Missing out on the Tyreek Hill was a blessing in disguise for the New York Jets’ culture
When Tyreek Hill chose the Miami Dolphins over the New York Jets, many Jets fans were chagrined. Having the dynamic receiver for Zach Wilson was tantalizingly close to happening, only to be snuffed out by a divisional foe.
When Hill’s trade and contract terms were announced, it became apparent that the Jets dodged a bullet. Miami mortgaged its future to acquire the speedy wideout, both in draft capital and salary cap space. With a roster full of holes, Joe Douglas could not afford to give up that kind of haul for a guy Hill’s age.
Still, there is an overlooked aspect of Hill that made him a curious fit for the Jets in the first place.
Robert Saleh has repeatedly stressed his desire to bring character to this team. While Hill has kept himself relatively clean on the football field (peace signs notwithstanding), he has done anything but off it. A guy who choked and beat his pregnant girlfriend and punched his three-year-old son is not the kind of character the Jets want. While there are always teams willing to take a shot on a talented but troubled player, Saleh and Douglas have made it clear that the Jets are not among them. So what were they doing with the pursuit of Hill?
Perhaps the allure of one of the best receivers in the league was just too much for Douglas to pass up. Perhaps the GM knew that he’d be eviscerated by the fan base if he did not attempt a trade. What was going through his mind regarding character concerns is anyone’s guess.
In hindsight, though, the Jets are better off without Hill. They went on to select three blue-chip, high-character prospects in the first round of the draft.
Sauce Gardner is confident, but he’s a team player and works harder than anyone else.
#Cincinnati CB Sauce Gardner says that he lives off of intrinsic motivation and the motto “unseen work in required hours”. Knows that he’s a “leader, competitive, and loves to get hands on wide receivers” pic.twitter.com/9aB693SQnU
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) March 5, 2022
.@iamSauceGardner is the ultimate teammate.
He let his buddy return his interception on his youth football team. 🥺❤️
— NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2022
Garrett Wilson‘s broad smile when he was drafted by the Jets has reflected in everything he has said and done since.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 4, 2022
The Jets passed on Kayvon Thibodeaux, about whom questions of effort persisted. Instead, they would later take Jermaine Johnson, who epitomizes Saleh’s “all gas, no brake” mantra.
Jermaine Johnson says Robert Saleh told him the Jets would come and get him at some point in the draft:
"He was like, 'I didn't lie, we came and got you. We've been trying to get you all night.' It was pretty awesome." pic.twitter.com/GfwYWPdyKI
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) April 29, 2022
Meanwhile, Hill adjusts to Miami by trying to defend his embattled quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. While that is a noble sentiment, he has gone about it by taking shots at his old quarterback. Hill recently claimed on his new podcast that Tua is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 11, 2022
Aside from the foolishness of such comparisons, this is the antithesis of the character that the Jets sought. Imagine Hill defending Zach Wilson’s rookie season against Mahomes!
Douglas and Saleh have set the tone for this team. This is the Jets team of years past that was clean and easy to root for. This bunch is low on divas and high on team players. However the Jets’ season goes in 2022, it will be as a unit from the top down. The traits the Jets sought in their players will help them stay together through the highs and lows of a long season.