New York Jets: Moves to fix the franchise from top to bottom

New York Jets, Sam Darnold (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets, Sam Darnold (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /
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New York Jets
Woody Johnson, New York Jets (Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /

The New York Jets are a broken franchise but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed.

The New York Jets are an unmitigated disaster. Not only are they the worst team in the league but they are also the laughingstock of the NFL and possibly of all professional sports. A franchise that was once synonymous with Broadway Joe and “The Guarantee” has become the team of botched draft picks and “The Butt Fumble.”

This shouldn’t be allowed to happen to a team with such a rich history and that just so happens to play in front of the nation’s largest media market. But alas, such is the fate of the New York Jets. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. They need a rebuild — scratch that. They need a revival.

The Jets need to have a realistic view of what needs to be done. It’s delusional to think that they could possibly be building a Super Bowl contender. This roster is not two or three players away from being competitive so they have no business running around in the offseason trying to sign big-ticket free agents.

They need to focus the better part of their next five years on trying to just reestablish themselves as a respectable organization again. The Jets need a plan that goes from the front office to the coaching staff to the roster.

Fixing the New York Jets: The Front Office

Since taking over ownership of the New York Jets prior to the 2000 season, Woody Johnson has seen his franchise lose one Wild Card game, two Divisional Round games, two AFC Championship Games and two Hall-of-Fame head coaches in the retirement of Bill Parcells and the well-documented Bill Belichick flip to New England.

While Woody Johnson has been replaced by his son Christopher in the day-to-day duties, the struggles have remained. At this point, it’s important to review the role of an NFL owner. The owner is be involved in the big picture. The owner has a philosophy and a vision of what the team should be and has a responsibility to hire people who will carry out their vision and make it a reality.

This is accomplished through hiring a general manager who will acquire the talent that best aligns with the owner’s vision and then by hiring a head coach who can carry out the mission of molding players and personnel to fit that vision. But this last step is perhaps the most important one. The owner must entrust the people empowered to do their jobs and stay out of the way.

This brings us to current Jets general manager Joe Douglas, who has been in this capacity since after the 2018 offseason. Having only overseen one draft, the jury is still out on Douglas’ ability to pick players.

Douglas inherited an absolute mess and I’d like to see him be given a chance at righting the ship but if the Jets decide to retool their entire front office and are serious about becoming one of those highly respected and well-revered organizations, then the best hire would be John Dorsey.

Dorsey is a proven and effective evaluator of player talent. Being an NFL alum since 1984, there aren’t many powerful people that John Dorsey hasn’t rubbed elbows with. He’s well connected and perhaps even more importantly, he’s very well-respected. Even coach Andy Reid’s son Britt testified on Dorsey’s unique skillset, per the Times Reporter:

"He has so many connections, so many resources. He was a scout for so long. He was unbelievable at getting information. It didn’t matter what you needed to know. He could find out. He made great relationships. People respected him."

“People respected him.” People do not respect the Jets as an organization right now. Dorsey can bring a level of respectability to their front office while also bringing great talent to their roster.

He’s been credited with making draft picks that have included Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill.  Dorsey’s most recent contribution to the NFL was serving as the architect who brought the Cleveland Browns back to relevance.

He did so by putting together some solid draft classes that included Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and Denzel Ward. He was also able to convince coveted free agents like Jarvis Landry that the Browns were no longer a joke. And he confirmed their return to prominence when he acquired the elite wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. via trade with the New York Giants.

But in the end, Dorsey was undone by his unwavering loyalty. He unwisely hitched his wagon to then-head coach Freddie Kitchens, who clearly wasn’t ready for the job. When the Browns decided to fire Kitchens they had to do so without the GM responsible for giving them such a talented roster. I have no doubt that John Dorsey could correct the course of the Jets within the next 3-5 years if his responsibility is purely player evaluation.