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5 biggest questions for Jets in offseason: At the top of the list, who will be starting QB?

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: Christian Hackenberg #5,

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: Christian Hackenberg #5, Josh McCown #15, and Bryce Petty #9 of the New York Jets huddle before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images/Jim Rogash

1. Who will be the Jets’ starting quarterback in 2018?

The Jets probably don’t know the answer, but there are so many possibilities. The safe play is to re-sign Josh McCown and give him a raise over the $6 million he received in 2017. If McCown returns, one selling point is playing in the same offensive system for a second consecutive year. McCown enjoyed playing in the West Coast offense and worked well with offensive coordinator John Morton.

Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg do not appear ready to take over as the starter. Petty most likely will be elsewhere in 2018 but Hackenberg, a 2016 second-round pick, will remain and should compete for the backup job.

There are numerous free-agent quarterbacks worth signing, including Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees.

The Jets also have the No. 7 overall pick, so getting a quarterback through the draft is a strong possibility, too.

2. Which free agents are worth keeping?

With 16 unrestricted free agents available and a projected $80 million in cap space, the Jets could bring nearly everyone back. That won’t occur, of course, but if he doesn’t retire, re-signing McCown is a top priority.

Outside of McCown, cornerback Morris Claiborne, linebacker Demario Davis, kicker Chandler Catanzaro, center/guard Jonotthan Harrison, defensive tackle Mike Pennel, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and guard Dakota Dozier are part of the core group that Todd Bowles is trying to build from. Davis might be a little tricky because several teams figure to be interested in the inside linebacker, who is coming off a career year.

3. Who is the big-play threat on offense?

It’s Robby Anderson, who emerged with career highs in catches (63), yards (941) and touchdowns (seven), in his second season. But Anderson might not be a No. 1 threat on offense. He still needs work on his route-running and made a couple of questionable decisions, such as throwing his helmet on the ground before the end of a game at Miami. The Jets need more offensive playmakers, but Anderson is a good start.

4. Can Bowles take the Jets to the next level?

In three seasons, he has yet to make the postseason, but he’s endured two different roster loads. In his first two seasons, he had a veteran roster, and this season, he took over a younger version. He’s gone 10-6, 5-11 and 5-11 for an overall record of 20-28.

The Jets suffered bad losses in Tampa and Denver that reflected badly on Bowles, but he proved he could change the culture of a locker room, and the players respect him. The Jets gave Bowles a two-year contract extension with the hope that he can make the postseason within that time.

5. Muhammad Wilkerson, the highest-paid player on the team, will get cut, right?

After suspending the defensive end for the Dec. 17 game at New Orleans for being late to a team meeting, the Jets deactivated him for the last two games of the season. Wilkerson was a huge disappointment after signing a five-year, $86-million deal with $36.7 million guaranteed in 2016. The Jets most likely will cut him by March, saving $11 million. They wanted more production and maturity from Wilkerson and didn’t get it.

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