Now that the lockout is finally over, the real chaos can start.
Free agency has been compressed from a normal month-long process to all of 10 days. Starting Tuesday at 10 a.m., teams can begin talking with free agents, though contracts can’t be filed until Friday. The Jets have 17 free agents from last year’s roster, while the Giants have 21. Below are key impact players from both teams that need to be re-signed.
Santonio Holmes, WR
After Holmes served a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy last season, quarterback Mark Sanchez made him his main and most trusted target. Holmes, 27, responded to Sanchez’s faith with two game-winning touchdown catches, finishing the season with six TDs and 743 yards receiving.
Braylon Edwards, WR
Edwards, 28, was a great No. 2 behind
Holmes last season. Despite a DUI in November, Edwards proved his devotion to football by catching 7 touchdowns and only dropping one pass. Given the shortened training, Edwards could prove to be a great fit due to his extended time and practice with Sanchez.
Antonio Cromartie, CB
A phenomenal No. 2 behind All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, Cromartie, 27, knows how to read receivers and play man-to-man. Unfortunately for the Jets, he announced last week that he does not believe in a “hometown discount.” His three interceptions were key thanks to the lackluster performance of first-round pick Kyle Wilson.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB
At only 25, Bradshaw is ready to explode. In his first season as featured running back, the former seventh-round pick averaged 4.5 yards per carry and also proved to be a valuable target in passing situations with 47 receptions. Bradshaw should be re-signed before another team takes him — word is the Dolphins may be in the running.
Steve Smith, WR
Smith underwent a complex operation on his knee due to an injury in week 10 of last season. Despite the doubts as to his value, the Giants need to re-sign Smith, since his relationship with Eli is near-perfect.
Mathias Kiwanuka, DE
One of the most versatile defensive players on the Giants’ roster, Kiwanuka, 29, could prove to be even more valuable if DE Osi Umenyiora’s contract is not resolved.