Why did the Jets extend Todd Bowles?

Todd Bowles’ seat was a little warm before the season began. Now he’s signed an extension to stay with the Jets, the team announced on Friday. General manager Mike Maccagnan’s contract has also been extended.

Bowles’ and Maccagnan’s extensions are both for two years, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“We are very happy to have extended both Mike and Todd. During their time here, they have worked together to help the organization build a foundation on which to grow,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said via the team’s release. “They are identifying, developing, and getting productivity out of our players. I believe we are headed in the right direction. This provides us continuity and stability as we continue to move this team towards sustained success.

“We still have a lot of work to do and I am excited to work closely with both of them as we move forward.”

Bowles was hired by the Jets to replace Rex Ryan prior to the 2015 season. The team saw an immediate turnaround under Bowles as he led them to a 10-6 finish and just barely missed the postseason. The next season was a regression. New York finished 5-11 and came in last in the AFC East.

Things were looking up early in 2017. The Jets started 3-2, but now they’re sitting at 5-10 heading into Week 17. Bowles’ job is safe, and he’ll be at the helm in 2018.

Why did the Jets extend Bowles?

Bowles’ Jets won just 10 games over two seasons, which raises some questions. But the bigger question is why the Jets couldn’t find success under Bowles’ leadership.

The Jets moved on from Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, David Harris, and Eric Decker last offseason. Then they traded away Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks for Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick. It looked like a full-on rebuild was afoot.

Add to this an uninspiring quarterback situation, with Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty to choose from behind center, and hopes weren’t high for the Jets.

If anything, they have overachieved this season. McCown was having the best season of his career before landing on injured reserve with a broken hand. He even won a game in Cleveland for the first time in his career despite spending two seasons on the Browns’ roster. But losing McCown put the team in a tailspin.

Owner Woody Johnson said before the season that Bowles would be judged on the team’s progress and not necessarily its wins and losses. The Jets went into 2017 with a talent-deficient roster and still managed to squeak out five wins.

Players have praised Bowles’ culture and the improvement in locker room chemistry under his leadership. Bowles has the team on the right track. Now he’ll have two years to get them where they need to be.

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