The 2017 season may be lost, but the New York Jets clearly feel they’re moving in the right direction under their current administration.
The team announced Friday that head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan have received contract extensions. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the extensions were for two years, which would mean Bowles and Maccagnan are now signed through the 2020 season.
Since the pair was hired ahead of the 2015 campaign, the team has gone 20-27, with one game left to play in 2017. The team was 10-6 in Bowles’ first year, and he nearly became the fourth straight Jets head coach to bring the team to the playoffs in his debut season (after Herman Edwards, Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan). But the team missed the playoffs after losing its Week 17 game to the Bills that year.
The coach and GM originally each signed four-year deals, meaning they were about to enter the final years of their contracts.
“We are very happy to have extended both Mike and Todd,” Christopher Johnson, Woody Johnson’s brother and the Jets’ acting owner, said in a statement. “During their time here, they have worked together to help the organization build a foundation on which to grow. They are identifying, developing, and getting productivity out of our players.
“I believe we are headed in the right direction,” Johnson’s statement continued. “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.”
Although the Jets’ 5-11 record in 2016 and 5-10 record through 15 games this year may not reflect it, there is an argument to be made that New York is heading in a positive direction. The team exceeded the very minimal expectations fans and the media had for them for 2017. While many outlets expected the Jets to compete for the no. 1 overall draft pick in 2018, and at least one predicted the Jets would go 0-16, they started 3-2 and have defeated two teams (Jacksonville and Kansas City) who’ve made the playoffs.
Our Matt Barbato recently wrote that one more year “feels just right” for Bowles, in part because the team has vastly overachieved this year compared to the talent they have.
The Jets now have a young core of talented players, a credit to both Bowles and Maccagnan. Robby Anderson signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, and in two short years has become the Jets’ leading receiver – he has seven TD receptions and is 16th in the NFL in receiving yards. 2017 sixth-round draft pick Elijah McGuire has been a pleasant surprise as a rotational back, and of course, the bold strategy to draft Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, two safeties in the first two rounds, has paid off.
There is still the overarching question of the future of the quarterback position, but to Johnson’s point, a foundation of continuity and stability will only serve the Jets’ quest to solve that puzzle.
Meanwhile, several Jets have reacted positively to the news that their head coach was staying on board.
According to a video from the Bergen Record’s Andy Vasquez, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said Bowles “relates to the players really well and he’s smart. He’s played the game, one. He’s won a Super Bowl, so he knows what it takes. He’s been in those shoes. And the conversations we just have out there, he’s a smart dude.”
Bowles played for Washington when it won Super Bowl XXII in January 1988.
Adams, the star rookie safety, had a more concise reaction with this tweet, making his coach’s initials into a hashtag:
— JamalAdams (@TheAdams_era) December 29, 2017
Another Jets success story, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, added similar praise to the GM and coach who took a chance on him after his failed Tampa Bay career:
Well deserved https://t.co/GdufNVD1OP
— A. Seferian-Jenkins (@Aesj88) December 29, 2017
Stay tuned to nyjetfuel.com and @NewYorkJetFuel on Twitter for more updates, discussion and analysis to come.