The active part of the NFL offseason is now over. There will be some more cap casualties and other late moves, but the bulk of free agency is finished, and the draft is in the rearview mirror. That means the players that will be competing for jobs in minicamps and training camp are by and large in place.
Which teams have improved the most? Many have tried, but only a handful have done a really good job improving their rosters from where they were at the end of the 2018 season. Here are the ten teams that have done the best with it.
10. Arizona Cardinals
Toward the end of the 2018 season, Arizona’s offense, in particular, was borderline unwatchable, lacking much in the way of a passing or running game. Kliff Kingsbury’s arrival is expected to help the passing side of things, and while much can be said of the team’s handling of the Josh Rosen situation, Kyler Murray is more in line with what he wants to do. The likes of Jordan Hicks and Terrell Suggs should help the defense, while cornerback Byron Murphy could be a good value pick at the start of the second round. The Cardinals won’t be great, but they’ll be better.
The New York Jets have not yet formally introduced their top pick of the NFL Draft, and that is apparently the way it will stay.
Most teams hold press conferences for their top picks at some point after they join the team, and almost all teams hold some sort of media event when they make a top-five selection. The availability gives the media a chance to learn more about the player and his journey to the NFL, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes that new Jets head coach Adam Gase did not allow Quinnen Williams to have that kind of big welcome.
Why? Mehta speculates that Gase may have wanted to send a message that Williams is no more important to the Jets than their other draft picks, though the fact that they selected the former Alabama star third overall says otherwise. Gase also could simply feel that a player who has yet to play a down in the NFL does not deserve a big press conference.
This isn’t the first time a coach has tried to change the culture of a team upon taking over, but it seems fairly significant. Between Gase squashing a tradition and the rumblings we have heard about the Jets’ front office, there are some interesting storylines to monitor in New York as we head into the 2019 season.
The New York Jets made what was widely regarded as a successful first round pick Thursday night during the NFL Draft, but a new report states that may just be masking some problems beneath the surface in the team’s front office.
According to Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is “on the hot seat internally,” and there is an expectation across the league that the team will shake up the front office after the draft.
I hear that all is not well in New York Jets land about their scouting operation. General Manager Mike Maccagnan is on the hot seat internally, and many in the league expect changes in the Jets’ front office after the draft. Stay tuned. https://t.co/WEciqKkI5D
— Michael Lombardi (@mlombardiNFL) April 26, 2019
It’s not really clear what the heart of the reported issue is here. Maccagnan was retained when coach Todd Bowles was fired and allowed to conduct the search that brought in Adam Gase. They also trusted him to run the draft and all that went along with that. There are teams that overhaul their scouting departments after the NFL Draft, but it’s a bit odd that the general manager is on the hot seat at this point in the offseason.
The New York Jets have been considered one of the teams most likely to trade down in the NFL Draft, and one team believes they already have a potential contingency deal.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, one team believes the Jets have already made a deal to trade out of the No. 3 pick if defensive end Quinnen Williams is still on the board at that point.
Sounds like there’s a pretty good chance the #Jets trade down. One team already under the impression the Jets have a deal worked out with another team if Q Williams is available at 3. Keep an eye on Buffalo (9). Jets could get edge rusher or OLM in trade down.
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 25, 2019
The Jets have been pretty open about their desire to trade down, and there are definitely interested parties. It’s one of the biggest spots to watch Thursday night.
The New York Jets hold the third pick in the NFL Draft, but it certainly doesn’t sound like they intend to use it.
According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Jets appear “determined” to move down from No. 3. The team’s goal is believed to be to at least recoup the second-round pick they gave up last year when they traded up to select quarterback Sam Darnold.
“They seem to really, really want to move down,” one NFL executive told Vacchiano. “Maybe they’re just keeping their options open, but it sure seems like that No. 3 pick is for sale.”
General manager Mike Maccagnan has made no secret of the fact that the Jets are ready and willing to discuss trading down. Judging by this report, it sounds like they may be downright eager to do it, and they could be very active leading up to the draft.
- New York Jets
One of the great variables of the NFL Draft is which teams will be active in the trade market. Some teams have made it a habit of trading their picks on draft day, and others have needs, picks to spare, and the willingness to package some of them together to make a big move. The tricky part is figuring out which teams will be aggressive in trying to move up — or down.
Here are eight teams that are more likely than most to make some sort of move on draft day beyond just handing in the card and making their allotted selection.
1) New England Patriots
There aren’t really any rumors about the Patriots. They are quiet, as they often are. That doesn’t really mean anything, though. The Patriots have a remarkable record of trading their draft picks, and they have tons of them to play with — 12 in total, including six in the first three rounds. This year could see the Patriots trade up, which would be a rarity, but they have some serious needs to fill on offense. Of course, they could always trade down as well, as they have done so often in the past.
It has been more than two years since Le’Veon Bell took part in offseason workouts, but things have changed now that he has a fat new contract.
The New York Jets held the first day of their offseason conditioning program on Monday, and Bell showed up on time and ready to work.
Bell responded from his own Instagram account with, “yeah, it’s that time.”
Bell refused to take part in offseason workouts — both voluntary and mandatory — with the Pittsburgh Steelers the past two years after they used the franchise tag on him. The issue was always about money, and his decision to show up to voluntary workouts in New York confirms that.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had an interesting comment recently about how much money the Jets gave Bell, but at least the Pro Bowl running back is showing he is committed to his new team.