In an interview with NyJets.com‘s Eric Allen, draft expert Mike Mayock stated that “the Jets are a team to watch, as long as the quarterback continues to show signs of improvement”. He noted how much he likes watching the stout Jets defensive line and praised Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson for their play. However, there is much more than the play of one unit to look forward to going forward, a whole lot more.
After the 2012-13 season the Jets fired former general manager Mike Tannenbaum and brought in John Idzik from the Seattle Seahawks. The Seattle Seahawks just won their first Superbowl and Idzik was a major part of building this team which can have sustained success for a while. When Idzik came to the Jets he was faced with a nightmare salary cap situation, a product of Tannenbaum’s win now, pay down the line attitude.
Moving into next season the Jets are in a position to shed the last of these high budget contracts and open up some real cap space. While this could mean potential bad news for Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie (as well as their fans), it could mean great things for the Jets. If these players are cut the Jets would have almost 50 million dollars in cap space, with plaenty of other options to free up more.
Before the start of the 2013 season ESPN had the New York Jets ranked 32nd out of 32 teams in the NFL, based mostly on the perceived level of talent on the team. Of course no one knew that Sheldon Richardson would go on to win Defensive Rookie of the year, but it is safe to say the Rex over performed with the current cast. A lot of free cap space and an upcoming draft with a few extra picks means the Jets are in good position to bring together a much stronger cast next season.
If Idzik, who was a part of building the current Superbowl Championship team, can navigate free agency wisely and make the most of the upcoming draft, the Jets might be a team to fear again come next season. As Mayock pointed out Geno will have to continue growing as a quarterback but with better, more reliable weapons on the outside this task could be made easier for the young signal caller. There will be other issues that need to be addressed in the off season but with the potential cap space Idzik will have it shouldn’t prove too difficult to inject this team with a lot of talent at a plethora of positions.