"NFL Total Access" has launched its "32 in 32" series, breaking down the biggest subplots of every NFL team as the 2013 season approaches. Around The League will follow along and offer our own take. Up next: The New York Jets.
1. If you're talking about the Jets, you start with the quarterback situation. Barring a preseason meltdown, Mark Sanchez should be behind center come Week 1. Geno Smith is now the future of the franchise, but that doesn't mean the rookie needs to be pushed into action before he's ready. Sanchez's $8.50 million in guaranteed money promised him a roster spot in 2013. Taking advantage of Sanchez's presence by using him as a bridge to Smith can provide legitimate value. And who knows, maybe Sanchez goes "Eye Of The Tiger" and takes advantage of the last of nine lives. Stranger things have happened.
2. I'm still trying to figure out the logic behind letting Dustin Keller walk. The tight end signed a one-year, $4.25 million contract with the Miami Dolphins, the type of team-friendly, prove-it contract even the cash-strapped Jets could've taken on. An underrated offensive player, Keller was a Sanchez security blanket that, if healthy, would have helped mask the team's deficiencies at wide receiver. Even stranger is the succession plan, which involves Jeff Cumberland and the battered remains of Kellen Winslow Jr. Good luck with all that.
3. Rex Ryan is squarely on the hot seat, but we're sure he took some solace in the team's decision to fortify his beloved defense with two first-round draft picks. Dee Milliner is a potential shutdown corner who steps into the massive shoes of Darrelle Revis, while defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson gives Ryan a versatile interior lineman who can get to the quarterback. Richardson and fellow first-rounders Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson form the core of a potentially great front line.
4. The Jets have every right to be nervous about Santonio Holmes. By far the team's top offensive threat, Holmes doesn't sound close to 100 percent and is no lock to be ready for the regular season. If he isn't, a lot of pressure will fall on the shoulders of underrated slot man Jeremy Kerley and the unproven Stephen Hill, who runs like Bambi and catches like him, too.
5. Back to Rex. He's one of the biggest stars in franchise history, but he's in grave danger here. General manager John Idzik's itch to bring in his own guy will grow if the Jets stumble out of the playoff picture for a third-straight year. Ryan enters a situation in which he's being asked to improve a team that just traded off one of its greatest players ever. A winning season will be a challenge. That might be what it takes to keep his job.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.