I know it's early and I trust Idzik, but this how I would go about the off-season.
Sanchez, Holmes, Goodson: self-explanatory
Cromartie: still think he deserves another shot. Gut feeling is he'll be motivated(even thought somehow he ridiculously ended up playing in Hawaii last Febuary) and a healthy Cro is a pretty solid number one corner.
Pace: Everyone knows he had the ten sacks, every Jet fan knows he wasn't the main reason for the double-digit total. Hopefully he knows that too and doesn't ask for too much $. Retaining him would be somewhat important because it would provide the younger guys on the team a stabilized veteran presence. I would be all in favor of signing a big time pass rusher, however the market is weak IMO. Parys Haralson would be my guy if Pace were to ask for too much, but even he isn't worth top dollar.
Howard: Upgrade over the Wayne Hunter days.
and most importantly
LOCK UP MO LONG-TERM
Signings: Should have north of $35 million room in cap space.
Brandon Pettigrew: He's an upgraded version of Ben Hartstock and Matthew Mulligan as the team's number 2 TE. He's a better run-blocker than Cumberland and IMO equal, if not better receiver. This signing wouldn't sell tickets but he could be a nice underrated addition.
Stevie Brown: Sign him to an incentive based 1-2 year deal due to him coming off an ACL injury. I honestly don't even know if he is that good of a safety, but for some reason the ball always seemed to being going the other way in his hands and that is a great trait to have as DB. Talks with him signing back with the Giants are already underway but I'd love the Jets could steal him from them. Defensively we need to generate more turnovers.
Kenny Britt and Santana Moss: Both of them would be one year deals and for cheap. Britt has always had the potential to be a number one target(injuries and bad attitude derailed that), Jets could do worse than taking a flyer on this guy. If he becomes a distraction simply just dump him. Fact: Moss is not the player he once was; but maybe a comeback to the Jets could add a year or two to his dormant career. He could contribute on the outside and God forbid Kerley goes down again, he could be a viable replacement to play the slot. Both these guys could be underrated signings that are filled with low-risk high-reward gains. IMO Jets don't get Saunders and pass up on Tate, Nicks, and co.
Jarius Byrd: With all the cheap signings above, this should give the Jets plenty of cash to sign, according to experts, one of the best center-fielders playing in the NFL. Having Byrd back there for the next 3 + years could solidify our secondary. Produces turnovers and allows Rex to comfortably run his defense without worrying about playing two safeties deep.
Draft: Did a 7-round mock draft on fanspeak.com; this is how it turned out.
Round 1: Eric Ebron- Him and Geno could be dynamic for years to come.
Round 2: Allen Robinson- Didn't wow people at the combine but he can ball.
Round 3: Donte Moncrief- Another WR, has nice size and speed. Banking on Robinson and/or Moncrief being a gem for Geno to work with.
Round 3: Keith McGill- Versatile DBack with good size. If Cro doesn't work out this could be one of his possible replacements.
Round 4: A.J. McCarron- A more talented version of McElroy(with a dime-piece girlfriend). Seriously though this guy is a professional for only being a kid and if he slips to round 4 which he did in this simulated draft the Jets definitely have to pull the trigger. Boyd would be another guy I would take if McCarron were not here. Not sure if McCarron or Boyd will ever be stars but they're certainly quality backups. McCarron also won't turn it over as much as Geno and would provide Geno some competition... I'm not sold on Matt Simms what-so-ever after attending the Jet-Dolphins game and him doing absolutely nothing.
Round 5: De'anthony Thomas- Speed demon who could break a bubble screen at any given time. Could also return kicks, punts, and be the pass-catching third down back.
Round 6: Phillip Gaines- Small school Defensive Back out of Rice. Has great size, speed, and did an excellent job breaking up passes last year. Banking on the fact that either him or McGill is a gem for our defense being that they are versatile enough to IMO play either corner or safety.
Round 7: Jerick McKinnon- Small school guy who may not even make the 53 man roster. Speed guy like Thomas who can return kicks, punts, and be the third-down pass catching back. Once again, I'm banking on either him or Thomas to be a late round draft gem. I don't know about you but I'm sick of watching the Jets flat offense take the field. Adding a guy like Thomas or McKinnon, late-round chip-on-their-shoulders- guys who are extremely fast could finally bring an end to the stagnant offense.
Overall: I'd like to think the Jets are really only a few pieces away from being serious contenders. Rex is always going to field a solid if not dominant defense, it is ultimately going to come down to Geno maturing to the point where he can make enough winning plays. Vick could be a disaster and lets all be serious: what McCown did last season was a fluke. The Jets have to play with the hand that they were dealt at QB. I trust Idzik and I realize that not one of these transactions may actually happen, I tried being realistic as possilbe, but if I were the GM this is how I'd go about it.