The Jets have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, meaning their postseason drought will continue into a 13th year. Nobody within the organisation will find that acceptable, but the manner in which they were eliminated will grate even harder.

The Dolphins came ready to play despite missing key players on the offensive side of the ball, and the Jets unfortunately did not have an answer. Although there are 3 games yet to be played, the period of reflection will start now. Plans for the 2024 season would have begun a long time ago, but for the fans, those plans will now come into sharper focus.

So what are the priorities as we hurtle towards the end of the season?

The first priority is to ensure that Aaron Rodgers is 100% healthy. The second is to focus on continuing to build the roster the right way; a big part of that is the Draft.

If the season were to end today the Jets would hold the 6th overall selection in the NFL Draft, and what they do with that pick, wherever it ends up, is going to be an interesting conversation over the coming months.

Do they draft a quarterback to sit behind Aaron Rodgers? It’s likely that both top QB prospects, Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, will be long gone, but players like Bo Nix, Jayden Daniels, and Michael Penix Jr should be available and in consideration.

Maybe they opt for another offensive weapon to pair with Garrett Wilson? Marvin Harrison Jr, a fellow Ohio State University star, has the talent and the pedigree and is guaranteed to be a top-5 selection, whilst TE Brock Bowers could have a Travis Kelce like impact in the right system. But don’t sleep on wide receivers Malik Nabers from LSU and Rome Odunze from Washington; both have gamebreaking talent.

My preferred option is to look at the offensive line. Robert Saleh highlighted the battle up front after yesterday’s game, and there are two elite tackle prospects who will be top-10 candidates this year. Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Notre Dame’s Joe Alt. I’m a fan of Alt as the ultimate technician at left tackle but both are outstanding prospects who could solidify the line.

The Jets also have some key decisions to make on pending free agents.

Mekhi Becton is set to hit free agency, and he’ll be joined by a number of other players. The list includes Duane Brown, Carl Lawson, Jordan Whitehead, Chuck Clark, Dalvin Cook, Bryce Huff, Quinton Jefferson, Randall Cobb, Greg Zuerlein, Solomon Thomas, Al Woods, Justin Hardee, Connor McGovern, Ashtyn Davis and Thomas Morstead. There are more, but that gives an indication of the work that Joe Douglas has to do heading into the 2024 season.

There will obviously be some roster turnover. Not only is it inevitable with the way the NFL works and the size of the rosters, but it’s also a healthy part of roster management. New players bring new energy, new experience, new voices. The juggling act of managing an NFL roster isn’t easy and I don’t envy Joe Douglas or the countless hours he’ll be putting in over the coming months.

Deciding who to let go and who to keep and target in free agency will largely determine how the following season goes. Ensuring you have that top-end talent as well as valuable depth is a balancing act that’s hard to achieve under the salary cap restrictions.

To ensure you have that depth, emphasis is placed on the lower rounds of the draft. Players picked in the 3rd round or later have a significantly lower salary. Think of players like Bryce Huff who went undrafted, Xavier Gipson too. Finding those hidden gems is where you can truly earn your dinner, and where teams can truly flourish in terms of their depth.

2023 has been a difficult season, and it’s disappointing that with three games to go we’re already looking at the 2024 season. Every team goes through a cycle, but we’ve been doing this for too long.

The Jets will now head into another offseason where tough decisions have to be made, but as fans we live in perpetual hope that next year may be the one.