Now that the 2020 NFL season is officially in the rearview mirror, it's time to start looking ahead.
For the Jets, after a two-win campaign, next season can't come soon enough. The franchise as a whole can take a huge step in the right direction during Robert Saleh's first year as head coach with his new staff, plenty of draft capital (including the No. 2 pick) and cap space to spare.
Even if there's potential for the Jets to progress when games start back up this fall, these initial power ranking projections kept New York close to the league's cellar.
In ESPN's way-too-early power rankings, posted shortly after the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Jets came in at No. 29. That's technically two steps forward compared to their draft position this spring (finishing the season with the second-worst record). The only teams behind them in these rankings are the Lions, Jags and Texans, in descending order.
The beauty of this ranking, however, is that New York can jump ahead quite a bit depending on how this offseason transpires. As ESPN's Rich Cimini writes in this story, the Jets can either "trade for Deshaun Watson, who would be their best quarterback since Joe Namath," or "use their draft capital (four of the first 66 picks) to improve the roster, building around incumbent QB Sam Darnold."
Option one adds a top-five quarterback, certainly an easy way to win more games next year, but limits how many draft picks Gang Green has at its disposal going forward. The latter choice puts faith in Darnold to lead this team back to contention, a 23-year-old that's struggled to develop over his first three NFL seasons.
Should the Jets be able to pull off a trade with the Houston Texans for Watson, who knows how many slots the Jets can ascend?
Either way, with general manager Joe Douglas and Saleh calling the shots, you have to figure that it's only up from here.
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