The Jets started over last offseason and actually built themselves a nice core of talent. They have many young, inexpensive players they can build around this spring.
They certainly have the tools to build around them - perhaps as much as $100 million in cap room, the sixth overall pick in the draft, and some extra picks too. And that's good, because even though the Jets exceeded expectations last season, they were still 5-11, and have plenty of holes to fill.
Now, as they get ready to begin Phase 2 of their rebuilding project, here's a look at their biggest needs.
There is no question that filling this hole is GM Mike Maccagnan's primary job this offseason. The Jets' search for a franchise quarterback has gone on too long, and his rebuilding project will stall if he fails to bring in the right one (or doesn't land one at all). That's why they need to be prepared to offer Kirk Cousins five years, $150 million with maybe as much as $80-90 million guaranteed.
Beyond Cousins, the free-agent pickings are slim at this position. Players like Case Keenum and Sam Bradford are Band-Aids on a much larger wound. Trading for Nick Foles or signing A.J. McCarron would essentially be the same. The Jets do have the sixth pick in the draft, but it's possible three quarterbacks will already be gone by then. Do they believe in Baker Mayfield, and are they willing to wait to see if he drops to them? Or will they pay the price to move up for someone else?
Those are tough questions, which is why Cousins remains the easiest answer.
Their pass rush was an embarrassment last season, and now that Muhammad Wilkerson is on his way out the door (and Sheldon Richardson isn't coming back), they're really left with defensive end Leonard Williams and a bunch of role players. Williams needs help, whether it's at linebacker or defensive end - although defensive end would be preferable.
The Jets could be in play for DeMarcus Lawrence, assuming the Cowboys let him hit the open market. Ezekiel Ansah is another good option. There is a dropoff in the market after that, though, unless they get a bargain on Adrian Clayborn, who'll be 30 in July.
The better option might be the draft, since at No. 6, they could be in position to grab N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb or Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds.
If they're going to get a quarterback, they need to get him weapons, too. Just think of what Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were able to do for Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015.
Right now, the Jets' receiving corps is filled with decent players. Jermaine Kearse had a fine season, but he's not a No. 1 receiver. Neither is Quincy Enunwa, a restricted free agent who is rehabbing from an injured neck. And neither is Robby Anderson, a deep threat who likely will be suspended for the start of the season anyway.
You know who is a legit No. 1? Jarvis Landry, if he's not franchised. He's probably the crown jewel of the free agent class, and he's often drawn comparisons to his friend, Odell Beckham Jr. But there are many other outstanding options - Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, and even Terrelle Pryor. All of them would be upgrades.
They could also trade down, and take Alabama's Calvin Ridley in the draft.
The Jets reintroduced their offense to the tight end last season, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins responded with 50 catches, even though it's fair to say he was still underutilized. The Jets would like to re-sign him and pair him with Jordan Leggett (their fifth-round pick from a year ago), and that's good because he's probably one of the best tight ends on the market.
If not him, they could try for a fading Jimmy Graham, who is 31, but is still a reliable red-zone target. Tyler Eifert is younger (27) and talented, but he's yet to play a full season, and has been in only 10 games over the last two years. So ASJ remains the best bet, if the Jets can meet his price.
Buster Skrine could be a salary cap casualty, and Morris Claiborne is a free agent, which leaves the Jets' corner situation a bit of a mystery. If they keep those two, they can get by another year. If not, they need to replace them because Darryl Roberts and Juston Burris don't look ready for bigger roles.
The draft actually might be their best bet here because Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick is the best one available, and he's likely to still be there at six. Pair him with last year's rookie safeties -- Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye -- and the Jets have the makings of an outstanding young secondary.
They also might look into Malcolm Butler, who is probably the best corner in an otherwise shallow market. They better find out what he did to get benched in the Super Bowl first, though.
They have paid right guard Brian Winters to be the anchor of their line, and they likely will stick with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell as their tackles. The questions for them are mostly at center and right guard. Center Wes Johnson is a free agent, and right guard James Carpenter could be a salary cap casualty. Of course, the Jets could end up keeping both.
There is already some thought, though, that the Jets will try to sign Weston Richburg, the Giants' promising young center who missed most of last season with a concussion. They could try to out-bid the Giants for Carolina guard Andrew Norwell.
There is also Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, who should be available with the sixth pick in the draft, and might make sense depending on what happens in free agency.
But all that probably depends on whether they choose to keep Carpenter (likely with a pay cut} or re-sign Johnson before he goes free.