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NFL New York Jets

5 New York Jets Who Should Be Released Before Free Agency

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5 New York Jets Who Should Be Released Before Free Agency

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At this point in the offseason every NFL team is evaluating its own roster and determining what their strengths and weaknesses are. As part of that, they are looking to see which of their own free agents they should sign, which they should let go, and which, if any, players on their roster need to be released.

For the New York Jets, there are several names that are going to come up in conversations regarding who should be released. Like any team, the Jets are doing a simple cost-benefit analysis to determine if the player’s production is worth is salary. For several veterans on the Jets, it is likely the Jets are going to find that their performance simply doesn’t justify the cap space they take up.

Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie are the three players who have been most commonly discussed as potential candidates to be released, but they are not the only ones under consideration. The Jets are in very good shape financially and they have a young roster, but there is certainly still some house cleaning that can be done.

This list doesn’t include players whose contracts have already expired, so players like Kellen Winslow and Ed Reed will not appear here. Obviously the Jets shouldn’t even remotely consider re-signing those players, as well as a few other free agents. These five players are still under contract with team, but there is a very good chance that will change soon. They are simply not worth the money they make, and the Jets need to release these players in the near future.

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5. Mike Goodson

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Mike Goodson was the Jets’ biggest free agent acquisition last year, but it hasn’t worked out. He was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy, and then he only appeared in two games before tearing his ACL. Goodson showed a few flashes while on the field, but not enough to keep him around.

This is as much about off the field issues as on the field ones. Goodson is still facing criminal charges from the drug and weapons arrest that led to his suspension, and he could end up going to prison. The Jets are trying to rebuild their image and they don’t need players like him in their locker room, especially for $4.7 million over the next two years. The Jets need a third down back, but it shouldn’t be Goodson.

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4. Stephen Hill

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Stephen Hill was the Jets’ second round pick in 2012, but he has been an absolute disaster. Hill has missed 9 games over his two seasons, and he has only recorded 45 receptions for 594 yards and 4 TDs in the 23 games he has played in. That is awful production from a second round pick and a starting receiver.

Rex Ryan has an irrational belief in Hill, at least publically, and that might prevent the Jets from giving up on him after just two seasons. No team wants to admit a bust, but the truth is that Hill still struggles with basic receiver skills like running decent routes and catching the ball. He is a waste of a roster spot and takes away playing time from players who might actually develop. It’s hard to admit for the Jets, but it’s time to move on.

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3. Antonio Cromartie

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Don’t let his appearance in the Pro Bowl fool you. By his own admission, Cromartie had the worst season of his career this year. He played with various injuries for much of the season, and he simply didn’t have the speed or cutting ability to cover any decent receiver. Cromartie turns 30 in April, has chronic hip problems, and is a $15 million cap hit if he’s on the roster compared to just a $5.5 million charge if he’s not. Sounds like a pretty easy decision for John Idzik.

There has been a lot of talk about the Jets releasing Cromartie and then re-signing him at a lower price, which I believe would be a mistake. Hip problems are crippling to a cornerback, and at 30 there’s not a lot of reason to believe Cromartie is going to improve. The Jets should invest their money in a younger option at the position.

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2. Mark Sanchez

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Well, this certainly isn’t how the Jets, Sanchez or the fans wanted things to end. The 5th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Sanchez was supposed to be the Jets’ long awaited franchise savior. Unfortunately, he regressed badly in 2012 and missed all of 2013 with a shoulder injury. The Jets are committed to Geno Smith, and Sanchez is just too expensive to be a backup.

The Jets can save over $8 million against the cap by releasing Sanchez this offseason, and they are fully expected to do so. Sanchez will catch on somewhere, and this in an unfortunate end to the Jets career of a popular player who the fans hoped would save the franchise. However, the time has come to move on, and it is an easy financial decision for the Jets.

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1. Santonio Holmes

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While some fans may be disappointed in how Sanchez’s Jets career is ending, no tears will be shed for Santonio Holmes. Holmes had a great start with the Jets in 2010, but he was the poster boy for their collapse and locker room feuding in 2011. Holmes then missed most of 2012 with injury and was completely unproductive this season.

The Jets save just over $10 million by releasing Holmes, who caught just 23 passes this season despite being paid $9 million. In addition to his terrible play on the field, Holmes is widely viewed as a locker room cancer and he is probably the least popular player among Jets fans. Releasing him is a no-brainer, and all the Jets and their fans have to say to Holmes is good riddance.

Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google