Jets general manager Joe Douglas and new head coach Robert Saleh will be going down every path to locate new players for the Green & White for the 2021 season.
Jets safety Marcus Maye had some parting words for the Jets brain trust at the end of the season: A lot of the players being sought may already be on the roster.
"We've got a great group of guys, we've got some pieces we can add to," Maye said. "For the most part I feel like the core is here. You just find more guys to plug in with this group and go on from there. The talent is here, there's pieces here."
A big reason for that attitude is how the Jets, battered by injuries and losses late into the season, kept fighting to get their first victories, which they came close to achieving at the Chargers, then even closer against the Raiders before securing wins at the Rams and at home against the Browns, both playoff teams.
And through the season, Maye kept contributing at his high level, marked by great overall production and filled again with outstanding athletic plays that were highlight-video worthy and in some cases saved games.
"I mean, guys could've given up a long time ago, they could've checked out a long time ago, but they didn't," said the Jets' Curtis Martin Team MVP. "Each week they came prepared to work, then Sunday they showed up prepared to win. Just the resilience of our team and the effort and the guys we have in that locker room shows we're going to show up each week, we're going to fight, we're going to do whatever we can to get a win."
One big football/business decision that Douglas and Saleh will have to make in the coming months is in keeping Maye, the team's 2017 second-round draft choice, on the roster. He can become an unrestricted free agent in March. But he made it clear what his team preference in 2021 will be.
"Just being here four years, stepping in day one, I've loved this place," he said. "I've enjoyed the people here, the teammates. Even though there have been a lot of changes throughout my years here, I've always been the same person, I've always shown up to work excited and ready to go try to win a game for the Jets."
Joe Namath notwithstanding, there are no guarantees in the NFL. But as Douglas said in his season-wrap news conference, "Bringing Marcus back is going to be one of the priorities of our offseason."
Whatever decisions are made, they won't affect Maye's preparation for the fifth season of his very good NFL career.
"I can only control what I can control," he said. "I've just got to take my time, look at all the options, continue to get better. Don't take a step off, don't take a step back, and just continue to go forward."