It's clear that the Jets' passing game needs some work entering the 2021 season. As New York makes a big decision at the quarterback position, it wouldn't hurt to address this team's running back situation as well.
The Jets finished last season averaging 105.2 rushing yards per game, 23rd in the NFL. As a team, New York rushed for more than 131 yards in a single game only one time. That was their 206-yard performance in the catastrophe against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 13.
With plenty of draft picks this year, New York may very well target a talented running back this spring. They took La'Mical Perine in the fourth round a year ago, but the Florida product never really had a chance to prove himself as he was sidelined multiple times with injuries (and a case of COVID-19) while having to split playing time with Frank Gore.
Considering Gang Green's surplus of cap space, it's possible that general manager Joe Douglas and his team will seek to bring in a top running back in free agency. There's plenty of options on the board if they elect to go that route, but one former running back knows exactly who the Jets should sign.
"The Jets and Aaron Jones to me is a perfect fit," Hall of Famer Terrell Davis said recently on NFL Network.
Since breaking into the league with the Green Bay Packers in 2017, Jones has gotten better every single year. In 2020, he set career-high marks in yards (1,104) and yards per game (78.9) while appearing in only 14 contests. That comes after Jones led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2019 (with 16) while setting a personal best in receiving yards (474).
Here's Davis on why New York should target the Packers' back:
"The New York Jets with new head coach Robert Saleh who's going to bring that offense from San Francisco. Give Sam Darnold some weapons around him. An explosive back who can take it the distance on any given play there."
New York would have some competition if Aaron Jones was their top option this offseason—as the Pro Bowler is arguably the best running back available via free agency—but they can certainly pay him with the money they have available.
Jones would have to buy into the offense that Saleh and new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur are installing this offseason. It would certainly be a step back for Jones from a contending standpoint—after playing two games in the postseason in each of the last two years—but maybe the culture change in New York would convince him to sign somewhere other than Green Bay.
Davis was quite the running back in his day, rushing for 2,008 yards with 22 touchdowns during his MVP season in 1998. He won two Super Bowl rings and made the Pro Bowl three times over seven years with the Denver Broncos
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