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Sobering reality for Jets: Bill Belichick is dominating the offseason, too

The Patriots have been uncharacteristically aggressive in free agency, making Bill Belichick and company harder for the Jets to catch. Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:

1. Bah, humbug: Close your eyes and imagine this, Jets fans: You wake up, look under your free-agent Christmas tree and find ...

One of the premier cornerbacks on the market -- a replacement for Darrelle Revis.

A tight end for your new West Coast offense.

A playmaking wide receiver to replace Brandon Marshall.

A speedy edge rusher to complement Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson.

A fantasy-football wish list? Not really. The New England Patriots made it a reality with an uncharacteristic display of early activity, acquiring cornerback Stephon Gilmore, tight end Dwayne Allen, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and pass-rusher Kony Ealy.

Bill Belichick is the Grinch who stole the Jets' Christmas -- not directly, of course, but his offseason haul has to be the envy of Jets fans. Coincidentally, he upgraded in areas where the Jets need help, adding to the fan base's frustration level.

Clearly, the franchises are in different places. With Tom Brady's window closing, the Super Bowl champions are in a hyper go-for-it mode. The Jets? They're taking the methodical approach, rebuilding with a macro view of the roster.

But by clearing more than $40 million in cap funds by dumping big-name players, the Jets unwittingly raised expectations for free agency. They created the impression they'd be active in the high end of the market. That hasn't been the case.

There's a method to their madness, but as we stand here on March 12, the gap between them and the Patriots keeps getting larger and larger and ...

2. Number crunching: Not to depress you, but the four New England additions will count only $17.1 million on this year's cap. Let's put that in some perspective, shall we? Gilmore, Allen, Cooks and Ealy combined will cost less than one Wilkerson ($18 million).

To be fair, we have to tell the whole story. Gilmore's cap number balloons to $12.6 million next year. In fact, he's making $32 million in hard cash over the first two years, which is Revis money (when Revis was Revis). I think Belichick got carried away with that deal.

3. All quiet on the QB front: The Jets appeared to be moving quickly when their interest in Jay Cutler surfaced, but it has quieted down over the past three days. Why? The quarterback market is on hold, waiting for the conclusion of the Tony Romo saga. That outcome will start a domino effect that likely will impact the Jets.

I'm sure the Jets have various contingency plans, but one name I'd watch is Brock Osweiler, who was traded by the Houston Texans in an NBA-style salary dump. Once the Cleveland Browns realize they can't trade him, they'll cut him loose, still responsible for his $16 million guarantee. In theory, the Jets could sign him for the minimum ($775,000), with Osweiler collecting the remaining $15.25 million from the Browns. Sure, he has warts, but where else could you find a potential starter that cheap? I'm not saying he's the answer, but he's worth considering.

4. Find your Beachum: The Kelvin Beachum signing is interesting on a couple of levels. A personnel source with another team described him as "a low-end starter." Indeed, Beachum hasn't been able to recapture the pre-knee-surgery form he showed in 2014, when he was an ascending left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. By all accounts, he didn't play well last season for the Jacksonville Jaguars. So why did the Jets sign him? A few thoughts:

They didn't want to hand the left-tackle job to Ben Ijalana, whom they re-signed Thursday. (Ijalana will start at right tackle or be a swing backup.) They believe Beachum, still only 27, will improve now that he's more than a year removed from ACL surgery. Lastly, they share the prevailing sentiment about the upcoming draft -- it's weak at left tackle, which explains why some teams are throwing around stupid money in free agency.

The Minnesota Vikings actually gave the mediocre Riley Reiff a $26.3 million guarantee and the Los Angeles Chargers guaranteed $25 million for a fading Russell Okung. At least the Jets didn't break the bank for Beachum -- three years, $24 million, including $12 million guaranteed. Basically, it's a two-year commitment, so it's hard to imagine the Jets picking a left tackle on the first two days of the draft.

5. Will the real Chandler please stand up? The Jets took a gamble by signing former Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro. If they get the 2014-2015 Catanzaro, it'll be a brilliant move. He made 89 percent of his field goals in those two seasons, eighth in the league. (Coach Todd Bowles was an Arizona assistant in 2014, Catanzaro's rookie year.) In 2016, he was a mess at 75 percent, tied for second worst.

It's always a concern when a warm-weather kicker goes to a northeastern team, so I looked up Catanzaro's record in cold weather. In fact, he has tried only three field goals with the temperature below 41 degrees, per ESPN Stats & Information. He made two.

He's had a weird career. He's only an 80 percent kicker in the comfy confines of University of Phoenix Stadium, but a 90 percent kicker on the road.

For what it's worth: He was 4-for-4 in MetLife Stadium in 2014 in a September game against the New York Giants.

6. Jeffersonian: Former Cards safety Tony Jefferson told the MMQB the Jets and Browns offered $1.5 million a year more than the Baltimore Ravens, where he signed for $9 million per. Not true, according to a source, who said the Jets weren't involved in the late bidding.

7. Good hands people: The Jets have hosted two running backs on free-agent visits, Travaris Cadet and Benny Cunningham. They're similar in that they can catch the ball out of the backfield, an important attribute in a West Coast-style offense (if that's what they decide to run under new coordinator John Morton). Matt Forte and Bilal Powell certainly fit that description. It makes me wonder how that will affect the team's evaluation of former LSU star Leonard Fournette, who could be available with the sixth pick. Fournette doesn't catch passes; he just runs over people.

8. Brandon's farewell: Marshall believes his departure will help the receiving corps because "it speeds up their growth," he said on the Rich Eisen Show. "Now I'm out of the way and those guys can get all those reps and the targets in a game. I think this will be best for them."

He's right. That's why I never thought he'd be back in 2017. It wasn't the right fit.