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Scouting Report: New York Jets

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With Fitzpatrick out of the picture for now the quarterback depth chart includes disappointing former second-round punching bag Geno Smith, developmental 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and rookie second-round pick Christian Hackenburg. It's the most important position in football and it's a spot with far more questions than answers right now for Gang Green.

Beyond the quarterback position, there is a lot to like on the Jets roster, especially on defense. The defensive-minded Bowles put together a unit that ranked fourth in total yards a year ago, buoyed by a front that formed the No. 2 rushing defense. The Jets also tied for the AFC lead with 30 takeaways last fall and ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed.

New York's front line includes Muhammad Wilkerson, the team's franchise player who was the center of trade rumors this offseason, and Sheldon Richardson, both elite, versatile, Pro Bowl talents. David Harris still roams the middle of the field at linebacker, though top pick Darron Lee will add an athletic dynamic to the front. In the back end, Darrelle Revis is not the man he was during his first tour of duty in New York, but remains a very competitive No. 1 cornerback.

New York Jets (2015 Record: 10-6)

2016 Matchups: 

Patriots at New York Jets | Nov. 27, 2016 8:30 P.M.

Patriots vs. New York Jets | Dec. 24, 2016 1:00 P.M.

CURRENT TEAM STATUS:

UPDATED 11/18/2016 (Andy Hart)

The Jets are limping through yet another dismally disappointing season in New York. While the quarterback position was a major question all offseason, the late signing of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was supposed to stabilize things for a year. That was far from the case as the veteran was the starter for the first half of the season and played terrible football, including 13 interceptions before being benched. Geno Smith saw limited action and then second-player Bryce Petty made his first career start on Nov. 13 in 9-6 loss to the Rams. "Led" by Fitzpatrick's 67.6 rating, New York's passers combined for a 68.7 rating as a team through the 3-7 start to the season that has them once again very much looking up the standings at the Patriots.

While the quarterback position was a known concern, New York's supposed strength on defense has also been an issue this fall. Stud defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson have both created headlines with their off-field lack of commitment. Veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis has continued to age to the point where there is more and more talk that after this season he'll either retire, be cut or, best-case-scenario, be moved to safety.

There have been few bright spots for Gang Green. Eric Decker was lost for the year to multiple injuries after just nine receptions. Matt Forte has averaged only 3.9 yards per carry, even though he does have seven rushing touchdowns. To be fair, second-year defensive lineman Leonard Williams has developed nicely, including a team-best six sacks through 10 games.

Little more than midway through the season the Jets have the NFL's No. 24 offense with the 29th passing game. The defense is 13th overall, including No. 5 against the run. But the team is 28th in scoring and 20th in points allowed, while its minus-11 turnovers differential is 31st in the league. And opposing passers have a combined 95.2 passer rating.

The quarterback situation has been a major problem for the Jets in 2016, but that's far from the only issue that Todd Bowles and Co. have to deal with as another fruitless season plays out in the Big Apple. Speculation that current Cowboys backup Tony Romo could be a trade target for the Jets this offseason has already begun, a sure sign that the current team is simply playing out the string with little hope for the holidays.

UPDATED 07/18/2016 (Andy Hart)

One down, one to go. That's probably the way the Jets see their major contract issues at this point. New York reached a five-year, $86 million deal last week with Pro Bowl defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson that includes a reported $15 million signing bonus, $54 million in total guarantees and $37 million over the first two years. The deadline deal cut Wilkerson's 2016 franchise tag cap figure nearly in half and solidifies his spot as a key cog in an impressive defensive front. Wilkerson had a career-high 12 sacks last fall when he played in all 16 games for the fourth time in his five-year career. Getting Wilkerson under a long-term deal will allow the team to move its focus on to another top defensive lineman, as Sheldon Richardson will be a free agent after he plays out his fifth-year option in 2017.

More pressing, and the contract the Jets haven't been able to get done, is one with 2015 starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. With training camp set to open in little more than a week there have been no signs of New York and the productive journeyman quarterback getting closer to a pact. Gang Green wide receiver Brandon Marshall, a vocal proponent of Fitzpatrick returning to New York for another season, said this week that the quarterback has stopped returning text messages in recent weeks. New York opens camp July 27 with or without Fitzpatrick. There is a reportedly a standing offer on the table that includes $10 million for 2016 and $24 million over three years. That's obviously well below starting quarterback salaries in the NFL and, at least to this point, below what Fitzpatrick is willing to return for. If the two sides continue to fail to reach a deal, New York will have a camp battle for the quarterback job between Geno Smith, developmental 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and rookie second-round pick Christian Hackenburg. None would appear ready to lead the team toward challenging the Patriots in the AFC East, even with Tom Brady set to miss the first four games to suspension.

UPDATED 05/11/2016 (Andy Hart)

The Jets are very much in limbo heading into 2016, mostly because the team's quarterback position is very much in limbo. New York had a relatively successful season in Todd Bowles' first year at the helm in 2015. But much of that 10-win, playoff-free success came thanks to the play of journeyman veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (3,905 yards/31 TD/15 INT). The veteran former Harvard star remains an unsigned free agent at this rather late point in the offseason process and the sides don't seem close to reaching an agreement.

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With Fitzpatrick out of the picture for now the quarterback depth chart includes disappointing former second-round punching bag Geno Smith, developmental 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and rookie second-round pick Christian Hackenburg. It's the most important position in football and it's a spot with far more questions than answers right now for Gang Green.

Beyond the quarterback position, there is a lot to like on the Jets roster, especially on defense. The defensive-minded Bowles put together a unit that ranked fourth in total yards a year ago, buoyed by a front that formed the No. 2 rushing defense. The Jets also tied for the AFC lead with 30 takeaways last fall and ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed.

New York's front line includes Muhammad Wilkerson, the team's franchise player who was the center of trade rumors this offseason, and Sheldon Richardson, both elite, versatile, Pro Bowl talents. David Harris still roams the middle of the field at linebacker, though top pick Darron Lee will add an athletic dynamic to the front. In the back end, Darrelle Revis is not the man he was during his first tour of duty in New York, but remains a very competitive No. 1 cornerback.

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Offensively Chan Gailey's unit includes impressive if aging receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, each of whom had more than 1,000 yards and a dozen touchdown catches last fall. The running game took a hit with the loss of Pro Bowl back Chris Ivory in free agency, but versatile veteran Bilal Powell returns to the mix to work with free agent addition Matt Forte, who'll bring his running and pass-catching duties east after an impressive career in Chicago, working behind a still-solid offensive line that replaces surprise retirement D'Brickashaw Ferguson with Ryan Clady at the left tackle spot.

Both in terms of talent on both sides of the ball and a new way of doing business under Bowles, the Jets have a lot to bring to the table for 2016. But until the team figures out who's going to be under center leading the charge at MetLife Stadium, New York is clearly not yet ready to make the jump to true playoff contender or challenger to the Patriots in the AFC East.

KEY PERSONNEL MOVES:

Free agents signed:
RB Matt Forte (Chi.)
LT Ryan Clady (Trade/Den.)
DE/OLB Jarvis Jenkins (Chi.)
DT Steve McLendon (Pit.)
LB Bruce Carter (S.F.)

Free agents lost:
RB Chris Ivory (Jax.)
RB Stevan Ridley (Det.)
DT Damon Harrison (NYG)
WR Jeremy Kerley (Det.)
LB Demario Davis (Cle.)
DB Antonio Allen (Hou.).

Draft class:
LB Darron Lee (1st)
QB Christian Hackenberg (2nd)
LB Jordan Jenkins (3rd)
DB Juston Burris(4th)
T Brandon Shell (5th)
P Lachlan Edwards (7th)
WR* harone Peake* (7th)

KEY INJURIES:

CB Darrelle Revis had multiple surgeries to insert and then remove pins from his wrist. His offseason workouts have been limited, but he's expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

T Ryan Clady was cleared to play in April as he works back from a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2015 season with the Broncos.

WR Devin Smith, a disappointing rookie prior to tearing his ACL last December, may not be ready to open this season.

TEAM LINKS:

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20160511-brandon-marshall-2.jpg

Offensively Chan Gailey's unit includes impressive if aging receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, each of whom had more than 1,000 yards and a dozen touchdown catches last fall. The running game took a hit with the loss of Pro Bowl back Chris Ivory in free agency, but versatile veteran Bilal Powell returns to the mix to work with free agent addition Matt Forte, who'll bring his running and pass-catching duties east after an impressive career in Chicago, working behind a still-solid offensive line that replaces surprise retirement D'Brickashaw Ferguson with Ryan Clady at the left tackle spot.

Both in terms of talent on both sides of the ball and a new way of doing business under Bowles, the Jets have a lot to bring to the table for 2016. But until the team figures out who's going to be under center leading the charge at MetLife Stadium, New York is clearly not yet ready to make the jump to true playoff contender or challenger to the Patriots in the AFC East.

KEY PERSONNEL MOVES:

Free agents signed:
RB Matt Forte (Chi.)
LT Ryan Clady (Trade/Den.)
DE/OLB Jarvis Jenkins (Chi.)
DT Steve McLendon (Pit.)
LB Bruce Carter (S.F.)

Free agents lost:
RB Chris Ivory (Jax.)
RB Stevan Ridley (Det.)
DT Damon Harrison (NYG)
WR Jeremy Kerley (Det.)
LB Demario Davis (Cle.)
DB Antonio Allen (Hou.).

Draft class:
LB Darron Lee (1st)
QB Christian Hackenberg (2nd)
LB Jordan Jenkins (3rd)
DB Juston Burris(4th)
T Brandon Shell (5th)
P Lachlan Edwards (7th)
WR* harone Peake* (7th)

KEY INJURIES:

CB Darrelle Revis had multiple surgeries to insert and then remove pins from his wrist. His offseason workouts have been limited, but he's expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

T Ryan Clady was cleared to play in April as he works back from a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2015 season with the Broncos.

WR Devin Smith, a disappointing rookie prior to tearing his ACL last December, may not be ready to open this season.

TEAM LINKS:

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