Rex Ryan's first imprint on the New York Jets has been made with the first offseason stunner.
Laveranues Coles, who had his last two contract seasons made guaranteed money last offseason, was made a free agent today, ending his second term with the team. Coles was set to make $6 million dollars in 2009, but he wants a long-term deal. He wants it so badly that he was willing to essentially void the last year of his contract in order to get a multi-year deal here or elsewhere.
For the Jets, it clears off even more cap space to go after some free agents. This could be back to back years the Jets spend money. Ryan will likely look for some defensive help in the offseason. Bart Scott and Ray Lewis have been mentioned a ton. Scott would be the much better option, as he provides the attitude and perhaps better production.
But the more pressing question becomes the receiver position. The receivers seemed to underachieve last season, but none played poorly enough to lose their job, and it would have been tough to significantly revamp the position without getting rid of Coles.
The unrestricted free agent market isn't particularly appealing. The best options are TJ Houshmandzadeh and Nate Washington. Anquan Boldin and Lance Moore could be available, but either would cost compensation. Boldin might also demand too much money for the Jets' blood. June 1st always creates new candidates but rarely gamebreakers.
In the draft Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin will probably be gone by 17. But cutting Coles to spend a first round pick on a receiver with other needs is not prudent. There is a good a mid-late round guy will be brought in, but it's not easy to find one that produces as a rookie.
Still, it would be hard to imagine the Jets going into next season with Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith, David Clowney, and Marcus Henry. None of the candidates ouside Cotchery have proven anything on the professional level. Someone will have to be brought in. Losing Brandon Moore will likely hurt the running game, and who knows what the quarterback play will be like? If the Jets want to be able to score consistently, they'll need another option.
But there is still the chance that this means that the Jets will actually keep Brandon Moore instead. After all, they have yet to cut the right guard. With the extra money, maybe Ryan decided it was more important to keep Moore and dump Coles. It would be a creative way to afford Moore and keep the offensive line cohesive.