With the 2021-2022 season behind them, the Jets face a crucial offseason. They’ll have around $53-54 million in cap space (before any cap-clearance moves), as Spotrac has the number at $53,654,414 and OvertheCap.com has the number at $54,365,469. Then there’s the surplus of draft picks at their disposal. Two first, second, and fourth-round picks giving them five picks in the first 100 of the draft.
GM Joe Douglas has the opportunity to quickly turn around the Jets recent losing ways and get rid of the longest current playoff drought in the league. Both the free agent and draft classes are solid in positions of need for the team, such as edge rushers, offensive line, cornerback, wide receiver, and linebacker. The combination of this capital is rare in the NFL, as teams usually do not have consistent opportunities to completely revitalize themselves in one offseason.
As important as this offseason will be for the Jets, the continued development of their 2021 draft class is paramount for the team’s future success. Players like Zach Wilson and Micheal Carter will look to improve on their past performances, while Alijah Vera-Tucker and Brandin Echols will look to take their game to another level. But outside of Wilson, Elijah Moore is arguably the most important player from the 2021 class that needs to continue to elevate his game.
Moore had 538 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games this season, the majority of which came from Weeks 9-13. Moore’s role in the offense consistently grew over the course of the season, as he went from playing as low as 36 percent of the team’s snaps to being the main weapon of the offense and playing over 80 percent of the snaps. For all of Moore’s success, his season was cut short due to a quad injury that effectively ended his season. The rookie receiver had a good chance to get 1,000 yards receiving, but the injury took away that opportunity.
Heading into 2022, it seems that Moore is planning to utilize all of the experiences from his rookie year to improve next year. Moore said that he is “still trying to see how everything went” in his rookie year but feels that he has “learned a lot” from his first NFL season. Moore also said each game this season has helped him recognize something different. “Having those moments of learning, seeing what I can do and seeing what I can’t do, seeing what works, seeing what doesn’t, what I need to work on so I can do it better. Every game was another opportunity for me to learn something, so I’m grateful.”
With Wilson being another vital part of the Jets future, Moore is eager to continue building his rapport and relationship with his fellow rookie. The receiver said, their connection on and off the field is “very important”, and that they plan on improving it as soon as possible. “Have a little break, try to exhale and go over everything, make our list on what we need to work on, and then start back over. I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Moore.
Both Moore and Wilson seem on the same page about their offseason approach, as the quarterback mentioned in his press conference how he is also looking forward to building upon this season. The duo, along with Alijah Vera-Tucker and Michael Carter, are expected to be the foundation of the Jets offense for the foreseeable future. This point is not lost on Moore, who called the potential future of the Jets’ offense “fun to watch.” Moore also said he feels his fellow offensive rookies share his same work ethic and is “grateful” that they were all brought together.
Moore will be expected to improve on his 2021 season in every regard, as he is considered the Jets’ best playmaker and wide receiver. Considering his talent, it is realistic that Moore could eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in 2022. This is predicated on Moore staying on the field, as improving on his availability will be vital for the Jets’ offense going forward. Yet, Moore’s work ethic has already been proven to be above-average, as his development from training camp to the end of the season has been impressive. If Moore continues to improve as a player, he has the potential to be the Jets’ first true offensive superstar since Brandon Marshall and help establish the Jets offense as one to be reckoned with.