles, heads into his third season having to coach a team in transition. The Jets have arguably the league’s worst quarterback situation, with veteran Josh McCown competing with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty, and, after the departures of Marshall and Decker, a receiving corps that will be led by Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson.
"We'll do everything in our power to be competitive," general manager Mike Maccagnan said at a news conference Tuesday while emphasizing the team was focused on creating opportunities for its young players. "We'll see how that unfolds."
It’s hard to imagine the Jets being competitive in the AFC East – not as the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have stocked up on new offensive pieces this offseason. The Miami Dolphins, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill returning from a knee injury, were a playoff team last year, and the Buffalo Bills, with a new coaching staff, appear to be making moves to get better, all while the Jets are in decline.
Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.