This is Part 8 in a nine-part analysis of the Jets -- a position-by-position breakdown as we head toward the scouting combine and free agency:
2012 depth chart: Antonio Cromartie (starter), Kyle Wilson (starter), LaRon Landry (starter), Yeremiah Bell (starter), Ellis Lankster, Eric Smith, Antonio Allen, Josh Bush, Aaron Berry, Darrin Walls, Donnie Fletcher, Darrelle Revis (injured/starter), Isaiah Trufant (injured).
Overview: The Jets finished No. 2 in pass defense, but that rank is deceiving because they weren't tested that often. Only 494 passes were attempted against the Jets, the third-lowest total in the league. Their opponents didn't have to play a lot of catch-up, so there was no reason to air it out. That said, the Jets' secondary still was solid across the board, highlighted by the performances of Cromartie and Landry. It would've been a special group if Revis had remained healthy, but Rex Ryan & Co. were forced to change on the fly when Revis went down in Week 3. Overall, this was the best unit on the team, although it came up short in the big-play categories.
Free agents: Landry, Bell.
2013 personnel preview: In a perfect world, Revis would return healthy and they'd re-sign Landry and Bell, forming one of the best defensive backfields in the league. But that won't happen because of the economic realities of the sport. Concerned about their ability to re-sign Revis, the Jets might trade their best player -- a controversial move that would be debated for years. They probably will lose Landry, who is believed to be seeking at least $6 million a year. They'd have to rebuild around Cromartie and Wilson, which won't sit well with an impatient fan base. Allen and Bush aren't ready to take over at safety, so they might have to retain Smith ($3 million cap charge) and keep Bell on the backburner unless a better option comes along.
Salary-cap situation: The Jets need to make a decision soon on Revis. He's due a $1 million roster bonus in mid-March, and Cromartie is scheduled for a $2.3 million roster bonus a few days earlier. It's the first of three $1 million bonuses for Revis, who will make a total of $6 million in 2013 -- $3.5 million less than Cromartie. And you can bet that isn't sitting well with the Revis camp.