On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he did not believe the Jets -- or any team for that matter -- were purposely trying to lose games.
He added: "I think teams, depending on where you are, go through transitions. They are looking to sort of say, 'We need to build more talent here, we'll do it through the draft. Let's let some of our veteran players go and develop some of our younger players.'
"That's always been part of football. That's always been part of sports. ... Every team does that differently."
Due to a potentially enticing crop of quarterbacks who may or may not be sitting atop the 2018 draft board, the Jets' pivot toward younger, cheaper, controllable talent has taken on a different feel around the NFL. The Cleveland Browns had a startlingly similar start to the 2016 offseason after installing Sashi Brown as executive vice president and Paul Depodesta as chief strategy officer. While acquiring a potential franchise quarterback is part of any rebuild, the foundation of any team is cost-effective in-prime talent. The Jets were headed in a similar direction under former general manager John Idzik, but after a surprising 10-win season in 2015 with Mike Maccagnan, they opted to add veterans to their stable.
Life is much different in Florham Park now where, like Cleveland, the focus is on throwing rookies into the deep end and forcing them to swim. I wrote about first and second-round picks Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye on Monday and why their 2017 regular seasons could be a barometer for how long this rebuild takes. If that is considered "tanking," then it's tanking with a gigantic caveat. The Jets' coaching staff still has a glut of young players they need to improve.