A look at what's going on around the New York Jets:
1. To QB or not to QB? General manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles are a couple of Jersey guys who like to say they see football the same way. The Jets' first-round decision on Thursday night could be a window into their relationship.
Maccagnan is a quarterback guy. He subscribes to the old Ron Wolf philosophy, that teams should draft a quarterback every year and create a pipeline. Ultimately, Maccagnan will be judged on whether he can end years -- no, decades -- of instability at the position. He may have the opportunity to put his quarterback stamp on the franchise by drafting Paxton Lynch, who probably would sit on the bench for a year as he learns a pro-style offense. He wouldn't help until 2017.
Bowles is an old-school defensive coach who came from a franchise -- the Arizona Cardinals -- that started three quarterbacks in 2014 and still made the playoffs. He believes he can win with a competent game manager as long as he has a strong defense, and right now his defense needs an edge-rusher and a cornerback.
This is one of the fascinating subplots to the draft -- the win-now versus build-for-tomorrow conundrum. Fundamentally, the GM's job is to find good players for his coach, but we all know it's not as simple as that. There's usually a give and take.
The 2017 and 2018 quarterback classes are lean, according to scouts, so this could be the Jets' last first-round chance for a while. Picking Lynch would energize a fan base already weary of the Ryan Fitzpatrick impasse, but it would be a redshirt year for their first-round pick. My hunch? I say they don't pick Lynch, re-sign Fitzpatrick and continue to develop Bryce Petty. But as Bill Parcells used to say, I reserve the right to change my mind.
2. The Maccagnan doctrine: Speaking of Maccagnan, he's such a proponent of building long-term success that he doesn't like to evaluate single seasons based on wins and losses. He's the anti-Bill Parcells, who is famous for saying, "You are what your record says you are."
Asked if he hopes to compete for the playoffs in 2016, Maccagnan said: "Yeah, in a perfect world, we'd like to potentially compete for the playoffs. To me, I don't necessarily view that as a benchmark for success or failure."
If owners felt the same way, nobody would get fired.
3. Political football: This is a Presidential election year, so the Jets will make a blockbuster move at quarterback -- if history repeats, that is. They've made major acquisitions in three of the four election years under owner Woody Johnson, a heavy hitter in presidential politics. In 2000, they drafted Chad Pennington. In 2008, they traded for Brett Favre. In 2012, they traded for Tim Tebow. In 2016, they will ...
We'll find out in a few days.
4. Fitz vs. Hoyer: I spoke to a former general manager who said the Jets should move on from Fitzpatrick and sign Brian Hoyer, who took a free-agent visit last week. Why? He said the difference between the two players is "negligible," but he'd favor Hoyer based on these factors -- age (three years younger than Fitzpatrick), better deep-ball passer and cheaper price tag. The former GM also said the impasse with Fitzpatrick will be a litmus test for Maccagnan, adding that other players and their agents will be watching to see if he sticks to his guns or caves. Either way, it'll be a loud message.
5. Postcard from Revis Island: Pins were removed last week from Darrelle Revis' surgically repaired right wrist. The Pro Bowl cornerback, who had a torn ligament repaired on March 17, faces another two months of rehab. It means he will miss the offseason practices, which conclude June 16. He's on schedule, so nothing has changed in terms of his recovery timeline. He can't lift weights or participate in full-speed football activities, but he can work on his cardio during this period. The silver lining is that younger players such as Marcus Williams and Dexter McDougle will get increased reps in practice. Dee Milliner could use the work, too; he hasn't played a defensive snap since October 2014.
6. Slow Mo-tion: Here we are, four days until the draft, and no teams have emerged as suitors for Pro Bowl defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. It's not a surprise; it's hard to trade players with the franchise tag. He's thought to be seeking at least $50 million in guarantees, a mighty big freight for a team to add. Yes, Josh Norman just received a $51 million guarantee from the Washington Redskins, but they weren't required to compensate the Carolina Panthers. He was set free when the Panthers rescinded the franchise tag. The Jets have no plans to do that with Wilkerson.
7. Taking the fifth: Teams have until May 2 to exercise the fifth-year options for 2013 first-round picks. The Jets had two first-rounders that year -- Milliner and Sheldon Richardson. These decisions are no-brainers for the Jets.
The 2017 salary for a cornerback drafted in the top 10 is $11.9 million, and there's no way the Jets can sign up for that. The money isn't fully guaranteed until the start of the 2017 league year, so they could pick up the option and release Milliner at any point before then with no cap hit (see: Quinton Coples), but what's the point? Unless he morphs into Revis overnight, there's no way he could justify an $11.9 million salary. It's also too risky for someone with his injury history. It's a different story with Richardson, an ascending player whose $8 million option would be a bargain.
8. Big expectations: Eric Decker has high hopes for the offense, which finished 10th in total yards, its highest ranking since 1998.
"We want to be a top-5 offense," he told reporters last week.
Decker also said he'd like to see the offense "expand, as far as our weapons and spreading the football out, getting the ball in the tight ends' hands."
It might help to have a quarterback and a pass-catching tight end.
9. Just for kicks: The Jets had a recent meeting with Florida State's Roberto Aguayo, the best kicker in the draft. A Mike Nugent redux? Nugent was the last kicker to be drafted in the first three rounds. He was a second-round pick of the Jets in 2005.
10. Curse of the second round: Every hardcore fan knows the second round hasn't been kind to the Jets, but did you know this? The last second-rounder to make the Pro Bowl at an offensive or defensive position was Mark Gastineau, chosen in 1979. (Justin Miller, class of 2005, made one Pro Bowl as a kick returner.) Last year's second-rounder, Devin Smith, was plagued by injuries and suffered a season-ending ACL tear.