Donald Miralle/Getty Images
The Jets may have missed out on the biggest name in free agency, but there are plenty of stars out there besides Peyton Manning.
Mike Tannenbaum has done a good job in creating some cap space to work with by reworking D'Brickashaw Ferguson's contract and giving Mark Sanchez an extension. As free agency starts, the Jets are an estimated $14.4 million under the cap.
The Jets have numerous holes to fill, but they do have money to spend if they choose to bring in a big name free agent.
The biggest name currently available is Mario Williams and he'd solve all the pass rushing problems the Jets have immediately. There were early reports that the Jets wouldn't pursue Williams at all, but that was before the cap space was cleared.
It would be hard for the Jets to just totally discount Williams, but they will be on the fringes of the chase for Williams at best.
March 16. 2012 Update: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports the Jets have agreed to principle with WR Chaz Schilens.
March 15, 2012 Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports via his Twitter that Mario Williams will be given a six-year deal from the Bills. He reports that the contract is worth up to $100 million dollars with $50 million guaranteed.
Most of the other big name players reside on offense and some provide nice options for the Jets.
The team should be in the market for a wide receiver and the top players available are Vincent Jackson, Mike Wallace and Marques Colston.
UPDATE (3/13): Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Buccaneers have signed Vincent Jackson to a 5 year, $55.55 million dollar contract with $26 million dollars guaranteed.
Colston has re-signed with the Saints.
Wallace is a restricted free agent and would cost the Jets a first-round draft pick and a lot of money if he is signed, so he is out of the question. Jackson's price tag will likely be too high, but Colston could be a fit for the Jets.
At running back, Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis have already been discussed in the media for the Jets as they look to find a compliment to Shonn Greene.
UPDATE (3/14): Peyton Hillis signs a one-year, $3 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Other top running backs like Michael Bush and BenJarvus Green-Ellis have not been linked to the Jets in any way, but either of them would boost the Jets ground game tremendously.
UPDATE (3/20): Jets showing interest in BenJarvus Green-Ellis according to the New York Post.
If the Jets had to spend their money on one big name free agent though, they would be best served going after the Saints' Carl Nicks.
The problem with Nicks is that any team in the NFL would love to have the 26-year-old dominant guard. So if a likely bidding war ensues, the Jets would be unable to keep up financially.
Even with the extra cap space, the chances the Jets pursue a big name free agent are less than 50 percent. With too many holes to fill across the roster, the Jets can't afford to allocate a high percentage of their $14.4 million to one player.
The only way that will change is if a situation happens similar to last year when Nnamdi Asomugha became available. When word spread that the Jets were contenders for Asomugha, players lined up to renegotiate their contracts to create space for him.
However, aside from Manning or possibly Williams, there aren't any free agents that will cause the kind of stir Asomugha did last year.