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 inside linebackers.
Overview: This is a unit where a partial reboot is likely coming this offseason. David Harris should remain thanks to decent play in 2015 and a contract which doesn't lend itself to cutting Harris. Meanwhile, Demario Davis' 865 snaps in 2015 (sixth most for the Jets defense) could be walking out the door since it appears the Jets current coaching staff and front office aren't as impressed with his play as Rex Ryan was. Behind Harris and Davis, there's no obvious player waiting to step into a larger role … or is there?
Expected to Return (3)
David Harris, age 32
Taiwan Jones, age 22
Julian Stanford, age 25
Reaction: If ever there was a year to find interior linebacker talent on the cheap through free agency and/or via the NFL Draft, then this is the year to do it. Harris played passably in 2015 and there's no lock on the roster or heading into free agency that represents a starting Jets interior linebacker for the next three-to-five years. Jones has that old-school thumper vibe and is best used against the run. Stanford has seen time over three seasons in the NFL almost strictly on special teams. I fully expect the Jets to use a draft pick early on the third day of the NFL Draft to find an interior linebacker who can play in coverage.
On the bubble (3)
Demario Davis, age 27 (pending free agent)
Erin Henderson, age 29 (pening free agent)
Jamari Lattimore, age 27 (pending free agent)
Reaction: Davis is the most recognizable name of the group to Jets fans, but he might not be the player who is asked to return. Davis graded out poorly through Week 11 and saw his snaps dwindle into the teens on a per-game basis at the end of the season. The expectation is that Davis might see a healthy deal in free agency from another team, but would the Jets be willing to match a deal for Davis when they already have more pressing defensive contracts with which to attend? The Jets will look to the draft for long-term help, but that will not be the team's only solution. While Davis's snaps were reduced in December it was Henderson who saw his time on the field increased and he played well enough during December to likely earn himself another contract with the Jets, one which is reportedly already under negotiation.