Posted on December 29, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Despite a second straight season with double-digit losses, the New York Jets like the direction they’re heading. On Friday, the Jets gave contract extensions to both head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan. Both will now be under contract through the 2020 season, giving both the chance to build on what the team has accomplished despite back-to-back losing seasons.
“We are very happy to have extended both Mike and Todd. During their time here, they have worked together to help the organization build a foundation on which to grow,” said Jets CEO Christopher Johnson in a statement. “They are identifying, developing, and getting productivity out of our players. I believe we are headed in the right direction. This provides us continuity and stability as we continue to move this team towards sustained success. We still have a lot of work to do and I am excited to work closely with both of them as we move forward.”
The Jets enter Week 17 at 5-10. Unless they can pull off an upset over the Patriots this weekend, the Jets will finish 5-11 for the second consecutive season. Bowles is currently 20-27 as head coach of the Jets. He is yet to take the team to the playoffs in three seasons at the helm.
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However, expectations heading into the 2017 season couldn’t have been any lower. At the start of the season, some believed the Jets could have gone through the season winless. The fact that the Jets have won five games and been competitive in most of their losses indicates that Bowles and Maccagnan have done a good job. If nothing else, they appear to have the Jets moving in the right direction.
Bowles and Maccagnan were actually hired on the same day. They both report directly to ownership and are considered equals within the organization hierarchy. The two are essentially a package deal, as Maccagnan didn’t have a say on whether or not Bowles remained as head coach.
“Obviously, the future is trying to win a Super Bowl and trying to get to the playoffs,” says Bowles. “We’ll add some pieces. We made some strides this year. Not enough strides, not winning enough games, but going forward we’ll make the proper adjustments and go from there.”
Moving forward, both Bowles and Maccagnan will have to find a solution at quarterback. Josh McCown was far better than anticipated this season. However, at age 38, he’s clearly not a long-term solution. Backup Bryce Petty has started the past two weeks with McCown out for the season due to injury. But Petty has struggled and clearly isn’t the answer. Meanwhile, Christian Hackenberg is yet to take a snap in a regular season game. The fact that he hasn’t played indicates that the Jets coaching staff doesn’t feel is ready or able to be an NFL starter.
The Jets will no doubt be looking for a quarterback in next year’s draft, likely in the first round. If Bowles and Maccagnan can find the right quarterback, the Jets will have a chance to build off a surprisingly competent season in 2017. With this contract extention, the pair will have at least a couple years to develop whichever quarterback they draft. If they make the right choice, they’ll have a chance to turn the Jets into a team that can compete for a playoff spot in the years to come.