The New York Jets finished the 2012 regular season with a 6-10 record, good for third in the AFC East. While there were worse teams in the league this past season, few made the headlines more often for dumber reasons. There was so much drama surrounding the Jets that it was hard not to hear something about them that was non-football related, especially when it came to backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
The Jets have a lot of improving to do if they want to get back on track and compete for an AFC East championship and a playoff spot. Not only do they have to compete with the Patriots for a top-four spot in the playoffs, but they have to fight off up and coming teams like the Bengals and Colts for an AFC Wild Card spot.
Biggest need: Quarterback
The Jets' biggest need is behind the center as it's perfectly clear that none of the team's quarterbacks are able to take them to the next level. Mark Sanchez has actually gotten worse over his four years with the team and finished the 2012 season with 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He was eventually benched for Greg McElroy, who didn't show that he can do much better. The team's pet project at quarterback was Tim Tebow, the most over-hyped player in the NFL, but he was used primarily in the wildcat formation and only attempted eight passes on the season, completing six of them. To compete with the Patriots, the Jets have to find a new signal-caller to get the offense back on track.
Over at Gang Green Nation, they listed the top priorities this offseason as locking up Darrelle Revis, finding an offensive coordinator, and shedding bad contracts.
Other needs: Running back, linebacker
Shonn Greene finished the 2012 season with 1,063 yards, but averaged less than four-yards per carry. He's set to hit free agency and will likely test the market as there are plenty of teams looking for a between-the-tackles type of back. The Jets could also use someone in the backfield to take a little more pressure off of the quarterback as Greene isn't the kind of guy who strikes fear into a defensive coordinator.
At linebacker, Bryan Thomas has suffered multiple injuries and Calvin Pace had an awful year. The Jets have a good secondary, when Darrelle Revis is healthy, and the defensive line isn't in too terrible of shape. The linebackers, though, could use some help. There are plenty of good linebackers set to hit free agency as well as in the draft.
NFL Draft outlook: No. 9 overall pick
Unfortunately for the Jets, the 2013 NFL Draft class isn't considered one of the strongest ones when it comes to quarterbacks. Aside from the Chiefs, who are expected to pick West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the No. 1 overall pick, no other teams are predicted to select a quarterback in the first round. They can, however, help themselves with a new linebacker or defensive lineman and address the quarterback position in a later round.
Salary cap situation: Dire straits
The Jets aren't in a good situation when it comes to the salary cap heading into the 2013 season. The Jets are predicted to be close to $20 million over the $121 million cap set by the NFL and they'll need to make some cuts to get under that mark. That will likely mean they'll have to let a good player or two go and it also means they may have trouble signing a free agent, especially a free-agent quarterback, let alone compete with some of the teams in good shape for talented players.