The Roster's Core and How It Should Impact Draft Strategy

EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - OCTOBER 11: Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets stands behind the line of scrimmage against the Minnesota Vikings at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 11 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez
Santonio Holmes
David Harris
Nick Mangold
D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Darrelle Revis
Sione Pouha
Antonio Cromartie

These eight names should do a lot to dictate the Jets' Draft strategy this year and in the near future. All seven of these players come with a big pricetag. Unlike high priced guys like Calvin Pace and Bart Scott, whose time with the team will likely be ending soon, the Jets are expecting most players on this list if not all to be on the team for a while.

In 2013 , these players are slated to take up around $80 million in cap space. That is an extraordinary amount for so few players. It is not necessarily the worst thing in the world. It shows the Jets have some really good top end talent. The first two guys on the list have to improve quite a bit to justify their contracts, but the Jets do have a number of players near the top of their position. Even if the bottom falls out, the Jets are unlikely to pick in the top five with these players on the team.

Salary cap space is going to be tight. The team is going to have to be very careful with future signings like Dustin Keller. The Jets are not going to be able to add significantly to their talent base through signing other teams' free agents. They are going to probably fit one of three categories. Jets free agents will likely be high risk-high reward like Laron Landry, cheap veterans like Jason Taylor, or scrap heap players like Kris O'Dowd.

The Draft will be the one place the Jets will be able to find impact at affordable prices. They are going to need to value their picks. Trading up might have netted them Revis and Harris, but they now have good top end talent. They need to fill out the rest of the roster. They need to draft well. They need to get players in the late rounds. There is no better place to find bargain talent than the Draft, and the Jets need it with so much money tied up in so few players. In an ideal world, Kyle Wilson and Kenrick Ellis will allow the team to part with Cromartie and Pouha sooner rather than later, but the Jets will still have a lot of resources tied up in a few spots.

The Jets need to be smart. I don't think they can tie themselves down to never, ever trading up under any circumstances. Being inflexible leads to mistakes. They need to be very discerning about how they use their picks, though. Giving away a fourth rounder that could have been used for an every down player in exchange for a gadget, five snap a game quarterback might not be the best idea given the current financial situation. Getting the most out of every pick will be essential going forward. They should seek out opportunities to get extra picks.

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