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Jets have contingency plans in face of offseason uncertainty

Every team is going into next week's NFL draft with a healthy amount of uncertainty to navigate. The Jets are near the top of that list.

Linebacker David Harris (franchised), receivers Santonio Holmes (tendered) and Braylon Edwards, and cornerback Antonio Cromartie headline a star-studded list of free agents, and the team will head into draft weekend without real knowledge of the ultimate fate of those players.

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Difficult? You bet. The Jets do have contingency plans for what lies ahead, with a sort of 48-hour plan on how they will handle contractual offers for those above at the end of the lockout within the different scenarios that could exist, pending the structure of the new CBA.

But barring some miracle on the labor front -- and I mean, major miracle -- all that will remain on paper when the draft kicks off.

For starters, take Holmes' situation. The Jets have every intention of bringing him back, whether it's on a one-year restricted tender, if the 2010 rules roll over and he's then a restricted free agent, or if the sides reach a long-term deal. That's all well and good, except for the fact that they can't be sure he'll re-sign if he's an unrestricted free agent.

Given Holmes' uncertain status and the fact Edwards and Smith are set to hit the free agent market, is wide receiver a draft need for the Jets? As one team source put it this week, "We think we have a good chance to keep those guys, but the certainty of being able to pick a guy and bring him in? That's worth a lot."

On the flip side the team has prepared for this, to a degree. The problem could really be a lot worse.

The Jets avoided even more 2011 uncertainty by taking the plunge to sign Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Darrelle Revis last offseason. Harris would've been nearly impossible to sign to a long-term deal last summer given the 30 percent rule. But in the case of Cromartie, Edwards and Holmes, the certainty of bringing back Mangold and Ferguson, as well as avoiding more trouble with Revis, allowed the Jets to wait-and-see in the short term on players who were considered risks.

The organization has found solid footing in its philosophy.

"The most success we've had is when we've taken needs and addressed them both in free agency and the draft," according to the source.

In that way, with all of the moving pieces in play, it almost has to be considered business as usual for the Jets.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer

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