8 players the NY Jets gave up on way too soon

NY Jets, Demario Davis
NY Jets, Demario Davis / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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8. Kareem McKenzie, OT

A third-round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, Kareem McKenzie took over as the Jets' starting right tackle in his second season. From 2002-2004, McKenzie started all 48 games for the Jets and became one of the team's most consistent and reliable starters.

Unfortunately, the Jets were unable to re-sign McKenzie once he hit the open market, allowing the New York Giants to steal him away. That's where McKenzie's career would truly take off.

The New Jersey native started 105 games over seven years with the Giants, helping lead the team to multiple Super Bowl titles. Meanwhile, aside from a few strong Damien Woody seasons, the Jets struggled to find a suitable replacement at right tackle.

McKenzie is far from the most high-profile player on this list, but it's fair to wonder how good the Jets' offensive line could have been had he never left. Perhaps he helps lead the Jets to a Super Bowl instead of their in-state rivals.

7. Jonathan Vilma, LB

Many Jets players have been sent packing throughout their history in the name of scheme fit. One such player is former Defensive Rookie of the Year Jonathan Vilma.

Drafted in the first round in 2004, Vilma quickly established himself as one of the best young linebackers in football. He won Rookie of the Year, made the Pro Bowl the following season, led the league in tackles, and was a leader in the middle of the Jets' defense.

But with the Jets switching to a 3-4, then-general manager Mike Tannenbaum elected to send Vilma to the New Orleans Saints for a pair of mid-round picks. Vilma found new life in New Orleans.

Vilma spent six years as a starter with the Saints, making a pair of Pro Bowls in the process. Vilma's post-Jets success absolutely earns him a spot on this list.