The New York Jets find themselves at the start of quite possibly the most important offseason of the Rex Ryan Era. The Jets had another year where they did not make the playoffs and one has to wonder if this continues will Rex stay on. Lots of Starters are vying for their positions this season. With the front office looking to overhaul their roster it is vitally important that they make the right decisions about every player.
Sanchez was the first pick of the Ryan era and I think Rex will have to cut ties and move on if he wants to truly be successful. Sanchez is not as bad as advertised. NFL.com even noted that one executive within the NFL said if the Jets cut Sanchez, he will sign him as a starter. I say let him. I truly believe Sanchez will do a decent job in the NFL, maybe as a backup, maybe as a starter. Sanchez flashed talent, as demonstrated in 2010 where he did not throw an interception through the first five weeks. He appeared to be developing and let’s face it; he has been successful in the playoffs. No one can truthfully look at Sanchez and say he prevented the Jets winning either AFC Championship game. Those losses are purely on the shoulders of the defense.
So why let him go? Sanchez WILL NOT succeed for the Jets. There has been too much history, too much drama and it’s time for the good of everyone involved for Sanchez to move on. The cap also looks considerably better without Sanchez, giving the Jets room to improve.
Holmes joined the Jets and was instantly described by Ryan as the best player on the field during hard knocks of 2010. Revis may not have been on the field (holdout) but it still spoke volumes of the type of player the Jets thought they had traded for. He showed it big time in 2010 and 2011, winning multiple games in the fourth quarter or overtime. Holmes was living up to the expectation which gets put on your shoulders as a Super Bowl MVP. In Holmes, the Jets had a legitimate receiving threat and the kind of the player which excites a fan base. Unfortunately, Holmes has always been a prima donna. This was shown last year with the infamous benching in Miami and this season’s questionable work ethic. Yes, the argument can be made that Holmes played through injury this season. However, it is undeniable that when he was out there he hardly seemed to be interested. If Holmes still produced these character concerns could be overlooked. Nevertheless, he looked significantly slower and lacked concentration with catching which had once been a pillar of his play. Holmes looks to be a shadow of his former self.
Cromartie was traded to the Jets and has certainly had his moments in the green and white. Undeniably last year was his best; he was able to shadow starting receivers and looked to be one of the top corners in the entire NFL. He may have gone to a pro bowl this season but Pro Football Focus had him as their fourth worst corner this year. The lingering hip injury certainly played a part in Cromartie’s sudden dip in form, but worryingly it was also a lack of concentration. Dee Milliner took over the number one corner duties in week 16 and 17. It is no coincidence that the Jets and Milliner played two of their best games in the final two weeks. Cromartie is better than he looked this year, the Jets should restructure his deal to a more affordable $6-8 million from the $15 million it is currently scheduled to be. This may well not be possible however.
Verdict: Restructure or cut.
The Jets not only have key cap casualties to talk about, but also 26 free agents hitting the open market this offseason. The Jets have to keep several of them if they wish to succeed next year. It is also vitally important to let several guys walk if they hope to keep improving as a team.
Three Players to Keep.
Austin Howard – Howard ever since coming into the lineup for Wayne Hunter has been solid. He may not be an elite right tackle, but the Jets cannot complain about the job he has done. You get the feeling that it won’t break the bank to keep Howard and for the Jets to get a decent starter at a low cost is something this team will not pass up on.
Nick Folk – Folk was heralded all year long by Rex with his folk hero headline being used on more than one occasion. This praise was fully earned. In the Rex Ryan era, the Jets have always tried to have competition at kicker with Nick Novak, Dan Carpenter and Billy Cundiff just three examples of relatively big name guys who were given a shot. I expect the Jets to resign Folk and probably bring in some camp competition as well. Folk who left Dallas in disgrace did anything but jettison the Jets 2013 season. Expect him to be back next year.
Calvin Pace – Many fans, including myself were pleased to see Pace cut at the end of last season. In 2012 he appeared to be slow, old and unable to generate any pressure whatsoever. However, the Pace who came back this year was more like the guy the Jets signed in 2008. The argument could be made that all he did was sweep up after the destruction caused by Mo, Richardson and Snacks. But I say the guy still had 10 sacks and if he could produce that again next year on a veteran minimum then I’m sure none of the team, front office or fan base would be complaining.
Notable: Leger Douzable
Three Players to Cut.
Jeff Cumberland – On the surface this may seem like a strange decision as he had his best season in the NFL and Rex Ryan says he was one of the most improved players for the Jets. However, I would argue that he once again had injury problems, only 4 touchdowns and less than 400 yards. The Jets need more production from the tight end position. They need to draft a tight end whether that is Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro. Gang Green needs a big bodied option that can make big plays. Cumberland may stay on the cheap as a backup but he certainly should not be back as the starter.
Ed Reed – It was an interesting decision to bring in Reed midway through the season by Idzik. It was a clear indication of their desire to go for the throat of the AFC playoff contenders and throw their hat into the wildcard race. Unfortunately, the move did not quite turn out as hoped. It is vastly unfair to describe Reed as the problem, he had three interceptions through 7 games . This total was joint most for the Jets. The issue however, is that the Jets are a young side who are looking for players like Antonio Allen to develop into studs. The addition of Reed reduced the playing time that Allen received. This would be fine if Landry was not an aging veteran himself and with another year on his contract Reed may pay the price for this.
Kellen Winslow – Winslow was able to flash at points throughout the year, however much like Reed he is an aging player. Unlike Reed however, Winslow does not possess any leadership ability. He has made some questionable decisions off the field after the conclusion of the Jets season, they have to move on for their own public image and look to upgrade through free agency or the draft.
Questionable: Willie Colon