Jets owner Woody Johnson willing to spend it on QB, ‘missing piece’

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Owner Woody Johnson believes the New York Jets are far from ending their 12-year drought and is willing to shell out big bucks on a veteran.

“Absolutely,” he told a small group of reporters Thursday in his office at the aircraft facility. “We have a cap, so there’s an amount you can spend. But, yeah, yeah. That’s kind of the missing piece.”

Zack Wilson He was supposed to be a starter when he was drafted second overall in 2021, but was benched twice in 2022 and looks headed for a backup role in 2023. Despite his struggles and that offense, “this team is loaded.” Ready, said Johnson.

“Our defense has been the most incredible story I’ve seen this year, from last place to near the top in defense in terms of everything that can be measured,” he said. “If you could do the same thing when attacking, it would look good, right?”

Many interesting names will be available in the off-season, from free agents (Tom BradyAnd Jimmy Garoppolo And Lamar Jackson) to potential trade targets (and in particular, Derek Carr).

The Jets have already invested a guaranteed $35 million in Wilson. The plan is to keep him, according to Johnson, but he admitted, “Zach’s had a tough year, there’s no denying that. I’m still confident I saw some real talent there… [His] The level of confidence had dropped, whatever it was, so that was definitely frustrating for him. Then we had this rotation, which is hard to do in the NFL – changing quarterbacks.”

Sources said the quarterback’s instability (three different starters) contributed to the late-season collapse—a six-game losing streak that cost the Jets (7-10) a playoff spot and left Johnson grumpy after each loss.

The fallout has begun. The Jets confirmed the departure of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, calling it a mutual parting. In addition, offensive line coach John Benton departed. They’re also in the market for a wide receivers coach because Miles Austin is suspended for one year for betting on professional sports.

Johnson claimed he did not force coach Robert Saleh to make personnel changes, saying it was not part of the “decision tree”, but the owner admitted it was “very disappointing” to witness the offensive collapse – no relegation. in the last three matches.

After two years without games together, Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas will come under pressure in 2023. Johnson wouldn’t say they have a playoff mandate.

“No, I don’t do mandates,” said Johnson, who has reached the postseason six times in his 23 years of ownership. “We’ve had a long wait. Fifty-four years from the last Super Bowl is too long, too long. I’d like change that quickly, but the mandates don’t work.”

There was no mandate, per se, but Johnson made it clear he believed the roster was ready for the playoffs, saying it included “all these unbelievably young stars”. Johnson said he’s optimistic about a turnaround in 2023, noting how the defense has been turned around in one year. He went from 32 to fourth in yards allowed.

The offense finished in 25th place, which is one of the reasons they moved on from LaFleur after two years. Publicly, Saleh advocated for Lafleur’s preservation, fueling speculation that Johnson forced his hand.

“There are 32 owners in this league and they have every right to ask questions, challenge thought and have all the discussions they want,” Saleh said. “It happens in every building. But at the end of the day, Woody gives us complete autonomy in terms of decision-making. He is totally supportive of any decisions we make.”

Because of the precarious quarterback status, and with 2023 going to be a potential year for Saleh, it may be difficult to attract top coordinators candidates. But Saleh did not agree, saying that they have young talent and a strong defence. He said the new coordinator would have input in the quarterback’s decision.

He said, “We’re going to be aggressive as heck when it comes to quarterbacking, and make sure we do everything we can to satisfy that position.”

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