Releasing cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receiver Santonio Holmes gave the New York Jets a salary-cap war chest of almost $40 million. These are the team's gains and losses as the 10th day of free agency begins.
- Re-signings and extensions: Cornerbacks Ellis Lankster and Darrin Walls, guard Willie Colon, kicker Nick Folk, outside linebacker Calvin Pace, tight end Jeff Cumberland and defensive end Leger Douzable
- New talent: Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini and wide receiver Eric Decker
- Offensive tackle Austin Howard
- Cornerback Isaiah Trufant
Despite the perceptions of impatient fans, the Jets have gained more than they've lost.
- They replaced Howard with Giacomini, which keeps the right tackle position in the hands of an established veteran. They added Eric Decker, a two-time 1,000-yard wide receiver.
- They retained the services of key backup and special teams personnel, including kicker Folk. Folk even got a multi-year contract after receiving the franchise tag.
- They re-signed starting outside linebacker Pace for two years at $5 million and starting guard Willie Colon for one year at $2 million.
- They still have plenty of cap room. OverTheCap.com conservatively estimates around $27.8 million. That figure incorporates money that doesn't count against the cap during this part of the year.
Here's the problem. These gains amount to treading water. Only the Decker signing represents a possible improvement. The others leave the Jets as they were in 2013.
That's what frustrates the fans. They see the players that got away who might have improved the team. Here are some examples:
- Cornerbacks: Vontae Davis, Captain Munnerlyn, Darrelle Revis, Aqib Talib and Alterraun Verner
- Guards: Geoff Schwartz, Rodger Saffold and Jon Asamoah
- Quarterbacks: Matt Cassel and Josh McCown
- Safeties: Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward
- Tight ends: Brandon Pettigrew, Dennis Pitta and Scott Chandler
- Wide receivers: Hakeem Nicks and Golden Tate
These aren't all necessarily good fits for the Jets. They just represent a collection of prominent players that Jets fans have watched go elsewhere during the first few days of free agency.
It's beginning to look like the Jets are bypassing free agency in favor of the draft.
Don't think the Jets haven't tried. The amount of attention they've given a position is part of this list's ranking criteria. Here they are:
- Effort: It doesn't look like the Jets have investigated filling some needs through free agency. If no media reports indicate they've looked into filling a position, that makes it more of a need they have "yet to address."
- Result: Effort is commendable; results are essential. The Jets have addressed a few needs through their activity thus far. However, if a need is on this list they need more help than they've obtained.
- Severity: Contributing factors include 2013 performance and available personnel after accounting for free agency and salary-cap cuts.
Before we discuss the Jets' unfinished business, we'll acknowledge the needs they've filled.
NFL free-agent information, draft grades and combine scores via NFL.com