Mark Sanchez- Its time to move on from Sanchez. He is not the type of competition that Geno needs, and has shown no progress in five years as a starter. The Jets need to move on from the Sanchez, and bring in an established vet for Geno to compete with.
Santonio Holmes- The funny thing is that on paper he would be a great low-cost option for us. But it simply can’t happen. Whether it’s the fault of the Jets, the media, or Tone himself, his presence on the team has helped create a toxic environment. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Holmes have a great season if he is put in the right situation. But it certainly won’t happen with the Jets.
Antonio Cromartie- This one is really tough for me. Cromartie has always been one the my favorite Jets. But I think its time to move on. He might be able to bounce back and have a great season in 2014. But Rex relies too much on having great CB play for the Jets to take that risk. Cromartie will certainly be cut because of his contract, and I think it makes sense to look at younger options first before even considering bringing him back.
Bilal Powell- I think that Powell is a good 3rd string RB. But with Ivory being so injury prone, I think the Jets would be better off finding a better option in the draft. Powell is pretty much mediocre at everything. He is also a very poor blocker. The Jets can find a better option in the draft.
CAP SPACE AFTER CUTS: $49 mil
Austin Howard- 4 mil
He was arguably our best offensive linemen last year. As long as the price is reasonable, I see no reason why he wouldn’t be a Jet again next season. Howard has come a long way since joining after going undrafted. His play should only continue to improve with more experience.
Willie Colon- 2 mil
He committed way too many penalties, but besides that he had an excellent season. He is a tough run blocker and brings some tenacity to our offensive line. His injury wasn’t all that serious, so he should be completely healthy by the start of the season. It makes sense to keep him and let him compete for a starting job.
Jeff Cumberland- 2 mil
I think that many of us were expecting big things out of Cumberland and were somewhat disappointed with his season. But he will likely cost very little to retain, and has some ability as a #2 TE. I expect him to be re-signed before free agency starts.
Legar Douzable- 1.5 mil
He is very good as part of a rotation. When he came in, our defense didn’t miss a beat. There is a chance that a team pays him more and he bolts in free agency. But I think it is more likely that he comes back to the Jets in the same role.
Ed Reed- 1.5 mil
It remains to be seen whether or not Reed still has a few more good seasons left in the tank. But he will likely cost almost nothing to retain, and at the very least can be a great mentor for our young defensive backs. I would like to retain him and give him a limited amount of playing time.
Ellis Lankster- 1 mil
He a good nickel CB and excels on special teams. I see no reason why we wouldn’t retain him on a cheap deal. Rex has said that a team can never have too many CB’s, so I would be a little surprised if Lankster wasn’t back with the Jets in 2014.
CAP SPACE AFTER RE-SIGNS: $37 Mil
Alterraun Verner- 7 mil
He is still only 25, and is a borderline #1 corner or a very good #2. I think he will excel in Rex’s man coverage scheme. He has above average ball skills, and came away with 5 interceptions in 2013. I like Cromartie, but his contract is insane so he will almost certainly be cut. It might make sense to bring him back for a cheaper contract, but Verner would be a better option, and may be had for a reasonable contract with a plethora of good CB’s available.
T.J. Ward- 8 mil
The Jets need to upgrade at the safety position. Ward is a perfect fit for this defense. Rex likes having versatile safeties that can be moved around and used in many different ways. Ward is about as versatile as safeties get. He is a very physical player, with good coverage skills and playmaking ability. He has no glaring weaknesses in his game, and can play either FS or SS in the Jets scheme.
Geoff Schwartz- 6 mil
I’m a big believer in spending on the offensive line. If you can’t protect the QB, it’s very hard to win football games. Schwartz is the best G available, and can really help us in both the pass and run game. If we can retain Colon as well on a cheap deal, I think that our offensive line can become one of the strengths of this team again.
Miles Austin- 3 mil
I’m not all that interested in signing any of the available receivers to a big, multi-year deal. I do think it makes sense to bring in a veteran to compete with whatever receivers we take in the draft. Austin was injured for most of the season, and may be looking to sign a one-year prove it deal. If Austin manages to get healthy, he would be a true #1 for this team and would help our offense improve a lot. There are lots of good defensive players that are likely to be available in free agency, but not a lot of impact offensive players. Austin on a "prove it" deal might just be our best option. I would rather use our cap space to add true impact players on defense.
Michael Vick- 3 mil
I am still optimistic about Geno, but he needs some real competition. Not a BS competition like Sanchez/Clemens or Geno/Sanchez, where it is essentially an inexperienced QB against a mediocre backup. Michael Vick’s biggest problem has been staying on the field. But when he does make it to the field, he is still a dangerous player. He is still more athletic than almost any QB in the league, and he can make every single throw with ease. Yes, he turns the ball over, but he often makes up for it with incredible runs and throws which very QB’s can make. If Geno wins a legitimate competition against Vick, I think he will have a very bright future with the Jets.
REMANING CAP SPACE: $10 Mil
5 Round Mock Draft
1st round: Kelvin Benjamin
Wide Receiver ~ Florida State ~ 6-5, 240
He is very big and physical. I think his upside is as high as any receiver in the draft. He is huge and can catch passes even when covered, but he also has the speed to beat the defense deep. He is going to be a dominant redzone target, and can consistently win jump balls. He needs to improve his route running a little, but that’s not a very big concern to me. He occasionally drops an easy pass as well, but he makes enough incredible catches to make up for it.
2nd round: Marcus Smith
Outside Linebacker ~ Louisville ~ 6-3, 251
With Orakpo staying in Washington and Worilds likely demanding a huge contract, I think it makes sense to address the outside linebacker position in the draft. Smith had a great season for Louisville in 2013 and was voted the American Conference Defensive player of the Year. He finished the season with a remarkable 14.5 sacks, 42 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, and three passes broken up. I think he can be the final piece this front 7 is missing.
3rd round: Troy Niklas
Tight End ~ Notre Dame ~ 6-6, 270
Niklas has outstanding size for a tight end. Although he didn’t run the 40 at the combine, he moves pretty fast for his size on film. He is going to be a great redzone target for whoever our QB is. He is also one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft. He also has the ability to play in-line or flexed out as a receiver.
3rd round: Donte Moncrief
Wide Receiver ~ Mississippi ~ 6-2, 221
The Jets would be smart to take two receivers early in the draft. Moncrief has a ton of talent, and will likely be available in the 3rd round because of the depth of this WR class. He has a great combination of size and speed, that will make him a touch matchup for just about any CB. He has great athleticism and can go up and get jump balls. He is also very good at picking up YAC, which will make him an excellent fit in the west coast offense.
4th round: Dri Archer
Running Back ~ Kent State ~ 5-8, 173
This guy is really small and really fast. He reminds me a ton of Tavon Austin on film. His upside is limited because of his size, but I think he can be a huge playmaker if he is used properly. He will immediately be one of the best kick/punt returners in the league, and can line up in the slot or as a running back.
5th round: Storm Johnson
Running Back ~ Central Florida ~ 6-0, 209
I don’t think running back is a huge need for this team and Archer will probably get some of the 3rd down snaps. With that said, if Ivory gets injured, I’m not sold on Powell as a starter. Johnson is a big back with good vision, and he also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He isn’t the flashiest player in the world, but I think he has the ability to develop into a 3-down back in the NFL and is a good value pick in the 5th round.
5th round: Dontae Johnson
Cornerback ~ N.C. State ~ 6-2, 200
When watching film of mid-late round cornerbacks, Johnson really stood out to me. First of all, he has tremendous size for the position at 6’2" 200. He is a tremendous athlete and is good at keeping his balance, which leaves him in a position to make plays. He has great speed closing speed, and ran a 4.45 in the 40 yard dash. He is an aggressive tackler, and can be used in a variety of ways.