If the Jets were any good, this would be a much bigger issue.
If the Jets were in contention for — (clearing throat) — a playoff berth this would be a major problem.
But because the Jets stink and because they’re light years from even sniffing the aroma of playoff contention, this is a mere pimple on the derriere of Mekhi Becton, their 365-pound tackle.
That, however, is no excuse for the way the Jets have allowed their kicking situation to become such a calamity it’s feels like it’s one more screwup away from being lampooned on “Saturday Night Live’’ or by Jimmy Fallon.
In short, the kicking game has kicked the Jets in the butt for the past five years — since they inexplicably parted ways with Nick Folk in 2017 after Folk had given them seven dependable seasons.
Folk, you may have noticed, is having a magnificent season with the Patriots, having made 33 of 36 field goals through 13 games and is possibly on his way to not only another Pro Bowl but a Super Bowl.
But who’s counting?
The kicking situation has become a source of utter embarrassment for the Jets, who will trot out someone named Eddy Pineiro to kick against the Saints on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Pineiro will be the ninth kicker to wear a Jets uniform and (attempt) to kick for them since Folk was released to free up a few shekels on the salary cap in February 2017. Nine kickers in five years is not a path to success.
You may have noticed Folk, in his third season in New England, kicking two clutch field goals in winds that were gusting to 50 mph in the Patriots’ 14-10 win over the Bills on Monday night in blustery Buffalo.
Folk’s first field goal, a 41-yarder in the second quarter, gave the Patriots an 11-7 lead, and his second one, a 34-yarder in the fourth quarter, made it 14-10.
Chances are Folk will likely be in New England for a while, because unlike the Jets in the past five years, the Patriots place high value on dependable kickers. That’s why Adam Vinatieri wore their uniform for 10 years (from 1996 to 2005) and Stephen Gostkowski wore it 14 years after him (2006-2019).
Both, of course, were special kickers, Vinatieri one of the all-time greats.
The point is: If Mike Maccagnan, the Jets general manager at the time Folk was released, placed the same value on a dependable kicker as New England has, he’d have kept Folk instead of trying to save a few dollars thinking he could roll any other kicker in and get the same production.
The funny thing is, the Jets actually did bring some decent kickers in after letting Folk go. Chandler Catanzaro was signed in 2017 and went a respectable 25 of 30 on field goals (83.3 percent), but wasn’t brought back for 2018.
Enter Jason Myers, who made 33 of 36 field goals for 91.7 percent and got voted into the Pro Bowl in 2018.
Quiz: Do you know how many Jets have been voted into the Pro Bowl since Myers went in 2018?
Hint: As many Super Bowls as they’ve been to since they won it in 1969.
Myers never got to wear a Jets uniform after 2018 because they discarded him the same way they discarded Folk, preferring not to give him the multiyear deal he would eventually get with Seattle, where he was 23 of 28 on field goals in 2019, then went 24 of 24 in 2020 and is 9 of 14 this year.
Just like the way they mishandled the Folk situation, the Jets again showed they don’t value the position the way good teams do.
Now they’re paying for it. Now, as they scramble to find someone — anyone — who can execute a simple point after touchdown, the Jets are getting exactly what they deserve.
Maybe the 26-year-old Pineiro, the first player of Nicaraguan descent to play in the NFL, will make Jets fans forget the nonsense that’s taken place at kicker since the Jets moved on from Folk.
But he hasn’t kicked in an NFL game since 2019 when he was with the Bears, then missed all of last season with a groin injury, spent three months with the Colts this summer and then a week on the Washington Football Team’s practice squad before the desperate Jets came calling.
So, the likelihood Pineiro becomes the Jets’ Vinatieri, Gostkowski or even Folk isn’t high. If he does become some sort of dependable version of those kickers, however, perhaps the Jets will show they’ve learned their lesson and retain him for more than 10 minutes.