After an 8-8 season, the news that they will be retaining their head coach and some solid play from what might be the young core of the Jets in December, here's six questions that are on our mind as the team enters the 2014 offseason.  Full disclosure: Kim Martin of Newsday already did a fantastic version of this last night that inspired us to write a similar post.  Go read her's first.  Flattery is the sincerest form of imitation ... or something like that.

Will the Jets be better a year from now than they are today?

There is no reason for them to not be.

Going into the last quarter of the season, Sheldson Richardson was the exception to the rule of the Jets five rookie starters. Then something happened. Geno Smith loosened up, his in-game decisions and familiarity with the receivers over the last four games paid huge dividends to this team's weekly competitiveness. Dee Milliner's best games were his last, while his play improved since late November, he capped his last two games with three picks and 10 passes defensed. And Brian Winters?  He was thrown into the fire and only looked singed yesterday, getting his first "green" grade from Pro Football Focus in his last game of the season.

Beyond that? The offensive line will be better with more continuity between seasons. The team's best unit (including Coples) average age today is 24.6. That's hella young. The Jets will also have upwards of 12 draft picks, four of which will come in the top 80 (assuming Revis is kept in Tampa Bay) in what looks to be a much richer skill position draft than we saw in 2013.

One thing we do need to be explicit about is the cap space. In the last two days, we've seen writers and analysts throwing around $48 million in cap space waaay too loosely -- there's contingencies to that figure. The Jets will only have that high a cap space value if they cut Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes AND (here's the kicker) Antonio Cromartie. Of that cap space, they then will need to reward their own. Since Mo Wilkerson falls under the new CBA rules, the team's best player deserves a new contract this offseason to cut off contract ugliness later on. There's also players like Austin Howard who should get new deals. So, a high water mark of $48 million will quickly come down to around $35 million and the team will still be rid of Antonio Cromartie. If Cro is willing to take a paycut any sort of renegotiation with Cro will could further tamp down that number.

Regardless, the Jets will have so much more flexibility in 2014 than they had during their 2013 austerity. All this to say, with a stable and secure head coach and tons more talent from one to fifty three on the roster this team has every reason to be better in 2014.

What are the areas of priority going to be for this team in the 2014 offseason?

As we just said, first and foremost this team needs to be vastly more talented top to bottom -- that goes on both sides of the ball. Right now, no one on earth is more qualified than Mike Westhoff to practically evaluate on-field talent of the Jets from roster spots from 23-53. Yesterday, on SNY's Jets Postgame Live, Westhoff gave his frank assessment of the Jets roster since 2011.

"It was the least talented group I had in thirty years," he said. "I thought we lost [significant talent] in the last two years."

That from a man whose main part of his job with the Jets was to independently evaluate skill of the largest swath of the roster and find an on-field fit for it on special teams.

It's nothing we don't know ... but the klaxon alarms should be going off when a former coach says something like that ... but hey this is New York! Where's the Tebow angle?

But looking at free agency and draft acquisitions in areas of importance as of today? In a loose ranking, I'd say receiver, tight end, safety, running back, outside linebacker and then corner are the areas where they must make upgrades. Not all necessarily be at the starter level, but all those units mentioned need some degree of shoring up. The Jets ought to find quality starters at the wide receiver, tight end, safety and outside linebacker spots at a minimum. Everything else must be made to build depth. Of course, every roster action has an equal and opposite reaction. This means that many of the backups and undrafted players that we have come to know and love are going to have a very hard time making this roster next year. Upgrading a roster should contain no sentimentality.

Will Geno be the starter again in 2014? 

I don't think the Jets would be so blind as to pass over someone they consider a game-changing talent at the quarterback spot in free agency (at the right price) or the first- or second-round, but as the last four games have demonstrated, Geno seems to be getting the hang of the NFL.

That, of course, is a function of Geno adjusting to the NFL game, getting his passing targets healthy and taking initiative himself to run the ball when the play breaks down. Coming out of the Bills/Ravens/Dolphins stretch, I would not have blissfully handed Geno the keys for 2014, but I could be persuaded to do so after what I saw in December. As the contrast in the Dolphins games showed, cutting down the flagrant turnovers makes a massive difference.

After the way the season ended, Geno is definitely a fair baseline for moving forward. Many analysts believed Geno was the best quarterback in the 2013 draft class, but that he needed the time to mature into an NFL quarterback. Did we see that struggle realized all season with the breakthrough progress in December?

Will Ryan get a contract extensions?

That might be up to Rex Ryan himself. As we discussed not long ago today he might have to accept some changes to his coaching staff as part of any such extension. I'm not going to re-write everything so just look at this post for more on what might be the holdup for now on any extension.

What will the Jets do with Mark Sanchez?  

Cutting Mark Sanchez represents a $8.3 million dollar savings to the team. There is almost no likelihood that Sanchez will come back in 2014, but don't expect that Sanchez will be cut tomorrow. If we learned anything from John Idzik's negotiation process with the Buccaneers, and his slow-playing of the Tebow situation, it is that he's not above dragging out the release of Sanchez if he believes there's any profit in it. That profit might come in either third day draft pick or salary cap off-sets (Bent notes no offsets are likely in Sanchez's contract) that might arise from such a trade. Idzik could be openly shopping Mark Sanchez around the time of the NFL Combine in late February ... or beyond.

What other high-priced veterans might not return?

The Jets are currently projected to have around $22 million in cap room for 2014 before any cuts. If they really want to tighten their belt, just a few well-placed moves could put them at upwards of $48 million in space. Cutting Santonio Holmes ($8.2 million) would save a large chunk and seems an inevitability. Holmes did make some contributions, but ending the season with a putrid 38 percent catch rate is unconscionable for a top receiver. The Jets would be wiser to re-invest the savings into a younger more dynamic receiver that might also be willing to play nice with the press.

Antonio Cromartie has been a holdover contributor to this defense as they have moved on from Darrelle Revis. We're putting words in his mouth, but we think if you asked OTC's Jason Fitzgerald he would tell you that he's surprised Cro stayed healthy up until this year. From some earlier Q&As with Fitzgerald, he sees the health issues and cap savings as enough of a pretext to move on from Cromartie. This could come down to the veteran corner's willingness to re-work his deal. Cromartie is supposedly willing to do so, so it might come down to Cromartie's agent and Idzik agreeing on a number. Our hunch is that Cromartie could probably get more on the open market than the Jets would be willing to spend ... which would indicate he will be cut.

Calvin Pace has stated that he'd like to keep playing and retire as a Jet. After posting double digit sacks in 2013 at a cap-friendly contract it might come down to Pace's willingness to forego more money elsewhere in order to stay in New York.

Ed Reed's play got better as his time with the Jets went on. Of course, few will remember how the season ended over the earlier gaffes. We wouldn't mind seeing Reed back in 2014 in the reduced role we hoped he would have been in already for 2013. Reed might have to compete for the "wily veteran" spot against Dawan Landry in camp if he were to come back on a veteran minimum deal, but the Jets might want to look at safety in the draft first before agreeing to any future deals with Reed. We don't imagine there will be a huge demand for his services in a decent class of free agents and Day Two draftees.

Tags: NYJets, Brian Bassett

 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The evidence is hard to refute. They jettisoned almost every recognizable veteran they had. They didn't add any significant free agents. The veteran quarterback they added is a 38-year-old journeyman. The Jets were 5-11 last season, and it's hard to argue this year won't be worse.

So yes, it sure does look like the Jets are "tanking" this season, with their eyes on the top of next year's quarterback-rich draft. They're not, of course. Tanking is almost impossible to do effectively, especially in the NFL. But they are doing a bit of scorched-Earth rebuilding and know they are in for a long, losing season.

There'll be a lot of short-term pain. And intentional or not, for the long run that's not so bad...

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jamal Adams, the Jets' top draft pick and one of the cornerstones of their rebuilding project, agreed to terms on his rookie contract on Thursday night and is expected to be at training camp on time when it opens in eight days.

The agreement, announced by agents on Twitter and confirmed by the Jets on Friday, is projected to be worth about $22.2 million over four years with a signing bonus of approximately $14.3 million. The money is fully guaranteed for the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. As with all first-round picks, Adams' deal also includes a team option for the fifth year.

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New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When safety Jamal Adams agreed to his rookie contract Thursday, the Jets finally locked up all nine of their draft picks. And that's good; given the state of their roster, they're probably going to need all of them.

There certainly will be plenty of opportunities for all the draftees on this young and rebuilding team, and maybe even a few undrafted free agents too. The Jets will enter camp next Friday with an open mind at almost every position, both for this year and in the future. Almost all jobs will be somewhat up for grabs.

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JRSportBrief: McCown & the Jets 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why Josh McCown just needs to hold down the fort for the Jets.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown gave his new team a vote of confidence in an interview with ESPN's First Take on Thursday, highlighting the positives he has seen from both veterans and newcomers alike.

"There's still some guys there that are pros," McCown said. "When you watch how a guy like Matt Forte comes in and does his job every day, Mo Wilkerson had a great spring, came in and worked hard, and our rookies coming along, Jamal Adams so impressive coming in as a rookie out of LSU, a high draft pick."

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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Darron Lee had his ups and downs after being the Jets' first round pick last season, but the team seems compelled to proceed with the plan to build around him as one of the cornerstones of the defense. Entering his first season, everyone knew that Lee was a terrific athlete, but he still had to prove he had the instincts to play inside linebacker in a pro-style defense.

Preseason Stats: Four games, no starts, seven tackles, one sack

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is still reviewing an incident invovling Jets' LB Darron Lee and DE Leonard Williams from early June, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

The incident occured at Governors Ball Music Festival on Randalls Island in June where Lee had to be restrained by Williams after getting into an argument with a woman. An eye witness video showed Williams getting in between his teammate, and eventually, carrying him away from the argument.

Jets' head coach Todd Bowles later indentified the woman as Lee's girlfriend, and noted that the team will not be disciplining the linebacker. However, he thinks he needs to take caution in the future. 

"You don't want that stuff to happen, obviously," Bowles said earlier on the situation. "With social media going on these days, they've got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that. I just know, from the past, any time you go to a concert, there's going to be trouble around, just as an ex-player and as a coach. When you go to a concert, a lot of things can happen. You have to be very mindful and very aware of where you are, and your surroundings -- and handle yourself better and keep yourself out of trouble."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected specialists: Chandler Catanzaro (K), Lachlan Edwards (P), Tanner Purdum (LS), Jalin Marshall (KR/PR)

Key contributors: Rontez Miles, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue, Juston Burris, Charone Peake

Tags: Antonio Allen, BGA, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dexter McDougle, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Loc Edwards, Nick Folk, Quincy Enunwa, Ronald Martin, Rontez Miles, Tanner Purdum
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking with the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said he would not be surprised if the Jets have another struggling, losing season in 2017. 

"It's hard to argue [with] that," Enunwa said, "when everybody else sees all the stuff that's going on."

This offseason, the Jets have cut ties with many players, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Despite the possibility of another tough year ahead, Enunwa believes the players will still play hard when the season begins. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets QB Chad Pennington believes head coach Todd Bowles deserves the chance to turn the team around, per Brett Bonder of NY Daily News. 

If the Jets are to tank this sesaon, Pennington doesn't think it will be fair to put the blame on Bowles as he thinks he is the right guy for the job.

"My one hope for the Jets is that they give coach Bowles a chance to right the ship, don't pull everything away from him and then make him the reason why they're getting rid of him because of the lack of success," Pennington said. "He is the right guy, I think he showed that in his first year, last year wan an anomaly and this year you can see, wow, what a task he has."

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Former Jets WR Brandon Marshall said he requested his release because he couldn't deal with the Jets not having a chance this season, per ESPN's Eric Cimini. 

Marshall was on WFAN's Boomer and Carton Show Thursday where he admitted his former team wasn't going to have a good 2017 season, and he didn't want to be a part of it.

"I wouldn't have made it through an entire season, knowing we didn't have a chance," Marshall said. 

Tags: Brandon Marshall
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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

USC QB Sam Darnold said last week's report that he might remain in school instead of entering the 2018 NFL Draft did not come from him, but remained vague about his future.

"I don't really have many thoughts about that," the potential No. 1 pick said during an appearance on ESPN's "The Fix". "I don't think any team should tank their season because of me. I'm just taking this every day, one day at a time. That's all I can do."

"I'm looking forward to whatever lies ahead of my future," he said. "But I'm really just taking it one day at a time."

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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After a solid rookie season, Jordan Jenkins is hoping to thrive in a full-time role in 2017. The 23-year old has spent part of his offseason back in Georgia, working on his pass rush techniques with pass rush guru Chuck Smith.

Preseason Stats: Two games, two starts, four tackles, no sacks, two quarterback hits.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Projected Starters: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye

Projected Back-ups: Rontez Miles

On the bubble: Shamarko Thomas, Ronald Martin, Doug Middleton, Corey White

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Giants offensive lineman Justin Pugh took to Twitter to take some playful jabs at the Jets and their fans, but not before Jets defensive Muhammad Wilkerson chimed in.

Tags: Justin Pugh, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
(Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets' plan to build a helicopter landing pad at their New Jersey training facility has drawn objections from some who question the need since an airport is just a couple of miles away.

The borough of Madison has lodged objections to the Jets' application, NJ.com reported. The borough says that there's "no demand" for a helipad so close to the Morristown Airport.

"Any purported public benefit from the availability of a helistop for emergency uses is illusive," officials wrote. The borough also argued that the pad could introduce a safety risk.

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Projected Starters: Wesley Johnson, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Ben Ijalana, Kelvin Beachum

Projected Back-ups: Brandon Shell, Dakota Dozier, Brent Qvale

On the bubble: Jeff Adams, Ben Braden, Chris Bordelon, Javarius Leamon, Craig Watts, Alex Balducci, Jonotthan Harrison

Departures: Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini, Ryan Clady

Tags: BGA
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 (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Coming out of South Carolina, Brandon Shell's size and athleticism stood out, but he also impressed with his technique in pass-protection and his discipline. He posted outstanding pass-protection numbers against some good teams and when matched up with pro prospects. That bodes well for his ability to be successful at the NFL level, although he's not the type of tackle you'd typically leave out on an island.

Preseason Stats: Four games, one start, one sack surrendered.

Tags: Brandon Shell
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New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine

Projected backups: Juston Burris, Marcus Williams, Darryl Roberts, Jeremy Clark,

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis, Marcus Williams
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New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Projected backups: Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Leggett

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Julian Howsare, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Jets' first round pick, S Jamal Adams, has already impressed his new teammates, according to NJ.com's Connor Hughes. 

The Jets were exuberant when Adams fell to their No. 6 slot in the 2017 NFL Draft as he was the player the wanted most. Participating at OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Adams has shown his teammates, like CB Morris Claiborne, why the front office was so high on him.

"The things he has done so far?" Claiborne said. "He's unbelievable...He's been out here playing lights out. Picking up the defense, checking to different things, knowing what he wants to check to. He's having fun doing it, too. His spirit is awesome. He's having fun doing what he knows how to do, and that's football." 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr (54) after making a catch during the fourth quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)
Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr (54) after making a catch during the fourth quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)

The Jets are interested in signing former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr, according to the New York Post.

The 25-year-old retired during the off-season due to neck and spine problems, but he is now trying to revive his career to after receiving positive news from his doctor.

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 (Brad Mills)
(Brad Mills)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Fourth round pick Juston Burris has received plenty of buzz this offseason. He's been receiving lots of first-team reps and is reportedly in the mix to start alongside Morris Claiborne. However, what does his rookie season tell us about his chances and where he needs to develop to increase his role?

Preseason Stats: Four games, one start, five tackles, seven passes defensed, one interception

Tags: Juston Burris
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Darron Lee, David Harris, Demario Davis
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Jets' new linebackers coach, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is looking to instill more aggression and power in his players, especially LB Lorenzo Mauldin.

The 25-year-old has shown spurts of potential in two seasons with the Jets, but his 2.5 sacks last season isn't the production they had expected. Greene intends to change that, and he told NJ.com's Darryl Slater why he uses this specific approach to his coaching. 

"Everybody at this level has skill, correct?" Greene said. "They'rea ll athletic, and agility and dexterity and all that stuff. Well, what separates people initially is their physical level of play. That's always our first step, is we have to play more physical than whoever is in front of us, because we're all athletic." 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson

Projected backups: Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Preseason Stats: 17-for-47, 159 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 1-15 rushing, one fumble

Regular Season Stats: Did Not Play

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Part 2 of Jets mini-camp 00:02:01
SNY delivers part 2 of an all-access behind-the-scenes recap of New York Jets minicamp, including the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

Click here to watch Part 1

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Behind the scenes at Jets camp 00:01:48
SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jets' owner Woody Johnson as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the team confirmed on Thursday.

In the case that Johnson is nominated and confirmed by the US Senate, he would hand over his duties as Chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, who will directly oversee the team's day-to-day operations.

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