Trevor Lawrence Could Ditch Jets Unless They Get to Work

  • 0-16
  • 2021
  • Adam Gase
  • Andrew Luck
  • Clemson
  • Football
  • Joe Douglas
  • New York Jets
  • NFl Draft
  • Peyton Manning
  • Trevor Lawrence
By Daniel Kitchen December 11, 2020 0 Comment
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Trevor Lawrence…Between a Rock and a Terrible Place (The New York Jets)

If I am Trevor Lawrence, what I see from the New York Jets organization is not good. In fact, it’s downright scary.

The Jets are favorites to become only the third 0-16 team in NFL history. Likely losses against Seattle, the Rams, and Cleveland leave just the Jan. 3 finale against New England as a chance to win something this season (and smart individuals shouldn’t give that a large chance of happening).

With that pick, the Jets would have the right to draft Lawrence, the third generational QB of the last few decades who stands out as more than just “the guy” not only in his class, but in classes from the previous years. Before that, it was Andrew Luck in 2012, and Payton Manning in 1998.

Lawrence is likely to declare for the draft rather than return to Clemson, but if the Jets retain the first pick, should he?

While Lawrence won’t be able to watch what the Jets do in the offseason ahead of the draft and base his decision off that — his deadline to declare is mid-January, over a month before the new league year begins. All he has to go on is the current roster and 16 games of misery played this season.

His decision to join the Jets would have to be rooted in some level of faith that they can turn things around and give him an environment in which he can succeed.

How bad are the Jets, really?

How long do you have? A full piece could be devoted just to the numbers describing how bad the Jets are this season. This piece from The Washington Post earlier in the season is a fine example.

Here are some highlights three weeks after that was written: New York is last in total yards, first downs, and points this season, bottom-three in passing yards and touchdowns, committed the fourth-most offensive penalties, and allowed the fifth-most sacks and fourth-worst sack percentage this season.

The defense isn’t doing much to keep the offense in games, either. New York is bottom-four in points, total yards, and passing yards allowed, while committing the sixth-most penalties.

The Arsenal Trevor Lawrence Could Work With

Who among us would easily recall that Braxton Berrios and Jeff Smith are two of the top five receivers for the Jets this season. That’s not exactly the caliber of talent Lawrence will want to work with. Jamison Crowder leads the team with 503 yards, 40 receptions, and five touchdowns. In the former two areas, he is an abysmal 67th and 60th in the NFL.

Denzel Mims has plenty of promise as a 2nd Round pick this past draft. He has 324 yards on only 19 catches on the season. Aside from those two names, it is Breshad Perriman (374 yards), Berrios (256), and Smith (153) as the top targets, with Chris Herndon (133 yards) as the top tight end.

Don’t hold your breath for help from the run game. Ageless wonder Frank Gore leads with 523 yards. La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams comprise the rest of the backfield. Pretty sure that team would struggle to score in NFL Europe—let alone against the Patriots, Bills and Dolphins.

Don’t Want to be the Next Burrow

1st Round pick Mekhi Becton is a stud. End of story. The rest of the O-Line, though, is not what you want guarding Trevor Lawrence. You don’t hire mall cops to guard the Hope Diamond.

New York needs almost wholesale improvement on the group of Pat Elflein, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant that is lining up next to Becton as evidenced by the sack statistics mentioned up above.

David Carr in Houston is the classic example of a bad O-Line killing the career of a promising QB. That is always a worry when a top player ends up behind a line like New York’s.

But look at a present example: Joe Burrow. Cincinnati put one of the clearly worst lines in the league in front of its rookie franchise QB. Burrow suffered a severe knee injury as a result. The Jets must keep Lawrence upright and healthy, or they’ll kill his career before it has a chance to begin.

The Jets History with QBs like Lawrence

New York isn’t Cleveland-level bad as a place QB prospects go to die but it is definitely getting there.

Christian Hackenberg drafted 51st overall in 2016. Geno Smith 39th overall in 2013. Mark Sanchez fifth overall in 2009. None developed into a player who was worth the selection used on them—though Sanchez gave it an honest attempt. Honestly, to find the last QB New York drafted, developed, and got its money’s worth out of, you have to look at Chad Pennington in 2000, at 18th overall.

Before that? You’re looking at Ken O’Brien back in 1983, or—yes, it really is this far—Joe Namath in 1965.

Which brings us to the current starter, 2018’s third overall pick, Sam Darnold, and by association head coach Adam Gase.

Darnold was filled with promise coming out of USC, and was considered with current Buffalo star Josh Allen and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield as the top QBs in that class. He has disappointed tremendously, with numbers and ratings that place him among the bottom of the league’s starters.

Darnold earns some of the blame for failing to perform. So does Mike Maccagnan, the team’s former GM who failed to get Darnold any support to play with. But the largest share of blame should be laid on the feet of Gase.

Gase failed to develop Darnold, even admitting so himself. A promising career was stunted and potentially ruined permanently by a coach who couldn’t do his job.

How Can the Jets Sound Appealing?

The Jets can’t do it in one offseason. New York can, though, create an environment for Lawrence that is night and day from the nightmare Darnold played through.

Drafting Becton and Mims last year was a great start. Having a well-respected GM like Joe Douglas making those picks is also a positive, and an upgrade over Maccagnan. With a savior on the horizon, it’s time for Douglas to push the little red button and put New York’s overhaul into overdrive.

With $79 million in cap space, New York has to spend aggressively and attract some names who want the chance to play with a talent like Lawrence. Allen Robinson, T.Y. Hilton, Will Fuller, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay are just some of the names who could be free agents at WR this offseason. Aaron Jones and Phillip Lindsey are up at RB. Along the line, Joe Thuney, Corey Linsley, Brandon Scherff, Matt Feiler, Taylor Moton could all be on the market.

Even with many of those players resigning with their current teams, there will be options to spend that money on. Douglas and New York have to do so the minute the market opens.

The 2021 Draft is loaded at WR and along the O-Line. The Jets have all their early picks, as well as Seattle’s first and third-rounders. New York can find starters at both positions at picks 25 (where Seattle’s pick is currently) and 33 (the Jets’ second-rounder) in the draft, to pair with Lawrence at No. 1 overall. The best RBs will be off the board, but there will be mid-round RBs present in the third and fourth who offer an upgrade over Gore and Perine.

And finally, the Jets must let Adam Gase go. Truthfully, the fact he is still in town is shocking. Douglas must undertake the most careful head coach search in modern times for the franchise, and find the leader who can be trusted to bring out the most of a generational prospect.

To borrow from a cinematic masterpiece…

And flip around the quote that I am borrowing, Trevor Lawrence is the hero that New York needs right now, but not the one it deserves (yet). For the Jets to deserve the immense fortune of drafting the third generational QB of the last 22 years, they should be doing more and have more of a foundation in place for Lawrence to succeed. It is not good for the NFL and for football fans everywhere to see such a talent squandered. It’s worse if that is because the team who drafted him fails to build anything around him.

The NFL Draft begins April 29. The Jets have 140 days to take a roster poised to go 0-16, and make it an appealing destination for Trevor Lawrence to want to play in.

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Here to discuss and examine all things NFL Draft. Occasionally sarcastic. Life is better with more scrambling QBs.

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