Well, we've now most certainly reached that point - the point where we as Jets fans really need to start to look ahead to next season. With the Jets standing to miss the playoffs again, it's more apparent than ever that the Jets suffer from an extreme lack of talent at most spots on the field, and in particular, on the offensive side of the ball. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the Jets should be in an extremely favorable position to make a dent in the team's severe lack of talent via free agency this offseason.
The Jets should have vast amounts of cap room entering the offseason and have very few, if any players, that they will need to re-sign from among their own free agents (though Muhammad Wilkerson should very likely get locked up to a long-term deal). A short recap of the situation below (mostly via info from the excellent overthecap.com)
Projected 2014 Cap:
$127.5+ million (per PFT)
Jets Current Projected 2014 Cap (40 Players):
Jets Possible Cuts (cap savings if cut):
Mark Sanchez ($8.3 million)
Santonio Holmes ($8.25 million)
Antonio Cromartie ($9.5 million)
David Harris ($5 million)
Mike Goodson ($1.3 million)
Ben Ijalana ($925k)
Alex Green ($652k)
Clyde Gates ($645k)
My Thoughts: If everyone. on the list were to be cut, it would save the Jets about $34.5 million against the cap, giving the Jets total cap room entering the offseason of about $62 million. My feeling is every one of those players should get the axe with the exception of Harris, who should still probably be restructured.
As such as many of the cuts above are likely to happen (I certainly find it hard to believe that Sanchez and maybe even more-so Holmes will be around next year - though I could see Cro coming back in the hopes that this season was a fluke), the Jets will have loads and loads of cash to throw around this year to fill their various needs. Below I will go through all the various positions and who is available to pick up to possibly fill holes.
Note: It's simply not feasible that the Jets are gonna sign top-flight players to fill all their holes; part of the problem they have right now is they have plenty of spots that don't even have low-end starting quality players out their. The Jets would benefit greatly by just having those spots filled by even average players. Thus, I will try to present both top-level and mid-tier players. I am also only going to list UFA's and not RFA's as i doubt the Jets will give up draft picks to sign players. As before, all info once again coming from overthecap.com.
My Thoughts - The Jets QB situation is a hard one to figure out. While Geno has been downright awful, he also has absolutely nothing on the offensive side of the ball to help him out in any way. Is he just a really really bad QB? Is he a rookie in over his head? Would he be fine if he had some weapons and a line that could somewhat protect him?Assuming you feel that Geno is in fact not the answer and the Jets don't pick a QB in the draft, the pickings in the FA market are pretty slim. Should the Bears let Cutler walk (a somewhat decent possibility considering how well McCown has played and how high cutler's price tag is likely to be), he will probably have many suitors and command a very very high salary. Vick is an interesting case and might be worth a look, particularly since he'll probably be cheap and short-term, though he does get hurt a ton, which is obviously a major concern. Henne stinks but is better than Geno. McCown has done pretty well in Chicago, though he has 2 excellent WR's, a great RB and an offensive wizard of a coach to help him out. Additionally, if the Bears let Cutler walk, my guess is they'd keep McCown.
My Thoughts - Frankly I think the Jets need an upgrade at RB, but not through free agency. While the Jets running game has actually been pretty solid, they don't have anyone who scares the opposing defense at all, and nobody who the opposing defense has to gameplan around to take the heat off Geno at all. I like Ivory a lot, but probably not as a 1a back. I think Powell should go.
As for this FA crop, it's pretty lousy. The 3 major names (MJD, Tate and McFadden) all have question marks surrounding them and will probably cost a decent amount, while none of the other options are really any better than Powell. I think they should draft a RB in one of the first 3 rounds.
Also, Tommy Bohanon stinks. The Jets could really use a new fullback.
My Thoughts - The Jets desperately need help at WR. Assuming that Holmes is gone (which I sure hope he will be), the offense will not have a single player who can even remotely be considered a #1 or #2 receiver. Kerley is a solid #3 slot guy, Hill is a glorified deep-threat #4 and Nelson is a #5. This FA crop is pretty deep and good, though I don't really see a #1 guy in here. I like Maclin, though he's not really a #1 and he's coming off a major injury (though I suppose that could also help knock his price down) and all the other receivers have question marks as well. Either way, look for the Jets to get a FA WR. Another option is possibly trading for a guy like Andre Johnson or Josh Gordon if they are somehow on the block.
My Thoughts - Both Winslow and Cumberland are free agents and I'm not sure it's worth it re-signing either of them. Even if they are re-signed, neither of them is starting quality. I'm going to assume here that Graham and Pitta are gonna be re-signed by the Saints and Ravens, respectively, leaving a pretty paltry group here. As with RB, I really hope the Jets draft a TE.
My Thoughts - I honestly don;t know much about OL stuff and am not going to pretend I do. For all I know there are many other good OL's available and I just don't recognize their names. Either way, I'd like to see them re-sign Colon as I think he's done a pretty fair job this year, though I'm not at all convinced they should re-sign Howard. That would leave the Jets with holes at RT and LG which they need to fill.....unless anyone is interested in seeing the Brian Winters Revolving Door game for another season.
My Thoughts - You'll notice I conspicuously left out "Defensive Line" as that is really the one position on the team where the Jets appear to be set. Either way, lets hope the jets finally get an outside pass-rusher for the first time in forever. Orakpo and Worilds are both really good and are attractive options, while Spencer is an attractive option, albeit one who has basically missed this entire season (similar to Maclin, this may drive his price down). Phillips is older but has produced this year and may be an option as well. I think it be a decent idea to bring back Pace, but only in a backup role. As an aside, I concur very much with those who say that Coples should be moved to DL.
My Thoughts - Unless they do get rid of Harris, the Jets still have 2 starting ILB's for next year. I think Demario Davis' play has been encouraging this year, though Harris definitely leaves what to be desired. Should they decide to go the FA there are definitely some good options, though how all these players would fit in a 3-4 (as opposed to 4-3) is anyone's guess. Either way, the Jets definitely need depth and I'd still like them to pick some LB's mid-late in the draft.
My Thoughts - OK, there are LOTS of good safeties here. Considering that the Jets safeties aren't particularly good, and there are so many good ones available, it would be a crime if the Jets don't spend some there gobloads of available cash getting a safety in FA. A crime, I tell you.
My Thoughts - So the Jets CB's have been downright brutal this year and hopefully, Cro will no longer be a member of the Jets next season. As such, the Jets will have many holes to fill at CB. Luckily, much as is the case at the safety position, there's lots of help possibly available for the Jets in FA> I'm not sure the Jets will once again want to spend huge bucks on a corner, following Revis and Cromartie but I would be kinda shocked if they don't pick a decent one from this pool.
My Thoughts - Ryan Quigley stinks and the Jets need to replace him. That is all.