Robert Saleh, NY Jets, Head Coach, QB Away
Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Getty Images

Perhaps the New York Jets are more than a quarterback away

One of the most common statements made by New York Jets fans over the past few months has been that the team is just “a quarterback away” from Super Bowl contention.

In 2022, the Jets had an elite defense and an offense featuring rising stars like Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, and Alijah Vera-Tucker. Unfortunately, the Jets’ quarterbacks failed to elevate the team once Hall and Vera-Tucker got hurt, and New York lost its final six games.

As the team heads into 2023 with a strong defense and exciting core pieces on offense, the possibility of adding a four-time MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers has Jets fans dreaming of their first Super Bowl in over 50 years.

But considering Rodgers has only made it to one Super Bowl himself, it’s clear it takes more than an elite quarterback to win championships.

So what does it take?

What does it take to win a Super Bowl?

NFL Network analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah established a basic list of requirements for a Super Bowl contender back in 2019. Brooks hypothesized that the “top teams have ‘blues’ (top-10 players) and other steady performers” in the following areas:

  • 1 franchise quarterback
  • 3 offensive linemen
  • 3 offensive playmakers
  • 2 pass rushers
  • 3 defensive playmakers

Not every Super Bowl team fits the criteria exactly, but it is an excellent template, as shown by each team from Super Bowl LVIII:

1 franchise quarterback

  • Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
  • Eagles: Jalen Hurts

3 offensive linemen

  • Chiefs: Orlando Brown, Creed Humphrey, Joe Thuney
  • Eagles: Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Jordan Mailata

3 offensive playmakers

  • Chiefs: Travis Kelce, Juju Smith-Schuster, Isiah Pacheco
  • Eagles: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert

2 pass rushers

  • Chiefs: Chris Jones, Frank Clark
  • Eagles: Haason Reddick, Javon Hargrave, (Fletcher Cox)

3 defensive playmakers

  • Chiefs: Nick Bolton, L’Jarius Sneed, Juan Thornhill
  • Eagles: Darius Slay, James Bradberry, T.J. Edwards

While Kansas City and Philadelphia were led by the MVP and the MVP runner-up at quarterback, both teams also boasted strong rosters.

The Eagles’ roster was arguably the best in the NFL with stars at key positions and quality players everywhere. Meanwhile, Mahomes’ talent hid some of the Chiefs’ weaknesses at the offensive and defensive playmaker positions, but Kansas City did have elite talent at the offensive line and pass-rusher spots.

So where do the Jets stand heading into the 2023 offseason?

1 franchise quarterback

  • To Be Decided

3 offensive linemen

  • Alijah Vera-Tucker

3 offensive playmakers

  • Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, Elijah Moore/Tyler Conklin

2 pass rushers

  • Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers

3 defensive playmakers

  • Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, C.J. Mosley

The Jets are close, but the lack of a franchise quarterback and the holes on the offensive line are why they weren’t even a playoff team in 2022.

Thankfully, the Jets have the potential to fill these holes this off-season.

New York can solve its quarterback spot by adding either Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr. Acquiring one of those quarterbacks and then heavily investing in the offensive line via the draft and free agency could get this team to true contender status.

The defense just needs to re-sign/tender Bryce Huff and upgrade the free safety position to stay elite. But they seem to already meet the requirements for the pass-rusher and defensive playmaker categories, led by two first-team All-Pros in Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner.

The Jets need a perfect offseason to be a Championship team

With the opportunity to add an elite quarterback to a roster that has plenty of talent, the Jets feel closer to a championship than ever. Their defense just had a dominant season on the back of young players and the offense has several playmakers.

After missing the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, the Jets are ready to flip the script. We’ve recently seen teams like the Buccaneers and Rams jump to championship-caliber status after making a big splash at quarterback.

But it takes more than one piece. The Jets’ roster still lacks the offensive talent to compete with the best teams in the NFL. It will be difficult to navigate a quarterback trade and then plug their remaining holes with their cap situation.

Time is quickly running out for the Jets’ current regime. If they fail to capitalize on their current roster, Jets ownership may try to find someone else who will.

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Jim G
Jim G
7 months ago

I think the list should contain minimum coaching requirements. Think about it: when was the last time an average/below average head coach made it to the Super Bowl: Dan Quinn in 2016 is the only one who comes to mind and his OC became a successful head coach in his own right.

The defense was good, not great, in 2022. I think the defense needs one more great player to be truly elite. Think back to the Giants adding Carl Banks in 1984: a great defense became elite and was the backbone of two Lombardis.

As other commenters noted, even with an elite QB, the Jets offense needs more weapons and big improvements on the line.

7 months ago

The Jets’ defense was not elite last season. They don’t get off the field enough on 3rd down, which absolutely kills them in field position and time of possession. When a team kicks off, elite defenses hold the opponent to 3 and out, to set up the field position. That didn’t happen. Fair to say a better offense helps them too, by having longer drives and keeping the D off the field but if we are saying Elite D then they need to do more. I’m sorry.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
7 months ago

I’ve mentioned this on other sites and Facebook Jets and I feel that along with bringing in the right players in free agency and the draft this is right there with them.
Joe D needs to find a team willing to trade this year first rounder in the top 12 for future picks.
Players like Uzomah can be traded if we can fund a player with Conklin and Ruckett.
A 2nd first rounder is a huge need in fixing out the line.
The Texans, just above us at 12 are still re-building and would be a good candidate.
This gives Joe the opportunity to draft two of Paris Johnson, Pete Skoronski or Broderick Jones.
I would look at Tampa Bay in a trade for C Ryan Jensen 32 wo has 2 years at $15m per and Tampa is in terrible cap shape. A 2024 5th should get him.
We need day one starters in the O-line draft picks. Add AVT Jensen Skorinski and Johnson along with Possibly Bechton is a good start.
The rest of my draft would be
WR Rashee Rice Northwestern
S Jordan Battle Bama
ILB Zak Pickens S.Carolina
OLB Henry T’oo T’oo Bama
P Bryce Barringer Minny

Depending on Cap space from cuts and re-structures

WR JuJu Smth-Schuster
WR Sterling Shepard
RT Mike McClinchey
ILB Tremaine Edwards
S Jimmie Ward

** imo with Carr, this gives us a great chance to go deep.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buell

I am very much on board with Ward, Pickens and To’oTo’o, but the similarities in our plans end there:

I like Smith-Schuster a lot, but I don’t like his Spotrac projected salary of $14.6mm.

I would seriously consider trading back from 13, with the intent of adding Dawand Jones and Schmitz to the o-line (goodbye CMG and his 12.5mm projected salary) in the late first/early second round, which gets us a pick because…

I think we have to let Davis go, get that 10mm, and address WR in the draft. We can hope a new coaching regime has a plan for Mims, but I’d also like to see a larger possession receiver (that’s not Rice), specifically Hutchinson, but there are others, unless…

Darius Slayton can be signed for ~ 3.5mm. He’s not the big receiver I’d ideally want, but NFL success and a favorable contract are better than a 3rd round draft pick, of course.

Look at Riley Reiff, Kelvin Beachum, etc. for tackle depth, and consider AVT tackle #5. If we miss out on D Jones or Schmitz that’s still okay. There is a lot of talent on the offensive line coming out of this draft, and there are viable potential starters that can be found on day 3, especially if the Jets are willing to move AVT to tackle.

Please don’t draft a punter.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt Galemmo

Matt, I’ll probably bounce around. If you can get a really good punter it can change many games. Using a 2nd 6th rounder is fine if I’m getting someone who will be here for a decade and change a few games a year.
At wr, the Giants games I’ve watched Sterling Shepard had wr speed and catch skills in a TE body.
He also won’t cost more than $5m. Rashee Rice has a chance to be bigtime halfway thru the season.
Watching the last decade, I don’t want a good line, I want a great line similiar to late 90s and 07-09.
How do you make a good QB great? Put together a very good line and good rb’s to have a top run game. It will
a. take pressure off the QB
b. keep the d guessing which opens huge plays.
On D upgrading safety and especially linebackers who were MT responsible in giving up so many 3rd and longs.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buell

I think Dawand Jones will be great…but of course I know nothing I just read stuff. What I read has me dreaming of another Becton but without the health issues, which sounds great to me.

So with that in mind I have him, targeted to go somewhere 30-40, Schmitz, somewhere around 44, and a WR to free up Davis’ 10mm as my first three. ATM Pickens and To’ooTo’oo are expected to be on the board when it comes around again.

For now. It will change daily between now and June.

If Richardson falls to 13 though…well that might need a different plan. There’s no reason to think about that until we know who QB1 is though, but I don’t think you can have Richardson and Z Wilson on the same roster, so you need to have an idea of where you can deal Wilson. If you tell me I can have Carr, White and Richardson for my QB room, I’d gladly take a 6th rounder…even if I have to draft a punter with it.