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State of the New York Jets: Can Aaron Rodgers lead bounce-back campaign with improved roster?

Where does your squad stand ahead of the 2024 NFL season? Adam Rank sets the table by providing a State of the Franchise look at all 32 teams, zeroing in on the new faces to know, one significant fantasy spin and the stakes at play in the campaign to come.

Members of the Jets organization, Jets fans around the world, and those who hope you can go one offensive series before the sadness sets in.

Well, that's not the way you wanted the Jets' season to start last year. I'll take some responsibility for that -- I had Aaron Rodgers and Garrett Wilson on a ton of my fantasy teams. It was a heartbreaking end of the season -- all four plays of it. The good news is the Jets have one of the best rosters in the NFL and should be ready to fulfill the expectations laid before them when they acquired Rodgers last offseason. Can they do it? Let's take a look.

2024 brain trust

POSITION NAME
Head coach Robert Saleh
General manager Joe Douglas
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich
Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer

Roster reshuffling

Below is a rundown of the Jets' most notable roster developments for the 2024 season, including this year's draft class, as well as key acquisitions and departures via free agency and trade.

Draft class (round-pick) Key additions Key departures
Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State (1-11) Tyrod Taylor, QB Trevor Siemian, QB
Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky (3-65) Mike Williams, WR Zach Wilson, QB
Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin (4-134) John Simpson, OL Randall Cobb, WR
Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State (5-171) Morgan Moses, OT C.J. Uzomah, TE
Isaiah Davis, RB, South Dakota State (5-173) Tyron Smith, OT Mekhi Becton, OT
Qwan'tez Stiggers, CB (5-176) Haason Reddick, Edge Duane Brown, OT
Jaylen Key, S, Alabama (7-257) Leki Fotu, DL Billy Turner, OT
Javon Kinlaw, DL Laken Tomlinson, OG
Isaiah Oliver, CB Connor McGovern, C
Bryce Huff, Edge
Carl Lawson, Edge
John Franklin-Myers, DL
Quinton Jefferson, DL
Bryce Hall, CB
Jordan Whitehead, S

New faces to know

Mike Williams
WR · Year 8

I mean, if you鈥檙e the Jets and you have a quarterback you hope can return from injury, why not add a receiver who tore his ACL in Week 3? Williams has missed 19 games over the last two seasons (including that Chargers' wild-card loss), but he anticipates he'll be ready come Week 1. I like the talent and he鈥檚 been great downfield. Since 2018, the veteran leads the NFL with 15.8 yards per reception among players with 200+ receptions. The Jets are looking for Rodgers to get back to his deep-ball proficiency, which has declined in each season since 2020. Williams should help, if he can stay on the field.

Olumuyiwa Fashanu
OT · Rookie

Knowing they needed more protection in front of Rodgers, the Jets selected Fashanu with the 11th overall pick in April鈥檚 draft. He didn鈥檛 allow a single sack in 697 pass-blocking snaps at Penn State. I mean, that鈥檚 pretty massive for a guy who played in the Big Ten. 

Morgan Moses
OT · Year 10
John Simpson
G · Year 5
Tyron Smith
OT · Year 14

The Jets have a new starting left tackle, left guard and right tackle. The Jets are not messing around, using their first-round pick on Fashanu and then totally revamping the O-line. That鈥檚 also great news for a guy like Breece Hall, who we鈥檒l get to in a moment. But according to Next Gen Stats, Rodgers has a 73.2 completion percentage when he鈥檚 not pressured, compared to 40.8 when pressured. His touchdown-to-interception ratio improves from 11-7 when pressured to an astounding 52-9 when he鈥檚 not pressured. Rodgers鈥 passer rating jumps from 61.6 to 111.4. This is why the Jets didn鈥檛 mess around and got serious with the line. 

State of the QB room

Aaron Rodgers has won multiple MVP awards. He's a Super Bowl winner. I would even suggest he has a lot to offer the Jets, who added QB2 Tyrod Taylor this offseason, in 2024. But skipping out on minicamp is kind of tough to take, especially when Rodgers missed basically the entire 2023 season with an injury. It certainly allowed the keyboard warriors to vent on the internet. TikTok had a field day with it. The truth is, however, none of that is going to matter once a healthy Rodgers starts throwing rockets to Garrett Wilson and putting up huge numbers. These things tend to be forgotten once real football is played. And again, I really do believe Rodgers is going to have a great season. Trust me, I've seen vengeful Rodgers as a Bears fan. It's not pleasant -- for opponents anyway.

Most important non-QB

Sauce Gardner
CB · Year 3

The Jets fielded the No. 2-ranked pass defense in the NFL last season, allowing just 168.3 pass yards per game. Opponents averaged just 23.5 yards per drive against Robert Saleh鈥檚 unit, also second-fewest league-wide. The Jets defense forced a three-and-out on 27.8 percent of drives -- again, second-most in the NFL. And it was Sauce leading the way. The two-time All-Pro selection has a 92.1 coverage grade in his career, the best in the NFL since 2022, per PFF. The Jets' defense is pretty nasty. 

My HOTTEST Jets fantasy take:

Breece Hall is -- at worst -- the third running back off the board.

That outlook is going to be a tough one for the "do the opposite of what Rank says" crowd. Kidding. Hall averages just under 95 scrimmage yards per game for his career, and he'll continue to be huge in the pass game for the Jets this season after leading the team with four receiving TDs in 2023. I actually think he'll see the end zone more with a healthy Rodgers. Think of Aaron Jones in his prime in Green Bay. Keep in mind, as good as Hall was last season, he had only one goal-line rush -- another number that should improve this year.

2024 roadmap

Three key dates:

  • Week 1 (Monday night): at San Francisco 49ers. I mean, don't tell me this wasn't intentional. A year after losing their star quarterback in this game, the Jets again open the season on Monday Night Football. This time, they're on the road in the Bay Area, where Aaron Rodgers grew up.
  • Week 6 (Monday night): vs. Buffalo Bills. The opener is rough. But the Jets should be favored to win over the next couple of weeks. Their next litmus test? This contest against a Bills team that has won the division for four straight years.
  • Week 14: at Miami Dolphins. The back end of the schedule is loaded for the Jets, who play against the Dolphins twice (including Week 18 at home) and at Buffalo in Week 17.

For 2024 to be a success, the Jets MUST:

A) Win the Super Bowl
B) Make a playoff run
C) Earn a playoff berth
D) Finish above .500
E) Show progress

My answer: B) Make a playoff run. I mean, this is the end of the line for a few of the Jets notables here. It feels like Aaron Rodgers has one more chance to get the team to the playoffs before he ends up joining the Vikings next season (I'm only sort of joking). Robert Saleh needs to prove he's the guy who can lead this team to success for 2024 and beyond. A playoff berth would probably be enough. But this is really one of the best rosters in the NFL, and Rodgers is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league even at 40 years old. The Jets must win playoff games to really feel good about this season. I'd even say that anything less than a Super Bowl would be a disappointment. But considering what happened last year, I'll be a little generous here.

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