New Jets general manager John Idzik has his work cut out for him in his first offseason in New York.
The Jets have some serious salary cap issues, as per Rich Cimini of ESPN New York.
"As soon as the waiver period opens in February, the Jets will clear $30.7 million off their salary cap in less time than it takes to hail a cab in New York. They will release LB Calvin Pace ($8.56 million savings), LB Bart Scott ($7.15 million), OT Jason Smith ($12 million) and S Eric Smith ($3 million). Those moves will result in only $4.5 million in dead money.
Idzik will have to work under heavy constraints during free agency, as the Jets have so many need positions, including quarterback, and so little cap room.
The problem," Cimini continues "is that they will have only 10 starters under contract and not much cap room."
Here are several cost-effective moves Idzik and the Jets can make this offseason to greatly improve the team's roster next season.
Yeremiah Bell has question marks. Namely, he will be 35 in March, sometimes struggles in pass coverage and be can't be relied upon to make a big play.
However, Bell was extremely solid in his first year in New York. He started all 16 games, recorded 89 tackles, a sack, three fumble recoveries and two pass deflections.
LaRon Landry will likely be too expensive to re-sign, as he is coming off a Pro Bowl season and has expressed in the past that he will not be giving the Jets a "hometown discount".
Therefore, it is essential that the Jets bring back Bell. The secondary, even with the absence of Darrelle Revis, ranked second in the NFL in pass defense. Bell was a huge part of that.
Idzik shouldn't offer Bell more than a one or two-year contract, but he must bring back the former Dolphin for next season and maintain some stability and veteran leadership on the defensive side of the ball.
Braylon Edwards just looks good in a Jet uniform.
The former-first round pick has had some of his best seasons in New York and was a critical part of the Jets' playoff success in Rex Ryan's first two years as head coach.
Edwards should be extremely cheap, as he is coming off an awful season, catching just half the passes thrown his way with one touchdown. He won't garner much interest in free agency.
The 29-year-old should be brought back on a downmarket one-year contract, perhaps even the veteran minimum.
Mark Sanchez is one of the highest earning quarterbacks in the NFL.
Matt Moore is one of the most reasonably priced signal-callers in the NFL.
Sanchez has a career 71.7 quarterback rating, 55.1 completion percentage, 3.6 touchdown percentage and 3.7 interception percentage.
Moore, on the other hand, has a career 80.5 quarterback rating, 59.1 completion percentage, 4.4 touchdown percentage and 3.4 interception percentage.
Sanchez lacks the accuracy and precision to be successful in the Jets new-look west coast offense. Moore, on the other hand, has a better chance to be succeed in such a system.
I'm not saying Matt Moore is the Jets' quarterback of the future, but the 28-year-old is a much better stopgap starting option than Sanchez.
New York should draft a quarterback in the second or third round, perhaps Tyler Bray, and groom him behind Moore for a couple seasons.
Moore has decent mechanics and a solid leadership quality and he is one of the most cost-effective quarterbacks on the market this offseason.
Chris Ivory is stuck in a crowded backfield in New Orleans, and he is due to hit free agency this offseason.
New York should pursue Ivory instead of Shonn Greene, as the Saints' runner brings a lot more to the table than Greene does.
Ivory has been phenomenal in limited playing time over his career. He has averaged a terrific 5.1 yards per carry in his first three seasons in the league is only 24.
The Tiffin University alum could break out and emerge as a solid feature back sharing carries with Bilal Powell behind the Jets' offensive line. His lack of experience and playing time will make him affordable in free agency.
Dustin Keller will likely be too expensive for the Jets to bring back, so the Jets will have a huge hole to fill at tight end this offseason.
Delanie Walker would be a terrific, cost-efficient replacement, as he could emerge as a dangerous threat in New York's new-look west coast offense.
Walker has been overshadowed by Vernon Davis during his tenure in San Francisco, but he has the ability to be a stud if he receives more targets.
The 28-year-old has great speed (4.49 40-time) and he is a solid blocker at the line.
Walker and Jeff Cumberland could form a nice tight end tandem for the Jets, and make the loss of Dustin Keller sting a lot less.
Brandon Moore is one of the most underrated players in football, but the Jets simply can't afford to bring back the 33-year-old guard.
Slauson, on the other hand, would be much more affordable.
Slauson has greatly improved his play in recent years and the 26-year-old is a solid starter on New York's offensive line.
The Nebraska product is also highly dependable, as he has started all 16 games for the last three years for New York.
Slauson deserves a multi-year deal, and he could offer stability at the guard position for years to come.
Devery Henderson has been lost in the shuffle in the explosive New Orleans passing attack, but he could offer New York a terrific deep threat in 2013 and beyond.
Henderson has lightning speed (4.36 40-time) and the ability to explode past defenders on any given play, with at least one 50-plus yard catch every year until last season.
The LSU product is a terrific fit for a west-coast style of offense, and he will be extremely affordable in free agency this offseason.
New York should sign the 30-year-old to a cap-friendly, multi-year deal, as he would bring a tremendous amount of explosiveness to the Jets' offense.