For anyone who routinely reads Jason's Jets cap site, (and now OTC) this has been the handwriting has been on the wall since the end of the 2011 season. The Jets had a short window to jettison Santonio with a not-so-bad cap hit after the 2011 season, but when the Jets kept him on after 2011, the next sensible exit from a sensible cap perspective was always 2014. In the interim, nothing has happened that has convinced reporters that the Jets would be willing to swallow that $10.7 million cap number with a $8.2 million savings should the team cut him. While Santonio re-did his deal, the Jets were going to eat a bunch of money had they cut him, so they decided to try and get production out of the sunk cost of the 2013 season.
As the Jets approach 2013, they will likely be able to get some production from Santonio but his recovery will dictate that. While there might be viable free agent options that the team could look into in 2014, we fully expect the Jets to try and target a pass-catcher at some point during the draft this weekend. Someone is going to need to replace Holmes on the depth chart, but it is not as if his production can't be outsourced.
Outsourced? After signing Mike Goodson, a promising open-field option out of the backfield, the Jets are reportedly serious about adding a tight end in the draft and the expectation is the would move away from the Dustin Keller type. In-line tight ends are an easy target for West Coast quarterbacks as they are right there in the middle of the field already and in a system that values a quick trigger, that's a good thing. They are also valuable in blocking the run or pass without tipping the team's intent.