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Jets absorb a couple of hits in free agency, but it's no time to panic

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Jets playing hardball with Fitzpatrick (1:37)

The Jets had a win (Matt Forte) and a loss (Damon Harrison) on the first day of the league year, but their offseason hinges on whether they can re-sign Fitzpatrick, who could draw interest from the QB-needy Broncos. (1:37)

Their leading rusher: Gone.

Their top run-stuffing defensive lineman: Gone.

Make no mistake, the New York Jets have suffered a couple of big hits in free agency, losing Chris Ivory and Damon Harrison, but there's no reason to start questioning general manager Mike Maccagnan. You can't build a championship football team by overspending for a 28-year-old running back or a defensive lineman who doesn't play on third down, which is exactly what the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants did by signing Ivory and Harrison, respectively.

The Jets will miss both players, especially Harrison, but this isn't 2015 anymore. Their cap space is almost dried up, and most of the league is spending wildly for less-than-elite talent. The Jets are caught in a tough spot. It's frustrating for the fan base, but the best teams (usually) are the ones that behave conservatively in the free-agent market.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was so fired up for the start of free agency that he attended the Alabama pro day. Denver Broncos vice president John Elway told Brock Osweiler, his handpicked successor to Peyton Manning, to take a hike because he wanted too much money. Rather than throwing crazy money at players who don't deserve it, these two organizations are being patient. There's a time to spend (see: Denver, 2014) and a time to chill.

The Jets replaced Ivory by agreeing to a deal with Matt Forte, 30, who is two years older than Ivory but more cost-effective. (Contract details aren't available yet, but it has to be less than the $12.75 million Ivory will receive over his first two years in Jacksonville.) There are still some moving parts at running back, but the Forte addition suggests they might transition to a backfield by committee, comprised of multipurpose threats. If they can re-sign Bilal Powell, they'd have two runners with pass-catching abilities. It'll open up the playbook for coordinator Chan Gailey.

Don't judge a GM on the first 24 hours of free agency. Let it play out.

Clearly, Maccagnan's No. 1 priority is resolving the Ryan Fitzpatrick situation. If he loses his quarterback, he'd better have a rock-solid Plan B. They need a nose tackle to replace Harrison. Akiem Hicks is on their radar, but there are other options, including a deep draft pool. You hate to lose good players, but sometimes you have to take the next-man-up philosophy, believing in your coaching staff.

For Maccagnan, the key will be bargain-shopping to address needs and drafting well. Championships aren't won in March. If they were, the Jets would have more rings than Tom Brady.