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2011 Jets Free Agent Priorities

Coming off the heels of yet another season ending in defeat in the AFC Championship Game, the Jets are facing a crucial offseason. Who they decide to keep/let go will go a long way in determining the future makeup of this team. As we have seen many times in the past, Mike Tannenbaum always has a plan and loves to be aggressive and creative. I’m sure he’s already got something planned up his sleeve. All we can do now is wait for free agency. You know, if there even is free agency this year.

With that said, I’m going to play Mike T for a little while and lay out my priorities for the Jets current crop of free agents.

1. David Harris- Harris is easily the Jets top priority this offseason and Mike Tannenbaum seems to have realized that as reports have stated that the Jets plan to use the franchise tag on Harris. He is the glue that holds the Jets 3-4 defense together. He has led the team in tackles the past two seasons and calls the plays in the defensive huddle. When he missed five games in 2008, the defense was noticeably different. Plus, he’s a homegrown talent and the only member of the “Core Four” (Revis, Mangold, Ferguson) not to have yet receive an extension. Tannaenabum would get hammered if he let Harris walk over resigning a player they traded for.

2. Antonio Cromartie- Say what you want about the guy’s off the field behavior, you can’t deny the guy is a great football player. He’s inconsistent at times, but when he’s on he can dominate. He and Revis make up arguably the league’s best cornerback tandem and you don’t want to break that up. Look at the two teams that played in the Super Bowl this year, they both had elite secondaries. Also you can’t discount the fact that the Jets gave up a second round pick for Cro. Letting him walk after one year would be quite a costly one-year rental.

3a. Santonio Holmes- Holmes is a unique and special talent. He’s the best receiver the Jets have had since Keyshawn Johnson was wearing green and white. His ability to make a big play at the biggest moment is uncanny. You can count 4 games this year where he made a pivotal play, against the Broncos, Lions, Browns and Texans. Oh yeah, and he only played 12 games. If he wasn’t one drug test away from a one year suspension, he would be higher on this list.

3b. Braylon Edwards- Braylon had a solid year. He minimized his drops, made big plays the down the field, and did a great job blocking in the run game. I don’t want to take anything away from him, but he simply isn’t as valuable as Santonio and frankly, I don’t even think it’s a question. In a perfect world, the Jets would retain both Holmes and Edwards, but being realistic it just doesn’t seem possible at the moment. The love has been pouring in on Braylon recently, but it was only a few months ago when no one even wanted him back. That’s what a DUI and criticizing your quarterback will get you. Now, it appears Braylon has his act together, but he just isn’t as valuable as Santonio is to the Jets.

4. Shaun Ellis- Ellis might have to take a home town discount to return, but the Jets would be silly not to retain the current longest tenured Jet. All Ellis has doe his whole career has been produce, no matter who the coach is or what the scheme is. Even at the tender age of 33, Ellis is still getting it done just ask Tom Brady.The Jets need to get younger at the position, but he has another year or two left in the tank.

5. Brad Smith- Brad is good player, but the Jets can’t break the bank for him. I can see it right now, some team intrigued with Smith’s talent and skill set vastly overpaying for him. That’s no to say he isn’t valuable, but as you can see, the Jets have a lot of free agents and can’t afford to spend on a player who isn’t playing every down. Smith has teased the Jets with talent for years, but still hasn’t put it all together. We have seen his ceiling as a player and it’s a gadget player. When he missed time this postseason, Antonio Cromartie looked great on kickoff returns and Mike Wethoff has a knack of producing great kickoff returners.

So what do you think? What’s you order? Have Holmes-Edwards switched? Cromartie lower? Smith higher? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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