This will be an extremely long read. There is a summary at the bottom to help with any confusion. The Jets have a lot of holes, and a lot of cap space this year. Although it's extremely hard, it's not completely impossible to turn the ship around this year and accumulate sustained success. The best way I think to do that is invest in young potential, and to not overpay the old guys. Here are my moves.
CB - Rashard Robinson
WR - Tre Mcbride
OLB - Obum Gwacham
QB - Bryce Petty
WR - Lucky Whitehead
RB - Jeremy Langford
CB - Justin Burris
RB - Jahad Thomas
WR- Charon Peake
WR - Jojo Natson
The Jets end the Petty experience, and trim some fat. They also give up on Justin Burris, showing complete inefficiency last season, and upgrade the position in FA. They also let go of Devin Smith, who has been plagued by injury throughout his short Jet career.
K - Chandler Catanzaro. 3 years, 3.695M (1.375M '18 Hit)
Nothing spectacular on the kickers market, and he's gotten better since his time with the Jets. Reasonable number puts him along the middle of the tier for kickers.
TE - Austin Seferian-Jenkins. 3 Years, 17.00M (6.2M '18 Hit)
Look, it's not as easy to replace Jenkins as everyone wants to think. He wants 7M, Mac wants 4M, eventually they settle somewhere in the middle.
DE - Kony Ealy. 2 Years, 4.4M (2M '18 Hit)
Partial Prove It Deal, Partial depth deal. Kony can still provide some solid depth and if he can show the talent he did in Seattle we can always go from there.
QB - Josh McCown. 1 Year 6M (6M '18 Hit)
We bring back Josh McCown to mentor, and backup our future Quarterback.
ILB - Demario Davis. 2 Years, 12.5M (6M '18 Hit)
I don't think 1 good year with less responsibility by Demario warrants another team signing him to a massive contract. 2 Years is enough time for us to find a suitable replacement, while still keeping our defensive 'qb' in the game.
LB - Julian Stanford. 1 Year, 790k. (790k '18 Hit)
LB and ST depth.
OL - Jonnothan Harrison. 1 Year, 790k. (790k '18 Hit)
O-Line depth. After seeing Wesley this year anything is better than him.
WR - Quincy Enunwa. Second Round Tender (2.914M '18 Hit)
I don't think anyone will match considering Enunwa's recent injury, but I feel like he can still have a lot of future success for the Jets. Very physical and strong runner, and I would not let another team get ahold of him.
S - Rontez Miles. Original Round Tender (1.907M '18 Hit)
Safety Depth, player that knows the system and can produce. A feel good story I think the Jets should keep around.
S - Doug Middleton. ERFA Tender (630k '18 Hit)
Depth for the position.
Free Agency Signings on Offense:
WR - Allen Robinson. 5 Years , 74.75M (14M '18 Hit) ((Slightly higher cap hits in middle years))
Although he's coming off of a pretty serious injury, this man is a stud, and will get paid. A 5 year deal allows us to have a star receiver for the conceivable future, and allows players like Enunwa, Kearse, ASJ, and Anderson to make much bigger impacts with attention drawn his way.
C - Weston Richburg. 4 Years, 35.5M (9M '18 Hit) ((Even Cap Hits))
Richburg will be an instant quality starter for the Jets at the Center position, and will very useful to our future QB as well. We may have to overpay a little, but our line is in desperate need of help.
T - Chris Hubbard. 3 Years, 10.5M (3.8M '18 Hit) ((Front Loaded Cap Hits))
I liked what I saw out of Hubbard when he came in and started for the Steelers this past year. He's only 26, and could instantly compete with Shell for the starting RT position. At worst he becomes a solid depth piece that can spot-start if neeeded, at a reasonable price.
RB - Dion Lewis. 3 Years, 16M (5.5M '18 Hit) ((Even Cap Hits))
Lewis has been a tremendous and versatile back for the Patriots, and the Jets are going to snag him. He's a great receiving threat, who can line up on the outside and cause instant mismatches, and he has a great understanding of the game. Dion and Bilal would make a solid presence to help a young quarterback.
Free Agency Signings on Defense:
CB - Prince Amukamara. 3 Years, 26.5M (10M '18 Hit) ((Front Loaded Cap Hit))
Prince has always been a solid CB throughout his career. With Claiborne leaving, I think Prince can do a solid job taking over the CB1 spot for a couple of years.
CB - Bashaud Breeland. 5 Years, 35M (7.4M '18 Hit) ((Even Cap Hits))
Breeland is a young, talented corner hitting the FA market, and that rarely happens. The Jets have needs at CB1 and 2, and I think Breeland would be a long-term answer to the CB2 spot, and could develop into a solid CB1. He has a lot of talent, and this contract could end up a steal down the road.
LB - Anthony Hitchens. 4 Years, 27.5M (6.8M '18 Hit) ((Cap Spikes in Years 2-3))
Hitchens is probably my favorite prospect on the FA market right now. He's a versatile linebacker, who can play each position, and is extremely smart and talented. I think he can be a great future replacement. I know many people are thinking his signing is redundant because of Davis Re-Signing, but there's thought behind it. Lee has not shown the greatest potential, and Davis' age means he won't be here long-term. Hitchens can easily step in and replace either of these players as a full-time starter, while still contributing meaningful minutes to the defense in the meantime.
Cap Entering the Draft: $15,032,409
6) Jets Select Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma.
With the additions made this offseason, it isn't far-fetched to expect a rookie to start. And by selecting Mayfield at 6, the Jets plan to go into the season starting a rookie QB. Mayfield has had some question marks concerning his character, but I don't necessarily see them at all. He holds the highest completion percentages between his peers (Rosen, Allen, Darnold) in 1st down, 3rd down, 4th quarter/OT, and under pressure passes. Some concerns of his size have been brought up, but we have also seen numerous 'short' QB's have success. Mayfield will become the Franchise Quarterback the Jets have been looking for.
37) Jets Select Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
Even though we signed 2 FA CB's, Prince isn't getting any younger, and Skrine could be gone by the end of the next year. Mike Hughes is a great cover corner, with superb technique. He would be great added depth, could start if needed, and has high potential to become a premium starting CB in the future. The Jets jump on Hughes and take him before the Patriots decide to with their 43rd pick.
49) Jets Select Dorance Armstrong, DE/OLB, Kansas
The Jets badly need a pash rusher, and they take one with Dorance Armstrong with their second, 2nd round pick. He really impressed me at the Combine, as his three cone drill was 5th among edge rushers, and his 20 yard shuttle was 3rd for his position. He has stud potential. Teamed up with Leo, Armstrong has the potential to wreak havoc among offenses, and did I mention we needed a pass rusher?
72) Jets Select Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
Penny is the 3rd back to complete our Trio, with Dion Lewis and Bilal Powell. I think taking him in the 2nd round is a reach (Haven't seen a Mock with him in the 2nd round, WalterFootball actually has Denver taking him 71), and I think there's a high chance he could be available with our 3rd round pick considering the depth of RB in this draft. Penny is an extremely talented RB who will eventual become the primary back after a couple of years. He will be implemented via gameplan and tried as a returner for special teams in the short term.
107) Jets Select Sean Welsh, G/C, Iowa
The Jets address some O-Line depth by getting Welsh, who could project to an interior lineman or center. If Carpenter gets released the following year, or an injury occurs, it'd be nice to have a depth piece in case someone in the line needs to be moved around.
157) Jets Select Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia
Good size, and has impressive talent, although he may not always play up to that potential. The Jets once again pick a defensive lineman, this time for depth, and maybe some luck at the bottom of the pot. More of a base end, Brown does however provide some explosiveness to get to the quarterback.
179) Rod Taylor, G/T, Ole Miss
A jack of all trades, Taylor started at both tackle positions, and at guard during his time at Ole Miss. Although he's projected more as an interior lineman, it's nice to have someone who has experience playing throughout the line. I think he'd make a great depth piece.
235) Deatrick Nichols, CB, South Florida
A pretty solid player, Nichols recorded at least 3 interceptions, and 5 pass break ups each year at South Florida. He's a bit smaller, so I would project him to play in the slot. He has the potential to grow, and could become more than a depth piece down the road. Needs to put on some weight.
Projected 53 Man Roster:
QB - Mayfield, McCown, Hack (3)
RB - Lewis, Powell, Penny, McGuire (4)
H-Back - Enunwa (1)
WR1 - Robinson, Jermaine Kearse, (2)
WR2 - Anderson, Hansen, Stewart (3)
TE - ASJ, Leggett (2)
LT - Beachum (1)
LG - Carpenter, Welsh (2)
C - Richburg, Harrison (2)
RG - Winters, Taylor (2)
RT - Hubbard, Shell (2)
DE - Williams, Armstrong, Ealy, Brown (4)
NT/DT - McClendon, Simon (2)
OLB - Martin, Mauldin, Jenkins, Donahue (4)
ILB - Harris, Hitchens, Lee, Stanford (4)
CB1 - Amukamura, Hughes, Jones (3)
CB2 - Breeland, Roberts, Clark (3)
Slot Corner - Skrine, Nichols (2)
FS - Maye, Miles (2)
SS - Adams, Middleton (2)
K - Catanzaro (1)
P - Edwards (1)
LS - Hennessy (1)
KR/PR - Penny
These roster moves would give the Jets $77,516,129 unused cap space to work with before 2019 Free Agency/Draft.
So in my AGOP, The New York Jets put their eggs in the Baker Mayfield basket and name him as the starting QB for 2018. Not to worry though, because he has some fancy new parts to help ease the rookie pains. We added Allen Robinson to the WR core, giving Mayfield a bonus weapon to what seems like a very solid group. Robinson the stud, Anderson the speedster, and Kearse, Enunwa and ASJ to provide as nice safety valves for the young QB. We also added premium RB Dion Lewis in FA, and Rashaad Penny in the draft. Lewis can provide nice experience, and both RB's can be used for excellent mismatches against defenses, and used in many ways on offense. Plus, we still have Powell. We have a quality starter in Richburg, and if Carpenter regresses we have a possible drafted replacement in Welsh ready to step in. We also picked up OT Chris Hubbard, who can compete for starting RT.
On defense, I tried to garner as much young, above-average talent as possible, while plugging up some serious holes. In FA we signed Amukamara and Breeland, two CB's who can instantly start for the next couple of years. Breeland could potentially be a steal as he is young and the possibility of outplaying his contract is high. We also signed Anthony Hitchens as insurance for the ILB position. If Davis or Lee get hurt or dramatically decline in play, Hitchens can insantly provide high quality play in the immediate, and longterm future. Since Davis only received a 2 year contract, Hitchens would presumably start on Davis' last year. These moves were to help strengthen communication and experience with the secondary, and giving us an option for 'coverage sacks'. In the draft we picked up Mike Hughes and Dorance Armstrong in the 2nd round, both of whom can be instant impact players. Armstrong gets to team up with Leo, and Hughes is given an excellent environment to excel. We doubled up on these positions in later rounds picking up a slot CB and DE depth.