The New York Jets ended their offseason program on June 14. Here’s a look at how it unfolded, how they fared and the questions still lingering:
Offseason goals: Same as always: Find a quarterback. General manager Mike Maccagnan was under immense pressure to sign free agent Kirk Cousins or get one of the top quarterbacks in a loaded draft class. He delivered the latter, trading up to select Sam Darnold with the third overall pick. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Jets have a young, blue-chip quarterback around whom they can build. He's the key piece in the massive rebuilding project that started last year. He doesn't have enough weapons, which should provide a clue as to what their offseason goals will be in 2019.
How they fared: Above average (if Darnold is the real deal)
Move I liked: The St. Patrick's Day trade with the Colts that allowed them to move up three spots in the draft. The Jets paid a premium -- three second-round picks -- but the aggressive move was necessary. Their top-rated quarterbacks were Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen, but they would've risked missing out on all three if they had stayed at No. 6 overall. As it turned out, they wound up with the top guy on their board. Yes, they got lucky, but as Branch Rickey once said, "Luck is the residue of design."
Move I didn’t like: They opted for the third- or fourth-best center on the free-agent market, Spencer Long, when they had enough cap room to afford someone better. Don't get me wrong, Long is an upgrade over the departed Wesley Johnson, but his track record suggests he's not the long-term answer. For one thing, he has never played a full season and he's coming off quadriceps surgery, which caused him to miss a chunk of the spring. Long was their one splurge on the offensive line, which didn't get the TLC it needed.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Who's the quarterback? Josh McCown will go into camp No. 1 on the depth chart, followed by former Vikings starter Teddy Bridgewater and Darnold, respectively. But this isn't your typical 1-2-3 depth chart; they all have a shot to be the opening-day starter. Bridgewater has the ability to steal the job, but his surgically repaired knee remains a question mark. Darnold impressed in the spring, but he'd have to be lights-out in the preseason to take it. Prediction: McCown, the safety net, emerges as the Week 1 starter, but he'll yield for Darnold before Halloween. Another prediction: All three will be on the roster. Quarterbacks aside, the most vexing question is, where's the pass rush? They have a decent group of interior rushers, led by Leonard Williams, but they didn't find any edge rushers in the draft or free agency. Mark this down: They will try to trade for one in the preseason.
Quotable: "I think people are going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new year, that they became a great team" -- CEO Christopher Johnson on the drafting of Darnold.
Salary-cap space: $19.5 million, according to NFLPA records.
2018 draft picks: 1. QB Sam Darnold (USC); 3. DE Nathan Shepherd (Fort Hays State); 4. TE Chris Herndon (Miami); 6a. CB Parry Nickerson (Tulane), 6b. DT Folorunso Fatukasi (UConn), 6c. RB/KR Trenton Cannon (Virginia State).
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: FB Dimitri Flowers (Oklahoma), C Austin Golson (Auburn), T Darius James (Auburn), LB Frankie Luvu (Washington State), G Dakoda Shepley (British Columbia), DL Mychealon Thomas (Texas Tech), WR Jonah Trinnaman (BYU), LB Anthony Wint (Florida International).
Unrestricted free agents signed: LB David Bass (Jets), QB Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings), CB Morris Claiborne (Jets), LB Brandon Copeland (Lions), RB Isaiah Crowell (Browns), CB Trumaine Johnson (Rams), C Spencer Long (Redskins), QB Josh McCown (Jets), LB Kevin Minter (Bengals), DL Mike Pennel (Jets), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (Chiefs), WR Terrelle Pryor (Redskins), WR Andre Roberts (Falcons), PK Cairo Santos (Bears), C Travis Swanson (Lions), LB Avery Williamson (Titans),
Players acquired via trade: DE Henry Anderson (Colts),