RB Chris Ivory, RB Mike Goodson, TE Kellen Winslow, G/OT Willie Colon, NT Antonio Garay, DE/OLB Antwan Barnes, S Dawan Landry.
CB DeMarcus Milliner, DE/DT Sheldon Richardson, QB Geno Smith, G Brian Winters, OT Oday Aboushi. Jets Rookie Forecast Offseason Losses:
QB Tim Tebow, RB Shonn Greene, WR Braylon Edwards, WR Chaz Schilens, TE Dustin Keller, TE Josh Baker, OT Jason Smith, G Brandon Moore, G Matt Slauson, DE/DT Mike DeVito, NT Sione Pouha, DE/OLB Bryan Thomas, ILB Bart Scott, CB Darrelle Revis, S LaRon Landry, S Yeremiah Bell, S Eric Smith.
2013 New York Jets Offense:
The Jets completely embarrassed themselves last year. They inexplicably refused to start the best quarterback on their roster, instead stubbornly sticking with the butt-fumbling incumbent. Mark Sanchez was a disaster, completing just 54.3 percent of his passes and committing a ridiculous 26 turnovers (18 interceptions, eight fumbles) compared to just 13 touchdowns. Greg McElroy started one game late in the season, but it was obvious that he was nothing more than a game-manager.
New York absolutely had to do something about the quarterback position this spring. The team did nothing in free agency, but ultimately selected Geno Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Smith was regarded as a first-round possibility, but fell allegedly because of his diva attitude. He also has things he needs to work on like field vision and footwork. However, Smith projects as a much better solution at quarterback than the anemic Sanchez, who is a lost cause. It'll be a huge surprise if the rookie isn't starting in the season opener.
Having said that, Smith would be better off on the bench this year because he has absolutely nothing to work with. The receiver position is decimated, as the top two wideouts are currently nursing injuries. Santonio Holmes is coming off a Lisfranc injury and will likely be on the PUP list during training camp. Holmes doesn't really care if his team wins or loses, so it's no surprise that he has fallen behind in his recovery. The raw Stephen Hill, meanwhile, is having problems with his surgically repaired knee, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. If Holmes and Hill can't suit up, the Jets' starting outside receivers would be Clyde Gates and Ben Obomanu, with Jeremy Kerley manning the slot. That's not a good situation.
Someone Sanchez came to rely upon was tight end Dustin Keller. Smith, however, won't have that same luxury because Keller signed with rival Miami. The starter there now is Jeff Cumberland, who caught 29 passes for 359 yards last year when Keller was out for eight games. Cumberland is not a No. 1 tight end by any means, but he just goes along with New York's skill positional theme. Kellen Winslow Jr. was signed, but he may not be able to move anymore.
The one upgrade the Jets made in this regard was at running back when they acquired Chris Ivory from the Saints for a fourth-round pick. Ivory showcased some of his talent by averaging 5.4 yards per carry last season, but he has yet to prove that he can be an every-down back. His career-high carry figure is just 137, and he has always done his running with opposing defenses concentrating on Drew Brees. His foes obviously won't respect Smith nearly as much, so it'll be shocking if Ivory comes anywhere close to the YPC figure he maintained in New Orleans.
New York's offensive line should help compensate for this, at least. Left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is one of the elite blind-side blockers in the NFL. He'll once again start across from Austin Howard, who struggles in pass protection (10 sacks allowed), but is very good at opening up running lanes. They sandwich center Nick Mangold, one of the top players at his position in the NFL.
The Jets' starting guards will be two individuals who weren't on the team last year. The front office signed Willie Colon away from the Steelers in the middle of March. Colon, projected to be the left guard, is very talented, but has an extensive injury history. The right guard spot will be open to competition. Vladimir Ducasse is the incumbent, but the two favorites to win the job are third-round rookie Brian Winters and former Lion Stephen Peterman.
2013 New York Jets Defense:
The Jets' defense has been centered around elite cornerback Darrelle Revis over the past few years, but they learned what life is like without him when they lost him for the year to a torn ACL in Week 3. Contrary to most predictions, New York's stop unit still functioned pretty well. This allowed the cap-strapped front office to deal Revis to the Buccaneers in exchange for the No. 13 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
New York didn't use that selection on Revis' retirement, but it did take cornerback DeMarcus Milliner with its own at No. 9 overall. Milliner was regarded by most to be the best corner in the class, but he'll likely be seen as another overrated Alabama prospect in a couple of years. Milliner seldom intercepted passes and never had to backpedal. He has a ton of adjusting to do as a pro. Luckily for him, he won't be asked to cover No. 1 wideouts. That job will once again belong to Antonio Cromartie, who starred in Revis' absence, surrendering a very low completion percentage (46.0). Kyle Wilson, who did a decent job as the No. 2 corner, will reprise his role as the nickel back.
Milliner isn't the only new defensive back on the roster; in fact, Cromartie is the sole returning starter. Last year's safeties, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, couldn't be brought back because of financial difficulties, so the Jets replaced them with Dawan Landry, formerly of the Jaguars, and Josh Bush, a 2012 sixth-round pick. Dawan Landry will be one of the weaker starting safeties in the NFL in 2013, but he brings plenty of experience. He'll also benefit from being reunited with Rex Ryan; the two were together in Baltimore from 2006 to 2008. Bush, meanwhile, barely played last year. He's coming off shoulder surgery.
The Jets will have to bring a fierce pass rush to compensate for the issues in the secondary. Perhaps rookie Sheldon Richardson can help. The Missouri defensive lineman was chosen with the pick acquired for Revis. He wasn't seen as someone who could fill a need, but his presence up front will allow second-year Quinton Coples to move to rush linebacker. Richardson will bring a pass-rushing presence up front along with stud Muhammad Wilkerson, who had five sacks in 2012 - a high number for a player at his position. Richardson and Wilkerson will flank nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, who is replacing the departed Sione Pouha. Even if Ellis isn't as strong against the rush, Wilkerson should help make up for it with his elite run-stuffing ability.
As for Coples, he'll be able to increase his sack total (5.5 in 2012) at his new position. He has the talent to become a double-digit sack artist, but only if he applies himself, as effort has always been the issue with him. Coples will start across from Calvin Pace, who was awful last year. Antwan Barnes will be the pass-rusher on obvious throwing downs.
The Jets lost long-time linebacker Bart Scott as a cap casualty this offseason. Thus, the interior of the Jets' defense is a big concern. Incumbent David Harris was horrific in 2012, while former third-rounder Demario Davis, who did not look very good as a rookie in the brief instances he's been on the field, will take Scott's spot in the lineup.
2013 New York Jets Schedule and Intangibles:
The Jets have a poor kicker situation, but refuse to do anything about it. In three seasons with New York, Nick Folk has failed to hit 80 percent of his attempts. He was 21-of-27 in 2012.
Punter Robert Malone finished in the middle of the pack in terms of net average and attempts placed inside the 20.
Jeremy Kerley and Joe McKnight did a great job as the punt and kickoff returners, respectively. They both scored. Unfortunately, the Jets surrendered two touchdowns themselves.
The Jets have a ridiculously tough portion of their schedule in which they have to battle the Falcons, Steelers, Patriots, Bengals, Saints and Ravens between Weeks 5 and 12. The rest of their slate isn't too difficult, however.
2013 New York Jets Rookies:
Go here for the Jets Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.
2013 New York Jets Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2013 New York Jets Analysis: The Jets aren't as bad as everyone thinks they are, but they still aren't very good... if that makes any sort of sense. Some consider them to be the worst team in the league, but they're not. They still have a solid defense that will keep them in games. Unfortunately, their offense will make sure their win total is ultimately six or fewer.
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Jets are a complete mess. They're about to cut the top quarterback on their roster for moronic reasons, so they'll need to find a franchise signal-caller at some point. There are holes everywhere else as well, with only the left tackle, center and defensive end positions not needing to be upgraded.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Regardless of their other picks, the Jets' draft has to be considered a success because they can finally move on from Mark Sanchez. Geno Smith, drafted in the second round, will be the team's quarterback going forward. To avoid a controversy that capsized the team last year, they need to cut Sanchez. They need to get past that ugly era.
The problem is that Smith doesn't have much to work with. Santonio Holmes will be back, but he's unreliable. Stephen Hill is still raw. Chris Ivory, acquired for a mid-round pick, will at least be a better option than Shonn Greene in the backfield. However, the offensive line is still a major question mark. The Jets drafted Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi as potential upgrades, but they may not be ready to start in 2013.
New York should be better defensively. The defensive line is as strong as ever with Sheldon Richardson joining Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, while Dee Milliner fortifies a cornerback group that of course lost Darrelle Revis. Questions remain at inside linebacker and safety, but this was a 2-year rebuilding project.
Mike Tannenbaum ruined this team with his poor draft picks and terrible contracts, but new general manager John Idzik appears to be doing a good job of bringing this franchise back to prominence.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
9. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: C+ Grade
The Jets essentially traded Darrelle Revis for Dee Milliner. I just don't get why they'd deal Revis to just take another cornerback when they have two corners on the roster (Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson) who proved themselves to be capable starters after Revis went down. Milliner had just six interceptions in his college career. He also was never asked to backpedal. Alabama cornerbacks have a history of busting in the NFL, so the Jets better hope that Milliner doesn't continue that tradition.
13. Sheldon Richardson, DE/DT, Missouri: B Grade
Wow, Sheldon Richardson before Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei? Many will bash this selection, I'm sure, but I don't mind it. Sheldon Richardson is the top interior pass-rusher who fits the 4-3 and 3-4 - which is key for New York because Rex Ryan loves to use both looks. I'm not sure why Richardson wasn't considered a higher-rated prospect. The Jets had to bolster their pass-rush, and they did just that with Richardson.
39. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: A Grade
This is the last place I'd want to go if I were Geno Smith because the Jets have absolutely nothing to work with on offense. But I imagine after waiting all Thursday evening, he's just relieved to be drafted by someone. This is a great pick for New York though because Smith was considered an option for the No. 1 overall pick when he was winning games. The Jets needed a quarterback, and Smith was the top signal-caller in this entire draft class. It's going to be fun watching Smith duel E.J. Manuel twice per year. I'm sure Smith will be extra motivated for that.
72. Brian Winters, G, Kent State: B Grade
The Jets signed Willie Colon this offseason, but they needed another guard to compete with Vladimir Ducasse. This is the right range for Brian Winters, so this is a pretty solid pick.
141. Oday Aboushi, G/OT, Virginia: B Grade
Still no skill-position players, but upgrading the offensive line isn't a bad move. Oday Aboushi played tackle in college, but he may have to move to guard in the NFL because of his short arms. Having said that, it's a good idea to find protection for Geno Smith.
178. William Campbell, DT, Michigan: C+ Grade
I mocked William Campbell to the Jets in the seventh round at one point, so this pick makes sense to me. He's another interior lineman, but he's much different than Sheldon Richardson.
215. Tommy Bohanon, FB, Wake Forest: B Grade
A fullback in the seventh round? Why not? The Jets needed one. Logical pick.
The Jets made all of the noise in the offseason, but once again failed to back it up. Season-ending injuries to Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes didn't help, but New York's 2012 campaign was doomed before it started. Mark Sanchez showed major signs of regression the year before, yet the inept front office gave him a massive extension, and then the coaching staff refused to utilize an upgrade it acquired via a fourth-round pick during the spring. The Jets were a mess; they're lucky they had such an easy schedule, or they might have won two or three games.
Jets sign TE Kellen Winslow Jr.
Patriots sign QB Tim Tebow
Jets cut QB Tim Tebow
Jets acquire RB Chris Ivory from Saints for 4th-round pick
Buccaneers acquire CB Darrelle Revis from Jets for No. 13 pick and other selections
Jets re-sign OLB Calvin Pace
Saints sign OT Jason Smith
Jets sign S Dawan Landry
Bears sign G Matt Slauson
Jets sign DE/OLB Antwan Barnes
Jets re-sign K Nick Folk
Jets sign NT Antonio Garay
Jets sign G/OT Willie Colon
Jets sign RB Mike Goodson
Dolphins sign TE Dustin Keller
Colts sign S LaRon Landry
Jets re-sign FB Lex Hilliard
Cardinals sign S Yeremiah Bell
Titans sign RB Shonn Greene
Chiefs sign DE/DT Mike DeVito
Jets cut NT Sione Pouha
Jets tender OT Austin Howard
Jets re-sign ILB Josh Mauga
Jets tender TE Jeff Cumberland
Jets cut ILB Bart Scott
Jets cut OT Jason Smith
Jets cut S Eric Smith
Jets cut DE Calvin Pace
Jets waive TE Josh Baker
Quarterback: Mark Sanchez is garbage, Greg McElroy is not an NFL-caliber starter, while Tim Tebow wasn't utilized for some strange reason. It's obvious that the Jets must move on from Sanchez, but his ridiculous contract won't allow that to happen. The new general manager will have to draft a quarterback this April. Drafted Geno Smith
Rush Linebacker: Calvin Pace couldn't get to the quarterback this season, so he was cut. Neither could Bryan Thomas. Aaron Maybin was cut. Someone like Dion Jordan has to be considered with the No. 9 pick this April. Signed Antwan Barnes; re-signed Calvin Pace
Two Safeties: Both LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell are gone. Replacements are needed. Signed Dawan Landry
Cornerback: The Jets dealt Darrelle Revis to the Buccaneers. They got away with Kyle Wilson starting across from Antonio Cromartie last year, but now they need depth behind those two. Drafted DeMarcus Milliner
Running Back: Shonn Greene is a free agent, but he needed to be upgraded anyway. There will be plenty of running backs to choose from in Rounds 2-4 this April. Traded for Chris Ivory; signed Mike Goodson
Right Tackle: Austin Howard was a human turnstile this past season; he's a major reason why McElroy took 11 sacks in Week 16. The Jets have to think about addressing this position in the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft. Tendered Austin Howard; drafted Oday Aboushi
Wide Receiver: Santonio Holmes will be back next year, but he's a bum. Stephen Hill will hopefully improve, but New York can't count on that. Receiver help is needed.
Inside Linebacker: Bart Scott was just released. Meanwhile, David Harris was one of the league's worst starting inside linebackers last year. Owed more than $10 million in 2013, he could be a cap casualty. He'll have to be replaced if that's the case.
Guard: Starting guards Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson are free agents. At least one must be retained. New York will probably give Vladimir Ducasse a chance at the other spot. Signed Willie Colon; drafted Brian Winters
Tight End: Dustin Keller is a free agent who could be franchised. Signed Kellen Winslow
Kicker: Nick Folk will be hitting the free-agent market, but he was just a mediocre kicker anyhow. Re-signed Nick Folk
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Willie Colon, G/OT, Steelers. Age: 30. Signed with Jets (1 year, $1.2 million)
Willie Colon can play both guard positions as well as right tackle. He's a very powerful blocker, and he would be rated much higher if he didn't have a troublesome knee that has forced him out of multiple games over the past several seasons.
Antwan Barnes, DE/OLB, Chargers. Age: 28. Signed with Jets
Antwan Barnes is a solid pass-rushing specialist. He recorded 11 sacks in 2011, but didn't do much last year because of a bothersome hamstring injury.
Dawan Landry, S, Jaguars. Age: 30. Signed with Jets
Dawan Landry is a pretty mediocre safety who is decent in run support. He's not a massive liability, but he probably shouldn't be a starter.
Mike Goodson, RB, Raiders. Age: 26. -- Signed with Jets (3 years, $6.9 million)
Antonio Garay, NT, Chargers. Age: 33. -- Signed with Jets
New York Jets Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
LaRon Landry, S, Jets. Age: 28. Signed with Colts (4 years)
No one wanted LaRon Landry last offseason. He was considered an injury waiting to happen. Well, he proved everyone wrong with a solid 2012 campaign. He should still be considered fragile, but he has definitely earned himself a nice contract.
Brandon Moore, G, Jets. Age: 33.
Brandon Moore is coming off a terrific season. He run blocked with the best of them and wasn't a liability in pass protection. Age, however, is becoming a concern.
Dustin Keller, TE, Jets. Age: 28. Signed with Dolphins
Dustin Keller caught a career-high 65 balls for 815 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, but barely played this year because of various injuries.
Tim Tebow, QB, Jets. Age: 26. Signed with Patriots
Dumb, homoclitic ESPN groupthink believes that Tim Tebow should either move to the tight end position or be relegated to the CFL. In reality, Tebow is a solid starting quarterback. He makes things happen on the football field (but not in practice, duh, Jets), inspires teammates and just wins football games. After all, leading a mediocre Denver team to the playoffs (after Kyle Orton's horrific start with the same squad) and compiling 400 yards of offense against Dick LeBeau's defense in a postseason victory is no fluke. Tebow still has room for growth. A coach with a great imagination could run a highly successful offense with the former Gator. The problem with Tebow has very little to do with what he does on the field. The media creates such a distraction with him that it can hurt the team. Tebow needs to go to a small-market organization to avoid that. The Jaguars make all the sense in the world, as Tebow would be a colossal upgrade over either Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne.
Mike DeVito, DE/DT, Jets. Age: 29. Signed with Chiefs
Mike DeVito has been a key run-defender in New York's three-man front.
Matt Slauson, G, Jets. Age: 27. Signed with Bears)
Matt Slauson is sound in pass protection, but doesn't run block very well. He beat out Vladimir Ducasse for the starting left guard job in 2012.
Shonn Greene, RB, Jets. Age: 28. Signed with Titans (3 years, $10 million)
Shonn Greene is just your typical Big Ten plodder. He's just an average starter, but given all of the talent running backs in the NFL at the moment, he should be a backup.
Bart Scott, ILB, Jets. Age: 33.
Bart Scott is no longer a three-down linebacker, but he's still effective in terms of stopping the run.
Calvin Pace, 33 in October, looked like he had nothing in the tank this past season, as he registered only three sacks. Maybe he can bounce back, but his career looks like it's quickly coming to an end.
Yeremiah Bell, S, Jets. Age: 35. Signed with Cardinals
Yeremiah Bell had a surprisingly decent year for the Jets, but he'll be 35 in March.
Sione Pouha, NT, Jets. Age: 34.
Sione Pouha is still OK in run support, but given that he just turned 34, it's fair to wonder how much longer he'll be effective.
Bryan Thomas, DE/OLB, Jets. Age: 34.
Bryan Thomas played through a torn chest injury in 2012. He wasn't bad considering that, but it's fair to wonder if his body is breaking down.
Jeff Cumberland (RFA), TE, Jets. Age: 26. Tendered by Jets (original)
Jeff Cumberland caught 29 balls for 359 yards and three touchdowns in relief of an injured Dustin Keller. He also blocked well.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets. Age: 30.
Austin Howard (RFA), OT, Jets. Age: 26. -- Tendered by Jets (2nd round)
Jason Smith, OT, Jets. Age: 27. -- Signed with Saints