5 Players the New York Jets Shouldn't Bring Back Next Season

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IDecember 18, 2013

5 Players the New York Jets Shouldn't Bring Back Next Season

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    Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

    At 6-8 and mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, the New York Jets can officially begin looking toward 2014. 

    John Idzik and New York's front office will have many big decisions to make this offseason, including the future of Rex Ryan and Geno Smith, as well as how to handle free agency. 

    Some of Idzik and Co.'s biggest decisions will come in the form of which players to keep and which players to let go this offseason.

    Here are five players the Jets shouldn't bring back next season. 

Santonio Holmes

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    Santonio Holmes has been a colossal disappointment since signing a five-year, $45 million dollar contract in the summer of 2011. 

    Holmes has recorded a lowly 89 catches, 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns in 29 games since signing the huge deal, as the former Super Bowl MVP has struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness. 

    Although New York is incredibly weak at wide receiver, releasing Holmes would save a staggering $8.25 million dollars against the cap this offseason. 

    The $8.25 million dollars of saved money could be used to sign a younger, more dangerous offensive weapon in free agency, such as Eric Decker or Hakeem Nicks

Mark Sanchez

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    Mark Sanchez has gone from a New York darling to a benchwarmer in the span of three years. And come the end of the season, he will almost assuredly be unemployed. 

    Sanchez's season-ending shoulder injury in the preseason was a huge blow to his career, but the former USC star has been earning over $515,000 a game this season. 

    The contract extension Sanchez signed in 2012 has hamstrung the Jets' cap room, but they will finally be able to cut strings with the former first-round pick this offseason.

    Gang Green will save $8.3 million dollars in cap space if they release Sanchez before the 2014 season. 

    As with the $8.25 million dollars saved by releasing Santonio Holmes, the money retained by cutting Sanchez could be used to bring in some capable offensive weapon for Geno Smith. 

Antonio Cromartie

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    Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez aren't likely to be the only big-name players to be cut this offseason, as Antonio Cromartie will almost assuredly be looking for another team in a couple months. 

    Cromartie has regressed considerably after performing at a Pro Bowl-level last season. The former Charger has allowed big play after big play to opposing wide receivers this year, and he is the main reason why New York's pass defense has dropped from second in the league a year ago to 26th in 2013. 

    Although the Jets are shaky at cornerback with first-round rookie Dee Milliner struggling, the upside of releasing Cromartie is too high to resist. 

    Cutting Cromartie would save New York an astounding $9.5 million dollars in cap space in 2014, and it would allow New York to bring in a younger, more effective player at the cornerback position. 

Calvin Pace

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    Calvin Pace has had a career resurgence in 2013 after re-signing with the Jets on a one-year-deal last offseason. 

    Pace has recorded a career-high nine sacks in 14 games, along with 50 tackles, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles. 

    Pace's career year should result in a decent contract for the 33-year-old, but this deal shouldn't come from New York. 

    The former Wake Forest star is largely a product of New York's system. With a dominant defensive line demanding the opposing offensive line's attention, Pace is often able to sneak into the backfield without being blocked. Therefore, Pace's sack numbers are somewhat inflated. 

    Re-signing Pace would also go against John Idzik's rebuilding philosophy. Pace is entering his mid-30s, and his skill set is diminishing.

    The money spent on bringing back Pace would be better used signing a younger, faster pass-rusher with a higher ceiling. 

Ed Reed

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    Ed Reed is one of the greatest safeties the NFL has ever seen. 

    However, nearly every part of Reed's game has declined significantly in recent years due to his age. 

    At 35, the former perennial Pro Bowler is now a liability in coverage, and he doesn't make enough big plays to make up for his struggles.

    Since New York acquired Reed in mid-November, the Jets' pass defense has actually gone from bad to worse.

    In five games with Reed, the Jets are allowing an awful 271.4 passing yards per game. Those five games were against EJ Manuel, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, Matt McGloin and Cam Newtonnot exactly the greatest lineup of signal-callers. 

    Reed is now just a subpar player who is a waste of a roster spot and cap space. New York should let the future Hall of Famer walk this offseason.