Jets have lots of holes and must reach decision on Darrelle Revis

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis warms up prior to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis warms up prior to a 2010 game against the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (Dec. 19, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Their needs are plenty. But with limited cap room, upgrading isn't the goal.

It's more about plugging holes on the cheap.

With nine starters set to become free agents Tuesday and his team roughly $8 million under the $123-million salary cap, new Jets general manager John Idzik will have to rebuild his depleted roster on a serious budget. The Jets' past Saks Fifth Avenue spending has gotten them here: searching for basement bargains in a free-agent pool that is devoid of their most important need -- top-tier quarterback talent.

"There's a negative connotation associated with rebuilding," Idzik said during the NFL combine in Indianapolis, "but honestly, I think every NFL team retools or rebuilds to a certain extent."

Aside from quarterback competition for incumbent Mark Sanchez, the Jets need a running back, two guards, two safeties, two outside linebackers and a tight end.

The Jets, who have the bulk of their salary cap tied up in eight players, could save some money by getting receiver Santonio Holmes to restructure his contract, which currently would pay him an $11-million base salary in 2013.

They also must figure out what to do with Darrelle Revis.

The star cornerback is under contract next season, but it's no secret that owner Woody Johnson isn't keen on paying Revis a salary commensurate with his status as the top defensive player in the NFL.

While trade rumors have run rampant involving three-time All-Pro Revis, who tore his ACL last season, he has maintained that he wants to be a "Jet for life." But despite reports that say Revis will be as good as gone in 2013, he seems neither worried nor flustered by the trade speculation.

"None of the trade talks matter if I am not healthy and back to All-Pro form," Revis said in a recent NFL Network interview.

Once the dust settles during free agency and teams have secured pieces for their secondary, it'll be easier to determine what the Jets might be able to get for Revis. But with most teams refusing to shell out big money given the minimal salary-cap increase from last year and the influx of cheaper cornerbacks hitting free agency, it's unclear what offers the Jets will field.

There's also the issue of his health.

"The fact is he's an injured player who has not proven yet that he is what he was before he got hurt. So that's point A," ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL executive Bill Polian said in a conference call last week. "Point B is that he is entering the season prior to his free agency and he cannot be tagged, so he either reaches a long-term agreement with the club or he becomes a free agent. Those are the facts. How you balance them is the difficult part. How can you negotiate when you don't know what the player is likely to be? You can surmise, but you don't know until he gets on the field.

" . . . I can't predict what's going to happen, but I can tell you what's going to drive the decision, and that's the medical."

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