WFAN’s Boomer Esiason mentioned Jets general manager Joe Douglas reportedly had a conversation with Odell Beckham Jr. about joining the Jets.
There is always substance to these rumors. Esiason has connections in the league, especially with the Jets. Owner Woody Johnson has always been fascinated with star power.
With the Jets planning to acquire Aaron Rodgers, they want to make this work by getting all the players that can help him be in a position to succeed under center. The Packers quarterback allegedly gave a list of players that he wants on the Jets such as Allen Lazard, who the Jets signed to a four-year deal recently.
There’s no doubt Rodgers is involved behind the scenes, but one can’t help but wonder how involved Johnson is.
The Jets' owner has been understandably frustrated about his team’s 12-year postseason drought, which is the longest postseason drought in the NFL and the second longest-active postseason drought among all five major men’s pro sports leagues in North America. The NBA’s Sacramento Kings have the longest active postseason drought at 16, and it’s going to end this season as they are on their way to the playoffs with a 44-29 record, good enough for a 5 1/2 lead for first place in the Pacific Division and the third seed in the Western Conference. So the Jets will have the longest postseason drought once the calendar turns to April.
Johnson is no spring chicken at 75 years old, so he would like to see the Jets not only make the playoffs but win a Super Bowl eventually.
He has been known to be involved for a long time. During the Rex Ryan years, he was involved in getting guys like Santonio Holmes, Tim Tebow, Braylon Edwards or any other big name that would help him win a championship.
There’s no reason to doubt this thinking. It was Johnson that pushed the Jets' brain trust to go after Rodgers at all costs. It’s why they have decided to go halfway to get Derek Carr. They want Rodgers since he sells tickets and he gives the Jets national prominence in the sense they will be playing on primetime and they will get talked about on national outlets.
Johnson loves it when people talk about his team. One of the reasons he loved Ryan was his head coach had everyone in town talking about the Jets for better or for worse. That’s why he kept him for so long and why he enabled the head coach’s act for so long. It’s also what motivated him to get Tebow, even though the quarterback offered nothing to the Jets, not to mention Ryan and then-Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum wanted nothing to do with him.
With the Giants overachieving that had them qualify for the playoffs this past season and the high expectations they will receive in 2023, Johnson knows the Jets have to do something.
So yes, Johnson wants to get involved, but at what point does it hurt the team?
Douglas and Saleh are on board to get Rodgers since the Packers quarterback helps the Jets to make the playoffs, not to mention giving them job security. But it’s hard for me to believe they are on board to get Beckham.
Beckham did not play this past season. He has been recovering from an ACL surgery after he suffered the injury in Super Bowl LVI in February 2022. He also did not get the offer he thought he deserved as teams decided he was not worth it after the surgery. He reportedly wants a $20 million deal per season.
There is also this thought he may not be the player he used to be. He has been injury-prone in recent years, which explained why the Giants were more than happy to exile him to Cleveland. We can talk about his behavior all we want, but if he was healthy, there’s no way the Giants were ever trading him. They knew.
Douglas would be more than happy to take Beckham’s baggage of being a diva since he knows the wide receiver will be ready to play. That’s not the issue. It’s his injury history that has the Jets general manager wary.
But it seems Johnson is more than happy to take the chance. He is desperate to do something. He wants to make Rogers happy, and most importantly, he wants the Jets to be back into the tri-state area’s and nation’s conscience again.
Johnson has been known not to be afraid to take risks, but again at what cost?
This reeks of him wanting to have a say in what he wants and he is willing to take a chance on Beckham, and Douglas has no choice but to take orders.
The reality is the Jets don’t need Beckham. They have wide receivers good enough to do well. Garrett Wilson and Denzel Mims should benefit from playing with Rodgers since they have a chance to be game-changers from what they did with Mike White.
The Jets don’t need to overcompensate by getting Beckham. They have the pieces to be a playoff team and maybe create a playoff run. Their defense is one of the best in the league anchored by Ahmad Gardner. They lacked a quarterback, and it appears they will solve that issue this year.
But it sure seems like Johnson wants more than success. He wants the back page and notoriety. He wants the Jets to be talked about.
That’s not the right way to operate a football team.
One would think Johnson would learn from his mistake in the final years of the Ryan era that had the Jets in a bad place for a long time.
You can read Leslie's Jersey Sporting News columns on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Can Mets starting rotation hold up? - June 6, 2023
- Howie Rose should be in Cooperstown - June 5, 2023
- Baby Mets coming along nicely - June 2, 2023