The New York Jets have a lot of work to do as we approach the 2013 NFL offseason. Rex Ryan has been given a mulligan after Mike Tannenbaum allegedly forced Tim Tebow on everyone else in the building last year. Tebow turned out to be a huge distraction for the team, but it wasn’t his fault that Mark Sanchez was terrible, or that the team’s best offensive weapons were dropping all season like flies.
Defensively, the Jets have some talent but they need to figure some things out. They need pass rush, and they will need a starter at cornerback if Darrelle Revis is traded, as it has been rumored.
Here are the Jets top offseason needs, in no particular order.
This is more of an opinion of mine more than something that the Jets will actually choose to address this offseason. They will trade or cut Tebow before too long, and Mark Sanchez’s contract is too big to trade away, and he’s probably not going to get cut outright with no good QBs likely to be available for the Jets’ first round selection. This will be an area of need likely for next season also, but I think Sanchez’s time is up as the starter in New York, or it should be.
2. Rush Linebacker
The Jets need some pass rush, and they need it badly. I like the look of their defensive line as a whole, but their rush linebacker situation is pitiful. They had just 31 sacks last season, led by defensive end Quinton Coples with 5.5. The Defensive line was able to put some pressure on QBs, but they need to be able to rush the QB off the edge with some speed at the OLB position. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace are both replaceable.
LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell are both free agents this offseason, and it’s unclear whether one or both will be retained. Landry actually had a really good season in my opinion, and I think the Jets would like to retain him if it’s financially sensible. Still, this is a position the Jets need to upgrade.
4. Wide Receiver
The Jets struggled all season at this position last year, especially when Santonio Holmes went down with an injury. Jeremy Kerley looks like a solid slot receiver option going forward, but the second most productive receiver on the team was Jeff Cumberland, a backup tight end. That’s got to be embarrassing for the Jets’ front office.
The Jets’ two starters at offensive guard are unrestricted free agents, and even if they are able to retain one or both, I think they need to add some young players who are capable of starting for this team. Vlad Ducasse has been unable to be a steady starter for this team after being selected in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. This could be a major area of need for the Jets.
6. Right Tackle
The Jets brought in Jason Smith last year in hopes of upgrading their RT position with a former first round bust, and it wasn’t a success. Austin Howard is a restricted free agent, and likely will be back, but the Jets could use an upgrade here as well. No starting spot is safe on this offense after it ranked 28th in scoring and 30th in yards.
7. Running Back
Shonn Greene is a free agent, and I’m not sure he won’t bolt for a better situation somewhere else. The Jets have Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, but RB is still going to be a need for this team.