The Jets' Offseason Plans Start Taking Shape

Bart Scott could be leaving as another former Raven comes onboard

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Mar 2, 2012  |  Updated 6:40 AM EDT
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We're less than two weeks away from the start of NFL free agency and it doesn't look like the Jets are going to make the big splash that many people have been hoping for this offseason.

Peyton Manning rumors are running rampant in Miami, Arizona and Washington, but they remain something of a pipe dream in this neck of the woods. The Jets will likely check in on the quarterback if he and the Colts part ways, but there's a long list of reasons (topped by little brother's place of business) why it seems quite unlikely.

So, if not Peyton, what will the Jets do to get themselves back into the playoffs next season? All the lukewarm shows of support for Mark Sanchez do send a message that there will be another quarterback added to the mix.

Chad Henne's name is popping up a lot as a player who can both push Sanchez and usurp him if the Jets starter doesn't show any more growth than he did last season. While no one who has seen Henne play will be too enthused by the prospect of putting him under center, his past with Tony Sparano makes him a more likely target than David Garrard, Jason Campbell or other former starters kicking around at present.

The other name popping up on the radar right now is Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, an unrestricted free agent with a history playing for Rex Ryan. Johnson wouldn't solve the team's need for better pass rush off the edge, but he's a versatile player who would help the run defense without needing much time to pick up the team's defensive scheme upon arriving in town.

No offseason is just about the players coming to town. The Jets also figure to lose some players from last season.

Some of those, Plaxico Burress for one, won't be missed in the least. But others would cause some discomfort for the team.

If they can't find a way to reach a new deal with defensive tackle Sione Pouha, there will be a big hole in the middle of the defensive line when training camp rolls around. And then there's the question of Bart Scott.

Scott, who remained a leader on defense last season even as his play dropped off to the point that the team pulled him from the field on third down, has reportedly been given permission to shop around for a team willing to make a trade for his services. After reworking his contract last year, Scott is guaranteed $4.2 million for the 2012 season and that number makes it highly unlikely that the Jets are going to find a buyer on the trade market.

So, the question becomes whether or not Scott will be back with the team -- G.M. Mike Tannenbaum says that he expects him back, although that's something of a kiss of death around the team -- if the Jets can't find anyone to take Scott off their hands. If they do cut him and swallow a chunk of dead cap space, it will be the latest indictment of the way the Jets have been doing business in recent years.

Everything has been about making the big move now without spending much time worrying about what the future will bring or about how they will sustain success over the long term. Those moves have worked out, for the most part, but the Jets now find themselves with little cap room available to fix the holes that are readily apparent to anyone looking at the team.

For our money, cutting Scott and paying him to work for someone else makes very little sense. Even at his diminished capacity, Scott can help the defense and he can still be a good voice in a locker room that clearly didn't have enough of them last year.

Whatever the Jets do this offseason, they need to take a lesson from the Scott situation and start looking at the fuller ramifications of the decisions they make with their roster. Going all in every year has an expiration date and the Jets will be terribly close to theirs if they make the same mistakes this year.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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