The Jets appear poised to make changes at the two most important positions in football this offseason, hitting the reset button for the fourth time in a fruitless last decade.
According to two different reports that emerged today, head coach Adam Gase is expected to be fired after this season and quarterback Sam Darnold isn't expected to be around longer than one more season -- if that. These aren't shocking revelations given both of their struggles, but it does signal another rebuild for a team used to them at this point.
The New York Jets have been irrelevant for over a decade, having posted only one winning season in the last 10 years and failing to make the playoffs once. They've changed coaches and General Managers three times during that time and have started 11 different quarterbacks. Gase, a former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, and Darnold, a former No. 3 overall pick out of USC, were supposed to be the solution. Instead, they have become the biggest problems.
Gase's struggles are numerous and moving on from him seems to be a foregone conclusion. The Jets are 0-11 this year and feature the worst offense in the NFL, averaging a league-low 13.8 points per game, which is over 5 points fewer than the 31st ranked Broncos. Gase has also alienated several players, cultivated a tumultuous relationship with the New York media, and alienated fans by saying he doesn't care what they think because he's rich.
Darnold has one more year on his rookie contract after this season and was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft. But Jets beat writer Rich Cimini notes that the Jets are expected to select a quarterback in this year's draft, likely Trevor Lawrence, and are not expected to exercise the fifth-year option in Darnold's contract. That creates a situation where the Jets would likely try to trade Darnold, though with his performance in the gutters this year (58.7% completions, 1,242 yards, 3 TDs 8 INTs) the return isn't expected to be much. They could also cut him and suffer a $9.8 million cap hit, which might be worth it to keep the awkwardness between him and the incoming QB to a minimum.
General Manager Joe Douglas is only in his first year selecting player personnel with the franchise and there are no reports of his job security being in jeopardy. However, the Jets fired John Idzik as GM after only one season so there is precedent for that kind of move.
The Jets seem destined this season to become only the third team to go 0-16 in NFL history. At the end of that journey, whether they get a win or not, they'll chart a new path led by new people with new ideas. Whether the incoming quarterback and coach have more success than their predecessors seems like a forgone conclusion -- can't do worse than 0-16. But the ultimate mark of progress for this franchise is to become relevant again for the first time since Barak Obama was in his first term as President.