Zach Wilson took it on the chin, absorbing 44 sacks (third-most) in his debut season, but it arguably would have been a lot worse without the help of his offensive line, which finished 11th out of 32 teams in PFF’s year-end rankings. As a thank you for keeping him upright throughout the season, the rookie presented each of his O linemen a comped plane ticket to a destination of their choosing. The round-trip tickets were courtesy of JetBlue, a commercial airline founded by Wilson’s uncle, David Neeleman.
It’s customary for quarterbacks to reward their linemen after a tough season in the trenches. Some will inevitably go the Rolex route, though others have gotten more creative in their gift-giving, including Mac Jones, who splurged on Bitcoin for his Patriots teammates.
The Jets surely would have preferred to be playing this weekend, but unwinding in the Bahamas isn’t a bad alternative. Transitioning from BYU, an FBS independent, to the bright lights of New York City was also going to be an adjustment for Wilson, who endured plenty of growing pains as a rookie, completing a league-low 55.6 percent of his passes with 12 turnovers (11 interceptions, one lost fumble). Still, it’s hard to draw any hard and fast conclusions about Wilson, whose weak supporting cast gave him little chance to succeed. Neither did a midseason knee injury that shelved him for four games.
The Jets last appeared in the playoffs in 2011, the longest active drought among NFL teams.