After tying the bow on a surprising 8-8 season, the New York Jets head toward the offseason on an uncharacteristic high note.
Jets owner Woody Johnson has already announced that head coach Rex Ryan will return for his sixth season at the helm, allowing general manager John Idzik to transition into phase two of his rebuilding plan.
The Jets have several key needs this offseason, most notably at wide receiver and safety. New York also needs to add an exterior pass-rusher and tight end. Idzik figures to address a majority of the Jets' pressing needs in the draft, although New York will likely be active in free agency because of sizable space.
The Jets' front office brass will make a handful of personnel decisions based on its salary cap situation this offseason. The most obvious early-cut candidate is former starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is expected to be released before earning his workout bonus in March.
Cutting Sanchez would save the Jets an estimated $8.3 million, enabling the team to be a tad more aggressive in free-agent negotiations. According to NYJetsCap.com, the Jets are roughly $25 million below the projected 2014 salary cap heading into the offseason.
A favorable cap situation will influence which players the Jets opt to cut ties with this offseason. For some players, the writing is already on the wall.
The following slideshow examines five players other than Sanchez who the Jets shouldn't bring back this offseason.