FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets have come a long way as an organization. Wrap your brain around this:
Two years ago this week, Adam Gase was the interim general manager.
The former coach was handed the title after the firing of GM Mike Maccagnan on May 15, 2019, an abrupt move that plunged the franchise into a state of turmoil. It was bad.
In some ways, the Jets still are recovering, but they're moving in the right direction. The rebuild started with the hiring of GM Joe Douglas on June 7, 2019, and now they have a new coach (Robert Saleh) and a new quarterback (Zach Wilson).
Only 14 of the 90 players on the current roster pre-date Douglas' arrival, most notably safety Marcus Maye, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, linebacker C.J. Mosley and wide receiver Jamison Crowder. The other 10 are marginal starters and backups.
A stunning transformation.
To mark the two-year anniversary of The Big Shake-Up, let's take a quick look at the roster.
Douglas inherited Sam Darnold, deciding two years was enough. They haven't revealed their timeline for Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, but know this: If Wilson is healthy, he will be the starter. The only question is the backup plan.
Neither Morgan nor White has regular-season experience, and it wouldn't be prudent to entrust one of them with the QB2 job. You have to go back to 2013 to find the the last time a team went into Week 1 without a quarterback on the active roster who had played in a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Buffalo Bills did it with E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel. The Jets did it the same season with Geno Smith and Matt Simms. (Mark Sanchez was on the roster, but injured and inactive.)
Let's say this: Without Frank Gore, 38, the Jets are a lot younger in the backfield. Coleman has a leg-up because he played in the scheme as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, but the situation screams "running back-by-committee." Carter, their fourth-round pick, will have a chance to show his stuff.
This is the most improved position on the team, thanks to the additions of Davis, Cole and Moore. This scheme (a version of the West Coast offense) typically doesn't use four-receiver packages, so it will be interesting to see how the roles are divided. Moore, the Jets' second-round pick, can line up anywhere in the formation, which should allow the coaches to be creative.
The Jets are betting on Herndon, hoping his 2020 funk was an aberration. Truth be told, Herndon, one of the Maccagnan holdovers, hasn't been a reliable player since 2018. Griffin, also coming off a lost season, should be better now that he's a year removed from ankle surgery. Wesco will get a look at fullback, although offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur isn't married to a two-back system.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, George Fant, Dan Feeney, Alex Lewis, Chuma Edoga, Cameron Clark, Conor McDermott, Corey Levin, Jimmy Murray, Teton Saltes, Tristen Hoge, Grant Hermanns, Parker Ferguson
This line is pretty much all Douglas. The only Maccagnan player is Edoga, the Jets' 2019 third-round draft pick who hasn't been good enough to win a starting job. Vera-Tucker, drafted in the first round, should be the Day 1 rookie starter at left guard, creating a potentially formidable left side with him and Becton.
The most competitive position is right guard, where Van Roten will be challenged by pretty much every guard on the depth chart. Lewis has a steep cap charge ($6.8 million), which could bite him at some point. The 2020 offensive line ranked near the bottom of the league in the key metrics; there's nowhere to go but up.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Williams, Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins, John Franklin-Myers, Vinny Curry, Folorunso Fatukasi, Nathan Shepherd, Jabari Zuniga, Kyle Phillips, Tanzel Smart, Bryce Huff, Jonathan Marshall, Michael Dwumfour, Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
Saleh's 4-3 system is predicated on the front four generating pressure, which explains why they spent big money on Lawson. Williams and Rankins, another free-agent addition, play the same position (3-technique tackle), but the scheme is built for having two on the field at the same time. Williams is rehabbing from foot surgery, but he's expected for training camp.
This is a better group than last season, but the fourth starter remains a question mark. You could see a rotation that includes Franklin-Myers and Curry.
This is probably the weakest area on the team. Mosley returns from his 2020 opt-out, but what kind of player will he be after essentially missing two full seasons? Saleh hasn't settled on Mosley as his middle linebacker -- Davis is an option -- so that's something to watch.
The Jets believe Davis, a 2017 first-round disappointment with the Detroit Lions, will flourish in their scheme. In the 4-3, it's all about speed and lateral movement. By default, Cashman is the leader for the weak-side spot, but he can't stay healthy. Sherwood, a fifth-round pick, will push for the job.
Everybody wants to know, "Will they sign a veteran? Will it be Richard Sherman?"
The sense around the team is that Saleh is comfortable with the idea of riding with so many young players. This group has a combined total of 35 career starts. Yeah, that's young. Austin and Hall return as outside starters, with Carter II (fifth-round pick) expected to push Guidry in the slot. This is one area where Douglas has yet to invest significant resources; it could come back to bite the Jets.
The big question here is whether the Jets can get Maye signed to a long-term extension by the July 15 deadline. Don't count on it. He already has signed his franchise-tag tender ($10.6 million), so there's no threat of him boycotting mandatory practices.
Joyner, a free-agent addition, is the favorite to start opposite Maye. They see him as a post safety whose presence will allow Maye to move around and play strong safety. They have high hopes for Davis, a 2020 third-round pick, but he didn't show enough last season to be handed a starting job. That's one of the reasons why they signed Joyner, a seasoned pro.
Mann and Hennessy are locks. Ficken and Naggar, an undrafted rookie from SMU, will battle for the kicking job. Will the game of musical kickers ever stop?