Over the next few weeks we will be looking at each position on the New York Jets roster and seeking your input on who you think should stay and who you think should go. Up next, the Jets' offensive linemen.
Overview: In short, the Jets line is in trouble and the front office needs to find ways to get the group substantially younger and better this offseason. Center Nick Mangold is still the crown jewel of the group and D'Brickashaw Ferguson is a passable left tackle, but the rest of the group you could easily do better. For the Jets the problem will be navigating the salary cap with cap clogging contracts in the offing for Muhammad Wilkerson and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The most efficient course would be to use some early draft picks to draft talented linemen as it would save them in free agency. If there is one good thing, it is that the John Idzik and then Mike Maccagnan regimes have used numerous late-round draft picks on offensive linemen. This is the time for them to either make a contribution or they could be out the door.
Expected to Return (10)
C Nick Mangold, age 32
G James Carpenter, age 26
G Brian Winters, age 24
OL Dakota Dozier, age 24
OL Jarvis Harrison, age 24
OL Wesley Johnson, age 25
T D'Brickashaw Ferguson, age 32
T Brent Qvale, age 24
T Sean Hickey, age 24 (futures contract)
T Jesse Davis, age 24 (futures contract)
OL Lawrence Okoye, age 24 (futures contract)
G Craig Watts, age 24 (futures contract)
For as many players the Jets have securely under contract, there's not many that stand out as legitimate starters beyond Mangold, Ferguson and Carpenter. Of those three, Ferguson and Carpenter are legitimately upgradeable. The Jets currently have three recent draft picks (Winters, Dozier and Harrison) from the last few seasons who might vie for larger roles in 2016, but none has propelled themselves forward as distinguished players. Winters has seen the most time of the group but has struggled to establish himself as a long-term solution. Wes Johnson started a game for the Jets in 2015 and played passably, but is the Steelers' castoff a 16-game starter for the Jets? And now there's word that the Jets might see Qvale as an option for the team in an expanded role … maybe replacing Breno Giacomini?
On the bubble (3)
RT Breno Giacomini, age 30 (potential cap cut, $4.3 million savings)
LT Ben Ijalana, age 26 (pending free agent)
RG Willie Colon, age 32 (pending free agent)
Reaction: Giacomini seems a likely cap casualty for the Jets; his play is not matching his pay. If Ijalana and Colon want to return as backups, then there might be space for the Jets to sign them to modest deals.