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From 21 to 42, the best NY Jets season for players at each age

Breece Hall, NY Jets, NFL, RB, Stats
Breece Hall, New York Jets, Getty Images

These were the best New York Jets seasons for the players’ ages

Two New York Jets players recently celebrated their birthdays, with Alijah Vera-Tucker (June 17) turning 25 and C.J. Mosley (June 19) turning 32. That got me thinking about the best Jets seasons of all time at each age. Who had the best age-21 season for the Jets? What about age-42?

All ages are via Pro Football Reference, which lists age based on the player’s age on December 31 of that season. The Jets have never had a player finish their rookie season at age 20, so we’ll start with 21.

21: Breece Hall (2022)

There haven’t been many 21-year-olds to grace the Jets’ roster by the end of their rookie seasons. Mekhi Becton was an option, and technically Breece Hall doesn’t belong on this list after appearing in only seven games. But Hall was so dominant in those games that it’s hard to put Becton here, especially considering how many games Becton himself left with injuries. Hall averaged 5.8 yards per carry and was running away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year when he tore his ACL.

Other options: Mekhi Becton (2020)

22: Sauce Gardner (2022)

There really is no Jets player who came close to producing what Sauce Gardner did in his rookie season. No Jets player has ever picked up a Pro Bowl, first-team All-Pro, and Defensive Rookie of the Year in the same season.

Other options: Jonathan Vilma (2004)

23: John Abraham (2001)

It’s tempting to put Gardner here again, but John Abraham posted 13 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2001, and his 16 Approximate Value (AV) beat Gardner’s 14. He was also a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro. This was just Abraham’s second season in the league and fully justified the Jets’ selection of him with the 13th pick of the 2000 NFL draft.

Other options: Freeman McNeil (1983), Wesley Walker (1978), Art Powell (1960), Al Toon (1986)

24: Darrelle Revis (2009)

It’s very hard to overlook the season in which Joe Namath posted the first 4,000-yard season ever, but that’s how dominant Darrelle Revis was in 2009. He criminally lost out on the Defensive Player of the Year, but his 22 AV tied for 24th all-time in a single season. Revis was a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro, and the list of receivers he shut down during that season was legendary. He faced an incredible 111 targets, unlike the rest of his career where he was tested much more sparingly.

Other options: Joe Namath (1967)

25: Mark Gastineau (1981)

It was hard not to put Quinnen Williams’ 2022 season here, as the Jets defensive tackle broke out with 12 sacks, culminating in Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro nods. However, Mark Gastineau posted 20 sacks in 1981, and even though Williams outdid him in AV 17-14, there’s just no way to overlook that eye-popping number. Surprisingly, Gastineau was only a second-team All-Pro that season, but he finished third in the Defensive Player of the Year voting.

Other options: Al Toon (1988), George Sauer (1968), Nick Mangold (2009), Laveranues Coles (2002), Joe Namath (1968), Darrelle Revis (2010), David Harris (2009), Quinnen Williams (2022)

26: Darrelle Revis (2011)

It was hard not to put Gastineau here again because he posted a whopping 20 AV in 1982, but due to the strike-shortened season, it was hard to put a player who participated in just nine games there. Revis was again a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2011, finishing with 17 AV and allowing just 35 of 85 targets (41.2%) to be caught. His targeted passer rating was 45.6.

Other options: Quinnen Williams (2023), Mark Gastineau (1982), Marvin Powell (1981), Larry Grantham (1964), Nick Mangold (2010), Muhammad Wilkerson (2015), Mark Gastineau (1982)

27: Mark Gastineau (1983)

A year after the strike-shortened season, Gastineau was at it again, posting 19 sacks and 18 AV. He was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler and finished seventh in the Defensive Player of the Year voting.

Other options: Quincy Williams (2023), Marvin Powell (1982), Gerry Philbin (1968), Lance Mehl (1985)

28: Mark Gastineau (1984) and Joe Klecko (1981)

There’s no way to differentiate between these two teammates in their age-28 seasons. Gastineau set the NFL record with 22.0 sacks, a record which stood for 16 years. Joe Klecko had 20.5 sacks in 1981. Gastineau finished third in the Defensive Player of the Year voting in 1984; Klecko finished second in 1981. Both were first-team All-Pros and Pro Bowlers. Klecko had 16 AV, Gastineau 15.

Other options: Curtis Martin (2001), Kevin Mawae (1999)

29: Mo Lewis (1998)

While Mo Lewis will forever be remembered as the player who put Tom Brady on the map, Jets fans of that era know that he was also an excellent player. In 1998, he posted 17 AV en route to first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections. Lewis had seven sacks. Joe Fields actually had 18 AV in 1982, but the strike-shortened season gives Lewis the nod.

Other options: Curtis Martin (2002), Laveranues Coles (2006), Kris Jenkins (2008), Joe Fields (1982)

30: Don Maynard (1965)

In 1965, Don Maynard posted 14 AV en route to a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl berth. He had 68 catches for 1,218 yards and 14 touchdowns, a Jets record that still hasn’t been broken.

Kevin Mawae (2001), Curtis Martin (2003)

31: Curtis Martin (2004)

In Curtis Martin‘s finest season as a Jet, he led the NFL with 1,697 rushing yards and also scored 12 rushing touchdowns (14 overall). Martin was a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro and finished fourth in the Offensive Player of the Year voting.

Other options: Brandon Marshall (2015), Mo Lewis (2000)

32: Joe Klecko (1985)

Klecko moved over to nose tackle in 1985, but he wasn’t any worse for wear. It was the third position in which he made a Pro Bowl, and he’s the only player ever to accomplish that feat. He was also a first-team All-Pro and finished with an incredible 20 AV.

Other options: Don Maynard (1967)

33: Don Maynard (1968)

Maynard was a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 1968, beating his previous season’s mark by posting 17 AV. He had 57 catches for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 99.8 receiving yards per game.

Other options: Kevin Mawae (2004), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2015)

34: Don Maynard (1969)

Maynard was back at it again in 1969 with a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl berth. He had 47 catches for 938 yards and 6 touchdowns in 11 games.

35: Vinny Testaverde (1998)

Vinny Testaverde made the Pro Bowl in 1998 in leading the Jets to the AFC Championship Game. He also finished seventh in the Offensive Player of the Year voting. Testaverde completed 61.5% of his passes for 3,256 yards, 29 touchdowns, just 7 interceptions, and a 101.6 quarterback rating.

36: Greg Zuerlein (2023)

The Jets’ kicker didn’t receive any accolades for his work, but Greg Zuerlein was quietly excellent in 2023. He went 35-for-38 on field goals (92.1%), including 5-for-6 from 50+ yards. He was the lone bright spot in an otherwise putrid Jets scoring unit.

37: Don Maynard (1972)

The pickings are slim, so we’ll go with Maynard and his 7 AV. Maynard was on the back nine of his career at this point, catching 29 passes for 510 yards and two touchdowns, but still averaged 17.6 yards per reception.

38: Josh McCown (2017)

Josh McCown kept the Jets surprisingly watchable in 2017, posting 9 AV. He completed 67.3% of his passes for 2,926 yards, 18 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a 94.5 passer rating in 13 starts.

39: Brett Favre (2008)

Brett Favre somehow landed in the Pro Bowl in 2008 despite throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns (22). He completed 65.7% of his passes for 3,472 yards and an 81.0 passer rating. His torn biceps was likely the reason for his collapse down the stretch of the season.

40: Vinny Testaverde (2003)

In 2003, Testaverde started seven games, posting a 62.1% completion percentage, a 7:2 TD:INT ratio, 7.0 yards per attempt, and a 90.6 passer rating while filling in for the injured Chad Pennington.

41: Mark Brunell (2011)

Testaverde wasn’t with the Jets in 2004, making Mark Brunell the only option. Brunell was active for all 16 games for the Jets in 2011 but attempted just three passes, completing one for 27 yards.

42: Vinny Testaverde (2005)

In 2005, Testaverde was among the quarterback carousel for the Jets, completing 60 of 106 passes (56.6%) for 777 yards, a 1:6 TD:INT ratio, and a 59.4 passer rating.

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