Keep, Trade or Cut Every Player on New York Jets' Roster

Ryan AlfieriCorrespondent IIIJanuary 11, 2013

Keep, Trade or Cut Every Player on New York Jets' Roster

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    2013 will mark one of the most important offseasons in recent Jets history. With a new general manager on the way, how the Jets will handle their free agents and veteran players is much more unpredictable. 

    The Jets enter the offseason approximately $10 million over the cap, meaning there will be several veteran players cut for the sake of keeping the team under the cap. 

    Here is a breakdown of the fate of every player on the roster. 

    All cap numbers are provided by nyjetscap.com, and all advanced statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Focus. 

Quarterbacks

1 of 13

    Mark Sanchez: If money was not an issue, the team would most certainly part ways with their once-franchise quarterback after the season. However, releasing Sanchez would cost the team $17 million against the cap. Perhaps the Jets can work out a deal with a trade partner, but no team in their right mind would take on that kind of financial burden for a player who has regressed as badly as Sanchez has this season. 

    Ultimately, the Jets will be forced to keep him on the roster and find competition through free agency or the draft. 

    Verdict: Trade

     

     

    Tim Tebow: Even the Jets have admitted that the Tim Tebow experiment never worked out and was more of a distraction to the team than anything else. Chris Mortensen reports that Tebow already has one foot in Jacksonville, but new Jaguars GM David Caldwell stated that he "could not imagine a scenario where Tebow would be a Jacksonville Jaguar." 

    It looks like the Jets may just have to cut their losses and let Tebow go without any compensation. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Greg McElroy: He showed promise in his comeback effort against the Cardinals, but he crumbled against the Chargers defense when given an opportunity to start, walking himself into 11 sacks. However, he is still a young player and will likely be kept on the roster as the third emergency quarterback at worst. 

    Verdict: Keep

Running Backs

2 of 13

    Shonn Greene: A free agent this spring, Greene started to come on a bit at the end of the season and was able to put up a quiet 1,000-yard season. Still, Greene is a limited runner that has little lateral agility and offers almost nothing as a receiver. The Jets would be better off saving their precious cap room and finding a replacement for Greene through the draft and perhaps promote Bilal Powell to the starting role. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Bilal Powell: Powell had a strong sophomore campaign, averaging 4.0 yards per carry as a complementary back to Shonn Greene. Excellent in protection and an asset in the passing game, Powell's role should only increase next season unless the Jets spend big money or a high draft pick on a new runner. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Joe McKnight: McKnight has never quite blossomed into being a Reggie Bush-type runner, but he has hardly been given the chance. When he has, he averaged 6.0 yards per carry. He is still an effective return man and has some upside just three years into his career. No sense in cutting him now. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    John Griffin: Griffin, who was brought back after being cut in camp, never actually saw the field. Expect him to be back in August with a chance to make the team if Shonn Greene does not return. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Lex Hilliard (FB): Hilliard was good on special teams and average as a blocker, but he dropped several crucial passes in game situations. The Jets would be wise to at least bring in some real competition if they decide to keep him.

    Verdict: Cut

Offensive Tackles

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    D'Brickashaw Ferguson: Ferguson rebounded from an average showing in 2011, not giving up a sack until a December matchup against the Jaguars (to Jason Babin). A core member of the team, Ferguson is not going anywhere for a long time. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Austin Howard: Many assume that Austin Howard was a liability on the right side of the line simply because he was a late-preseason filler for the beleaguered Wayne Hunter, but Howard played very well as a starter. He ranks in the top half of all tackles on PFF's rankings. Howard is a free agent that the Jets would be wise to retain. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Jason Smith: Smith actually played very well as a sixth offensive lineman in heavy personnel packages, but he has a massive cap hit ($12 million) that makes him an easy choice as a cap casualty. The Jets may want to bring him back at a lesser price, but for now, consider Smith a goner. 

    Verdict: Cut

Interior Lineman

4 of 13

    Nick Mangold: One of the best in the league at his position, Nick Mangold is another building block that was locked up in 2010 and not ready to go anywhere. Mangold is coming off another excellent season and is showing no signs of slowing down. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Brandon Moore: One of the longest-tenured players on the team, Moore is a veteran leader on the offensive line that will be a difficult decision for the Jets when he enters free agency this March. With the left guard position in flux, the Jets need to retain their most veteran player, even if he could start to decline at any point at the age of 32. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Matt Slauson: Ideally, the Jets would love to keep their best pick from the 2009 draft, but Slauson rotated with Vladimir Ducasse all season for a reason: the Jets are preparing for life without the Nebraska product. A new GM may have something to say about it, but Slauson probably wants to go to another team where he will not have to leave the field every third series for no good reason. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Vladimir Ducasse: When he did see the field Ducasse was less effective than Slauson, as he was the only player to have a neutral score on PFF's ratings (everyone else on the offensive line was positive). However, he was not the massive liability he used to be. Unless the Jets spend a high pick on a guard in the draft, Ducasse is the favorite to start at left guard for the Jets in 2013. 

    Verdict: Keep. 

Wide Receivers

5 of 13

    Santonio Holmes: He may not be everyone's cup of tea and he's certainly not cheap ($12.5 million against the cap in 2013) for a player coming off a lisfranc injury, but he is the most dynamic player on the Jets' anemic offense. When he went out of the lineup, Mark Sanchez's regression got worse with every week. Before his injury, Holmes was on pace for a 1,200-yard season, and the Jets are in no position to start letting playmakers slip through their fingers. 

    Verdict: Stay

     

    Braylon Edwards: Edwards was added late in the season as the receiving corps grew dangerously thin due to injury, and was immediately the most dynamic offensive player on the field. Popular among most fans, the biggest issue with bringing Braylon back is that his presence stunts the growth of younger players. However, if a new GM thinks he can still be a productive player, having him on the team for depth purposes outweighs the negatives of having him around. 

    Verdict: Stay

     

    Stephen Hill: A raw prospect coming out of Georgia Tech, Hill was forced into a starting role before he was ready. He dropped plenty of passes and ran poor routes at times, but he flashed big-play ability and should only improve as he has more time to adjust to the pro game. A new offensive coordinator may adjust his role, but there is no sense in giving up on last year's second-round pick just yet. 

    Verdict: Stay

     

     

    Jeremy Kerley: The minute Santonio Holmes went down in Week 4, Jeremy Kerley became the Jets' top offensive playmaker in the slot. Even with horrendous quarterback play, he managed to post 827 yards and average over 14 yards per catch. In a year of epic offensive ineptitude, Kerely was one of the few bright spots making plays as a slot receiver and punt returner. 

    Verdict: Stay

     

     

    Chaz Schilens: With injuries mounting to every other player on the roster, Schilens had a great opportunity to show the world that he was capable of being a starter. Instead, Schilens struggled to get open, and when he did, he struggled with his concentration and dropped plenty of big catches. Receiver depth was a huge problem last year, so look for the Jets to find an upgrade over Chaz through the draft. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Clyde Gates: After failing to make the Dolphins roster in training camp, Gates was brought in to develop on the Jets roster. Blessed with tremendous deep speed, Gates did make some progress as the season went along but he still has a long way to go in terms of learning how to run NFL routes. He also had two concussions during the course of the season. 

    Gates may be back to compete for a spot in training camp, but a new GM has no ties to experimental projects like Clyde Gates. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Jordan White: White was cut before the season started and spent time on the practice squad during the season. Forced into action late in the year because of injury to other players, White did nothing to impress. White has good hands and can find holes in zone coverage, but he is underwhelming from a physical standpoint. It would be an upset if a new GM brought him back. 

    Verdict: Cut

Tight Ends

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    Dustin Keller: The pending free agent picked a bad year to contract the injury bug. Keller missed half the season with various ankle and hamstring injuries, but he was rather productive when he did see the field. 

    Whether or not the Jets choose to retain their most expensive free agent largely depends on who their quarterback is. Keller has a unique chemistry with Mark Sanchez, but he is nothing more than a solid receiving tight end paired with any other quarterback. Perhaps his recent injuries will help drive down his price, but with such limited cap room to work with, the Jets may be better off finding a replacement for Keller through the draft. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Jeff Cumberland: Cumberland got plenty of playing time this year with Keller injured. He flashed ability as a receiver and improved as a blocker, but unlike Keller, he does not command extra attention from defenses. Still, If Keller leaves, the Jets need someone to play the position, and Cumberland may be the only option. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Konrad Reuland: Reuland was forced into backup duties with Keller out for half the season, and he responded rather well. He is not exactly a physical specimen, but he is a tough, willing blocker who can catch the ball. He should be in camp next August. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Hayden Smith: Mike Tannenbaum's Australian project was able to make the active roster by the end of the year, but a new GM may not have the patience to wait for Smith to develop. He may very well have the ability to make it in the NFL, but a new GM may prefer to go the conventional route and draft or sign a tight end in his place. 

    Verdict: Keep

Defensive Ends

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    Mike DeVito: DeVito has gone from undrafted free agent to one of the top leaders on the team. Graded as the team's second-best run defender on PFF, DeVito still has a valuable role on the team despite first-round pick Quinton Coples' presence. 

    A native from New England, there has been much speculation that DeVito would end up a Patriot if he tested the free agent market. Do the Jets really want one of their top locker room leaders to become another Belichick minion?

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Muhammad Wilkerson: Antonio Cromartie may have won the team MVP award, but Wilkerson was arguably the most productive Jet in 2012. In his second season, Wilkerson was rated as the second best defensive lineman in the NFL by PFF, with only J.J. Watt edging him out as a run defender. He also played every defensive snap of the season, which is extremely rare for a defensive lineman.

    The Jets appear to have a budding star on their hands, and they have Mike Tannenbaum to thank for it. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Quinton Coples: When looking at his production when compared to his limited playing time, Coples was one of the most efficient Jet defenders of 2012. He only took about half the snaps Muhammad Wilkerson did (516 to 930) but still led the team with six sacks. 

    Verdict: Keep

Defensive Tackles

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    Sione Pouha: Pouha dealt with a bad back all season, and only played in 306 snaps as a result. He was a shadow of his Pro Bowl-worthy self in 2011, rating just barely above average in run defense in PFF's rankings. However, with a few months to heal up, Pouha should be able to get back to his former dominant self. 

    Verdict: Stay

     

     

    Kenrick Ellis: Like Pouha, Ellis missed a ton of time due to injury. When he was healthier earlier in the season, he flashed plenty of potential. The 2010 third-round pick still has plenty of upside and should continue to develop behind Sione Pouha to provide depth at the position. 

    Verdict: Stay

     

     

    Damon Harrison: The undrafted free agent only played 22 snaps, but he did make a big stop on a third down in a Monday night game against the Texans. Harrison has plenty of upside with his size and athleticism and should have another chance to make the team next year in camp. 

    Verdict: Stay

Outside Linebackers

9 of 13

    Calvin Pace: This one seems like a no-brainer—at the ripe age of 32, Pace was rated to be the single worst defender on the Jets in 2012 by PFF. Cutting him would save the team $8.56 million in cap room. It is time to get younger and more athletic at the position. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Bryan Thomas: Thomas is a free agent that offers nothing as a pass-rusher, but he did do a good job setting the edge in the run game. However, recent allegations of domestic assault have all but cemented the fact that 2012 was Thomas' last year as a Jet. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Garrett McIntyre: McIntyre was the best pass-rusher of the linebacker group. He recorded a modest four sacks but he played only 411 snaps all season. If the Jets do not add another player or two early in the draft or through free agency at this position, expect McIntyre's role to only get bigger in Rex Ryan's defense. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Ricky Sapp: A midseason addition to the practice squad after Aaron Maybin was cut, Sapp was a virtual non-factor, recording just two hurries in 47 snaps. He could be brought back for training camp next year, but expect the Jets to look for someone else to develop as a rotational pass-rusher. 

    Verdict: Cut

Inside Linebackers

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    Bart Scott: Despite his reputation as a liability in coverage, Scott was arguably the Jets' best linebacker this season. He was excellent against the run and actually graded out positively as a pass-rusher by PFF. However, the Jets would save $7.15 million against the cap if they release him, and given the Jets' tight cap situation, that kind of savings is too hard to pass up. 

    There is a strong possibility that Scott can be brought back at a cheaper price, but whether or not Scott would be willing to do so remains to be seen. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    David Harris: Harris was arguably the team's most overpaid player (besides Mark Sanchez). Despite having the biggest cap number on the team, Harris was the second-worst defender on the Jets, according to PFF. He was a massive liability against the run, constantly taking poor angles and missing tackles. 

    However, Harris managed to win the Ed Block Courage Award, as voted by his teammates, which suggests that perhaps he was playing with an undisclosed injury. The Jets only save $500,000 by cutting him. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Demario Davis: Davis got some quality playing time in the middle of the season when Scott when down with a toe injury. He played solid, if unspectacular, but showed that he has the leadership skills to be an NFL starter down the road. If Scott does not return, Davis should be the starter next to David Harris in 2013. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Josh Mauga: A solid special teams player with some experience on defense, Mauga will have to prove himself to a new general manager if he is going to stick around in 2013. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Nick Bellore: Bellore is in the same situation as Mauga, except he is one spot lower on the depth chart. It would be an upset if he manages to find a roster spot in 2013. 

    Verdict: Cut

Cornerbacks

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    Darrelle Revis: Some have argued that trading Revis could be a possiblity, but trading Hall of Famers in their prime is never a good idea. No one they would draft with extra picks could possibly be an upgrade over Revis. 

    That said, he still must prove to the front office that he is the same player he was before the injury. If he is, he deserves a massive raise. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Antonio Cromartie: Voted as the team MVP by this teammates, Cromartie emerged as a legitimate shutdown corner after Revis tore his ACL in Week 3. Assuming Revis comes back to full strength, the Jets easily have the best cornerback tandem in football. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Kyle Wilson: Wilson was one of the many mistakes made on draft day in 2010. As a starter, Kyle Wilson was ranked as the 73rd best cornerback in the league by PFF. A new GM would have no ties to the former first-round pick, who should test free agency after the season. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Isaiah Trufant: Trufant is one of the most underrated defenders on the team. Before suffering an season-ending injury, he blanketed Wes Welker with little help, which was a big reason why they ever had a chance to win the game. Even if Wes Welker leaves the division next year, they could use a new slot-corner with Kyle Wilson likely on his way out. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Ellis Lankster: The injury to Darrelle Revis thrust Lankster into the slot position, where to struggled to the point where he was eventually benched. Lankster is a serviceable fourth corner, but he struggles because of his lack of speed elite speed to keep up with faster receivers. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Aaron Berry: Cut by the Lions because of a slew of off-field incidents, Berry spend most of his time in New York on the inactive list. Look for the Jets to move on from this injury-prone player. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Darrin Walls: Walls was a late-season addition that played well in place of Ellis Lankster in the slot. Expect him back to compete for a spot in training camp. 

    Verdict: Keep

Safeties

12 of 13

    LaRon Landry: Landry managed to stay healthy and productive all season, earning himself a Pro Bowl berth in the process. A physical presence in the back end, the Jets would be wise to extend him, but the fact that he made the Pro Bowl actually makes him more expensive, as such accolades are used in contract negotiations. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Yeremiah Bell: Bell played just as well, or even better, than Landry in the back end. He was terrific in run support and was not the liability in coverage many suspected he would be. 

    However, Bell is 34 years old and will deteriorate sooner or later. The Jets can save themselves some money by moving Landry to strong safety where he is more comfortable and put sophomore player Josh Bush in the vacant free safety spot. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Eric Smith: Smith was much better this year in a more limited role, but cutting him would save $3 million in cap room. Smith is a valuable special teams player and used in nickel packages, but those kinds of players can be had for much less than $3 million. 

    Verdict: Cut

     

     

    Josh Bush: As I previously mentioned, Bush will likely be a starter next year if one of the veteran safeties are not re-signed. Bush's coverage skills make him an ideal fit to take over as a free safety. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Antonio Allen: Allen was abused in coverage when he was given a chance to play, but he improved during the course of the season and proved to be an excellent blitzer. He still has plenty of upside and should be kept on the roster with the status of the two veterans in question. 

    Verdict: Keep

Special Teams

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    Nick Folk (K): Folk had his best season yet in New York, missing just six field goals all season (several of them were blocked). No reason to part ways with the former Cowboy. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Robert Malone (P): After a great start, Malone started to show some inconsistency, but he was a massive upgrade over T.J. Conley. He deserves another chance to enter camp as the assumed starter. 

    Verdict: Keep

     

     

    Tanner Purdum (LS): Purdum was hardly noticed all season, which is a good thing for a long snapper. Not one kick was missed because of a bad snap. 

    Verdict: Keep