- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC East blog continues its series this week on ranking team needs.
Next we have the inconsistent New York Jets, who finished 6-10 this season.
No. 1 need: Quarterback
Analysis: It's no secret the Jets are hamstrung at quarterback. New York must get very creative to solve its quarterback puzzle. The dilemma is the struggling Mark Sanchez is due $8.25 million in guaranteed money next season. The Jets will pay it whether Sanchez plays or not. Cutting Sanchez would be even worse because of the approximate $17 million cap hit. So Sanchez will be in consideration for a starting job with whoever else the Jets can afford at quarterback under a tight cap. Do not expect New York to go after a top free agent, because the team simply doesn’t have the money for it. A rookie draft pick competing with Sanchez could be a possibility.
No. 2 need: Wide receivers
Analysis: Who will catch passes from New York's quarterback next season? No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes is returning from a season-ending foot injury. If Holmes returns back to form, that will be a good boost for the Jets. But who else can play receiver? Clyde Gates, Chaz Schilens and rookie Stephen Hill were all busts last year. That is why the Jets signed Braylon Edwards in the final month of the season. Hill has potential to make a jump in his second year, but that remains to be seen. The Jets need a more proven receiver opposite Holmes, and this is a good year to get a receiver in free agency.
No. 3 need: Safeties
Analysis: Both of the Jets' starting safeties are pending free agents who are not expected to return. New York veterans Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry both played well on one-year contracts. However, the Jets probably do not have the cap room to re-sign either player to a long-term extension. The Jets need to get younger and more athletic at safety. Expect this to be a focal point in the draft, where it is cheaper to improve the roster. New York would like Landry back, but he’s probably too expensive coming off a Pro Bowl season.
Honorable mentions: offensive line, tight end, linebacker