Jets mailbag: How vulnerable are the Patriots right now?

You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Jets.

Can the Jets beat out the Patriots this year? — Patrick Grant

With Tom Brady in Tampa, can the Jets finally topple the Evil Empire? The AFC East is going to be interesting for the first time in a long time. I don’t think I’ve thought the Jets could compete with the Patriots in the division since 2011. Now they have hope that they can.

The Patriots are tough to figure out right now. Is Jarrett Stidham their guy? Do they start Brian Hoyer? I also think the Patriots lost a lot of defensive talent in free agency. I was surprised they let guys like Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts walk in free agency.

The Jets need to worry about their own roster, though, before they start looking at New England’s. Right now, it does not look like the roster of a playoff team. The Jets might be able to beat the Patriots, but still could be looking up at the Bills.

I have never seen so many one-year contracts. (GM Joe Douglas) has been preaching about building a core. If he hits on most of them, what happens next year, are we starting this core-building process all over again next year? — Scott

Yes, Douglas did not give out too much commitment. Even some of the three-year contracts (George Fant and Greg Van Roten) are actually one-year deals dressed up.

Douglas does not want to build the core through free agency. That is what the draft is for. He will supplement in free agency. Now, to your point, if some of these guys play really well this year, he will give them contract extensions. I think the perfect example is what they did with Ryan Griffin last year. They signed him to a one-year deal right before training camp and then extended him in November when it was clear he could be a strong contributor for them. So these guys are basically on tryouts this year to see if they will be part of the Jets’ future.

If the top four offensive tackles are gone, should Douglas trade down and acquire multiple picks? — Christopher

The key element to this question is an unknown — how high is Douglas on the wide receivers or cornerbacks that would be available at No. 11? If he thinks he can get the same caliber of player at the spot he would be trading down to, there is no reason not to do it. If he thinks Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb or CJ Henderson are much better players than what he could get by trading down, then he sticks there and takes a player to improve his team.

To me, the biggest question in the trade-down scenario is who is the player teams are going to want to trade up for? I can’t find a position I think teams will be moving up to take at 11. It could be tackle, but the Jets would take a tackle there rather than trading out, in my opinion. Maybe wide receiver, if a team falls in love with one because there could be a run on the top guys right after the Jets pick.

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When are the Jets going to extend Jamal Adams’ contract? — Ethan Martincourt

I think Douglas would ask: What’s the rush? Adams does not really have much leverage right now to force the Jets’ hand. He is under contract for 2020. The Jets will soon pick up his option for 2021. If they wanted to, they could use the franchise tag on him in 2022. That is three years of control.

Now, I don’t think we’ll be talking about this in 2022. I do think a deal will get done this offseason. My guess would be late August (if the world returns to somewhat normal by then). I think both sides would probably want to get it done before the regular season. But there is no reason to do it now. Douglas is focused on the draft.

Should the Jets consider trading Quinnen Williams to one of these teams that wants a first-round defensive tackle? Panthers? Jaguars? Lions? Falcons? — Joe

No, I would not trade Williams. Remember, he was considered one of the best players in last year’s draft. He did not play poorly as a rookie. He just did not have the impact you would like from the No. 3-overall pick. But now is not the time to give up on him. He is a very young player (22). Give him some time to develop.

What kind of effect will virtual OTAs/rookie minicamps have on a player’s learning curve? Will we see a ripple effect on performance come September? — Daniel Kurtz

I do think rookies are going to have a tougher time making an immediate contribution, which is bad news for the Jets, whom I expect to have at least two rookie starters. They will have the virtual time, but nothing on the field until possibly August. Veteran teams are going to be ahead of the game early in the season.

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