9 Players the New York Jets Must Replace Soon

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIINovember 29, 2013

9 Players the New York Jets Must Replace Soon

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    No matter how the final five weeks of this season play out for the New York Jets, more changes are on the horizon for a roster that is still in its developmental stages.

    With new front office management, Jets general manager Josh Idzik will want to shape his roster with the exact players he chooses, taking away job security from even the most entrenched veterans on the team.

    The Jets have several players who are one-year rentals, but they need to start making decisions on some other long-tenured players who are entering the twilight of their careers. Leaving bad contracts around on a team that is trying to rebuild is a surefire way to stunt growth. 

    Here are some players who the Jets will need to move on from in the near future. 

    Contract information provided by Spotrac.com. 

    Advanced statistics provided by ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required).

Mark Sanchez

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    2014 Cap Number: $13.1 million

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: Three months

    Mark Sanchez's time with the Jets has been coming to an anticlimactic end for quite some time. Even if Geno Smith does not prove himself to be their long-term starter, the Jets are not interested in keeping an average player on the roster who is making high-end starter money.

    Sanchez may have told reporters that he wanted to stay with the Jets into 2014, but even he knows that his time in New York will come to an end. 

    At this point in his career, Sanchez brings some value as a high-end backup who can possibly compete with a rookie for a starting job, but such a competition will not come in New York. 

    Having Sanchez on the Jets as a backup would not be the worst-case scenario, but certainly not having him ride the bench with such a bloated salary. Releasing Sanchez next season will open up a ton of cap room for the Jets, allowing them to make serious moves in free agency. 

Dawan Landry

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    Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Cap Number: $1.825 million

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: One year

    Given his relatively cheap price tag, Dawan Landry has been a solid signing for the Jets this season, holding down the strong safety spot without too many lapses in his play. 

    Still, as reliable as Landry is, the Jets are looking to be much more dynamic at the position. At 30 years old, Landry's performance will only decline from this point on. While he has not been a liability this season, he is exactly the type of player who teams will always be looking to move on from in search of a more dominant force at the position.

    With the emergence of Antonio Allen, who fits in much better at strong safety than at his listed free safety position, the Jets have less use for Landry going into next season.

    He may stick around for one more year to finish out his contract and give the Jets some security at the position, but he is not in their long-term plans.

Ed Reed

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    2014 Cap Number: Free Agent

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: Three months

    The next month of games will determine whether or not bringing in Ed Reed was a sound decision, but he will not be with the Jets next season, no matter how things turn out.

    At age 35, Reed can recognize plays better than anyone in the game, but his legs are not nearly as fast as his mind. He is a liability in coverage and is not the same big hitter as he used to be. 

    Adding Reed in the middle of the season was a questionable decision in the first place. Keeping him in the Jets' plans beyond this season would simply be foolish.

Antonio Cromartie

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    Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Cap Number: $14.98 million

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: Three months

    The decline of Antonio Cromartie has been puzzling, to say the least. Just a year removed from being recognized as one of the best cornerbacks in the game, Cromartie has become a shell of himself. 

    According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Cromartie is the 99th-best cornerback in the NFL, allowing a staggering average of 21.5 yards per reception. Cromartie and rookie Dee Milliner account for one of the worst cornerback duos in the NFL. 

    Cromartie's struggles earlier this season could have been traced to a hip injury that sidelined him for a portion of training camp, but there is no guarantee that he will ever return to being a quality cover man at age 29—and he turns 30 in April.

    Also working against Cromartie is his incredibly high cap number for next season. If the Jets were not willing to play Darrelle Revis $15 million, when he is healthy and in his prime, they sure are not willing to pay a declining player like Cromartie anything near that kind of money coming off such a poor season.

Nick Mangold

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Cap Number: $10.75 million

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: Two to three years

    One of the most likable players on the Jets, Nick Mangold has also been one of the most consistent players on the team ever since he was drafted in 2006—until this year.

    The Jets offensive line has taken a considerable step back this year, and Mangold is not absolved from being a part of it. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranks Mangold as the 31st-best center in the NFL.

    Mangold's struggles have been a result of his run-blocking, which PFF ranks as the worst among all NFL centers through 11 games. 

    The Jets will not be parting ways with Mangold simply because of one "down" season in his run-blocking. Mangold is still a cerebral player who is excellent at setting protections, taking a load off a young quarterback's shoulders. 

    However, the dip in his play should at least signal to the Jets that his best days may be behind him and that developing a potential replacement should be added to their checklist.

David Nelson

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    2014 Cap Number: Free Agent

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: One year

    Signed in the middle of this season, David Nelson has shown just enough for the Jets to at least bring him back to training camp next season for a shot to keep his job, but he still has been a part of one of the worst wide receiver corps in the NFL. 

    Nelson's best attribute is his ability to make tough, contested catches, which he has done several times this season in clutch situations. 

    However, along with several other Jets receivers, Nelson struggles to gain separation on a consistent basis.

    Nelson has at least shown that he can provide valuable depth as a fourth receiver who can be effective in red-zone situations, but he has also not played well enough to demand an extension. 

Vladimir Ducasse

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    2014 Cap Number: Free Agent

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: Three months

    This season was going to be Vladimir Ducasse's chance to finally earn the starting guard position. For a moment, it was finally starting to look like the former second-round pick was turning the corner, as Ducasse was the Week 1 starter. 

    However, inconsistencies in pass protection landed him back on the bench just four weeks into the season. The Jets were willing to start rookie Brian Winters over Ducasse, which all but signaled the end of his tenure as a Jet. 

    Blessed with a lot of athletic ability, Ducasse will likely find a land a landing spot this offseason in free agency, but the Jets appear to be all but done with this disappointing draft pick from their disastrous 2010 draft.

Calvin Pace

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    2014 Cap Number: Free Agent

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: Three months

    Calvin Pace has somehow manage to stumble into seven sacks this year (second-highest on the team), but the Jets need to find a younger, more dynamic player at the outside linebacker position.

    Most of Pace's sacks have resulted from coverage sacks or from him simply being in the right place at the right time, as opposed to Pace delivering a formidable rush off the edge. The Jets are lacking a speed rush from the outside and Pace is a big reason why.

    To his credit, Pace has played much better this season after a rather dismal 2012, when Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked him as the worst defender on the Jets. 

    Pace is still a sound run defender who can set the edge well, but bringing back Pace this year was always intended to be a band-aid to get through the season. 

Santonio Holmes

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    2014 Cap Number: $10.75 million

    Estimated Time Remaining With Jets: Three months

    The Jets need as much help at the receiver position as they can get, but it won't come from Santonio Holmes. 

    Holmes is an excellent player when he is healthy, but he has not been able to be available and produce as consistently as a No. 1 receiver should. Holmes is also a strange character that was reported to have been a locker room cancer in 2011.

    While Holmes has not been referred to as such a bad teammate since then, he has always been a difficult man to read and his motives for his actions are questionable. There were rumblings that he was milking an injury to avoid the rigors of training camp. 

    With such a large cap number for next season, the Jets are better off cutting their ties now and rebuilding their receiving corps from scratch.