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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Top 5: Players on the hot seat

By Rich Cimini

Mark Sanchez, Antonio Cromartie and Stephen Hill
Mark Sanchez, Antonio Cromartie and Stephen Hill are among the top five Jets on the hot seat.
From now until training camp, we'll post a periodic top-five list for the Jets -- some serious, some not-so-serious.

No joking for our first installment: Our top five players on the hot seat in 2013:

1. Mark Sanchez -- This is a no-brainer. Coming off his worst season, the Sanchize, as he was once known, has reached a career crossroads. Assuming that he's on the team, Sanchez can either revitalize his once-promising career or get kicked to the curb in favor of rookie Geno Smith. If it's the latter, he almost certainly will be playing elsewhere next season.

2. Stephen Hill -- He gets a mulligan for last season because he was a rookie, unfairly thrust into a starting role even though he wasn't ready. The outcome was predictable: He was overwhelmed. The second-year wide receiver has the physical tools, and now it's time to show that the Jets didn't waste a second-round pick. His development is critical to the offense.

3. David Harris -- He's a solid linebacker, no doubt, but his play slipped last season. Suddenly, his salary-cap figure ($13 million) is looming very large. His roster spot isn't in jeopardy, as most of his 2013 salary is guaranteed, but Harris needs a bounce-back season if he wants to see the final year of the big contract he signed in 2011.

4. Antonio Cromartie -- With Darrelle Revis gone, Cromartie becomes the No. 1 cornerback. In the Jets' system, that comes with big responsibility. Rex Ryan already has said that Cromartie will be assigned to the opponents' top receiver. He handled it well last season after Revis was injured, but now teams will have had a full offseason to prepare for the new dynamic.

5. Chris Ivory -- Let's face it, the passing game won't scare too many people, so the Jets will need somebody dependable to carry the rock. The Jets thought enough of Ivory to trade a fourth-round pick and give him a three-year, $6 million contract. With Mike Goodson's status uncertain, Ivory could be the new Shonn Greene -- except with more big plays, they hope. He showed flashes in limited work with the Saints. The Jets are betting on his upside.