Missing out on Tyreek Hill was a blessing in disguise for New York Jets culture
When Tyreek Hill chose the Miami Dolphins over the New York Jets, many Jets fans were upset. Having Zach Wilson’s dynamic receiver was about to happen, only to be choked out by a divisional enemy.
When Hill’s trade and contract terms were announced, it became apparent the Jets had dodged a bullet. Miami has mortgaged its future to acquire the wide range fast, both in project capital and in salary cap space. With a roster full of holes, Joe Douglas couldn’t afford to give up that kind of haul for a guy Hill’s age.
Still, there’s an overlooked aspect of Hill that made him a curious candidate for the Jets in the first place.
Robert Saleh has repeatedly stressed his desire to bring character to this team. While Hill stayed relatively clean on the football field (despite the signs of peace), he did everything but do without it. A guy who choked and beat his pregnant girlfriend and hit his three-year-old son is not the kind of character the Jets want. While there are always teams ready to shoot a talented but troubled player, Saleh and Douglas have made it clear the Jets aren’t one of them. So what were they doing with the Hill pursuit?
Perhaps the allure of one of the league’s best receivers was just too much for Douglas to pass up. Maybe the GM knew he’d be gutted by the fan base if he didn’t attempt a trade. What went through his mind regarding character issues is anyone’s guess.
Looking back, however, the Jets are better off without Hill. They then selected three top-notch, high-profile prospects in the first round of the draft.
Sauce Gardner is confident, but he’s a team player and works harder than anyone.
#Cincinnati CB Sauce Gardner says he lives by his intrinsic motivation and the motto “unseen work in required hours”. Knows he’s a ‘leader, competitive and likes to get his hands on wide receivers’ pic.twitter.com/9aB693SQnU
—Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) March 5, 2022
.@iamSauceGardner is the ultimate teammate.
He let his buddy return his interception to his junior football team. 🥺❤️
– NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2022
Garrett Wilson’s broad smile when he was drafted by the Jets has reflected in everything he’s said and done since.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 4, 2022
The Jets dropped Kayvon Thibodeaux, about whom effort questions lingered. Instead, they would later take on Jermaine Johnson, who epitomizes Saleh’s “all gas, no brake” mantra.
Jermaine Johnson says Robert Saleh told him the Jets would pick him up at some point in the draft:
“He was like, ‘I didn’t lie, we came for you. We tried to get you all night.’ It was pretty awesome.” pic.twitter.com/GfwYWPdyKI
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) April 29, 2022
Meanwhile, Hill is adjusting to Miami trying to defend beleaguered quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Although it’s a noble sentiment, he went about it by shooting his former quarterback. Hill recently claimed on his new podcast that Tua is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 11, 2022
Madness aside from such comparisons, it’s the antithesis of the character the Jets were looking for. Imagine Hill defending Zach Wilson’s rookie season against Mahomes!
Douglas and Saleh set the tone for this team. It’s the Jets team of years past that was clean and easy to root. This group is low on divas and high on team players. Whatever the Jets season in 2021, it will be like a top-down unit. The traits the Jets looked for in their players will help them stick together through the ups and downs of a long season.