As we heard towards Superbowl 48, I want to take a minute to talk about the kinds of things I'd like to see from our front office this offseason to move us closer to getting back in championship contention.
Disclaimer: John Idzik has done nothing to make me doubt him yet, so I firmly believe that whatever moves he make are the best moves for the team.
With that, I'm going to break the offseason down into a few sections:
Antonio Cromartie, Cornerback:
Cromartie is coming off an injured, poor performance in 2013 and it's clear that he doesn't warrant a $15,000,000 cap hit next season. Luckily for the Jets, Cromartie can be cut with a relatively small hit of $5,480,000 and an additional $9,500,000 in cap space to use on free agents and rookies.
Mark Sanchez, Quarterback:
The dead money in Sanchez's contract drops in 2014 from more than 17 million to almost 5 meaning that Jets fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the former first-round picks $13,100,000 cap hit is erased from the books.
Santonio Holmes, Wide Receiver:
The Jets can save more than 8 million dollars by cutting the oft-injured receiver in the 2014 offseason. Anyone who has watched the Jets offense in the last two season should agree that no one on that side of the ball is playing like they're worth $10,000,000.
David Harris, Inside Linebacker:
The 29-year-old linebacker who has been the focal point of the defense for the last several years is due $7,000,000 dollars in 2014. With only $2,000,000 of the contract guaranteed money, Idzik and company should look to extend Harris on a team-friendly deal that lowers his cap hit.
Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver:
Dream contract: 1 year, $3,000,000
Maclin is coming off an ACL tear that ended his 2013 campaign before the first regular season game. The explosive Eagle would add depth to one of the league's worst receiving corps while allowing the Jets to benefit from a "prove-it" contract.
Bernard Pollard, Safety:
Dream Contract: 3 years, $10,000,000
Pollard is a former Raven, meaning he has experience in a defense that Rex Ryan built. Couple that with his ability to fly to the ball and his history of reeking havoc on the Patriots, he would be a welcome addition to an ailing secondary.
Dream Contract: 4 years, $18,500,000
It's likely that the Ravens won't keep both of their starting tight ends, which means the Jets could scoop up the other on a relatively comfortable contract to provide another new target for Geno. (Stay away from names like Jermichael Finley and Fred Davis here)
I don't have enough knowledge of college players to address pick by pick what I expect the Jets to do, so I'll address the first round and talk generally about the rest of the draft.
Unless something wholly unexpected happens, the 18th pick will be a graveyard for offensive playmakers. Marquise Lee is too raw a target coming off of a weak year for the Jets to depend on and Mike Evans will be inflated due to his high-profile nature. I would like to see the Jets trade out of this pick and look for someone like Davante Adams (Fresno State) or Kelvin Benjamin (FSU) later in the draft.
As far our general strategy, the Jets have enough picks to strengthen the roster in a big way during the draft, but I think it's important to stay true to our needs. Rex has proven an excellent talent developer on the defensive side of the ball, so we should look for raw defensive talent in the later rounds. With that in mind, I'd like to see the interior offensive line and skill positions addressed in the 1-3 rounds.
I think if our offseason plays out in a similar fashion to this, capitalized by low-risk moves to strengthen the depth of the roster, the Jets will be formidable moving forward.