While the free agent landscape still features some talented players, the odds are that the Jets’ Opening Day roster will be made up of players currently in the fold now that the NFL draft is in the rearview mirror.
With that in mind, here’s how the offense could shape up in Week 1 against the Buccaneers:
The selection of Geno Smith in the second round likely signals the end for Mark Sanchez, whom ESPN is reporting will be released before training camp. Expect Smith to start immediately unless free agent addition David Garrard can regain his 2009 form, with Greg McElroy as the likely No. 3. That means Tim Tebow and Matt Simms will be gone in addition to Sanchez.
The Jets added Mike Goodson a few weeks ago and traded for Chris Ivory. Both could join Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight on the roster all season, but it’s more likely McKnight or Goodson is cut first. Of the other two, Ivory is the best bet to earn the starting gig.
Although the team drafted Tommy Bohanon in Round 7, it’s unlikely he’ll surpass Lex Hilliard. Expect the Jets to carry only one fullback.
Santonio Holmes will be back after a foot injury ended his season early. Jeremy Kerley and Steven Hill return as well, but Hill needs to improve to earn true No. 2 status on this team. Clyde Gates is the only other sure thing here. The other WR spots are anyone’s guess.
At this point, Jeff Cumberland is the default starter, but they may sign another one — Dallas Clark is available. The other two on the current roster are Konrad Reuland and Hayden Smith.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson is the staple on the left side, but the right could be up for grabs. Austin Howard played OK there last year, but the team selected Oday Aboushi in Round 5. More likely, Aboushi will take a few years to develop.
All new pieces here. The Jets signed Willie Colon earlier this offseason and drafted Brian Winters in Round 3. It’s very possible Winters starts immediately over the disappointing Vladimir Ducasse on the right side, with the left as Colon’s job to lose.
Nick Mangold, like Ferguson, is an institution — a great one and is still in his prime. Caleb Schlauderaff strictly is there for insurance.