The New York Jets are currently in what can aptly be described as “Salary Cap Hell.” Because of that Turn On The Jets reached out to one of our favorite writers covering the team, Jason from NY Jets Cap. You won’t find anybody out there with a better grasp of the Jets financial situation. On top of that, we also spoke with our source within the NFL on the current status of the team and their upcoming future. Finally, I included a few links to worthwhile reads on how the Jets can proceed from here. Enjoy and as always discuss here in the comment section and on our Facebook and Twitter page -
TOJ - Understanding all the salary cap ramifications and his current level of play – What would you do with Mark Sanchez this off-season? And what do you predict will actually end up playing out?
NY Jets Cap - I think the situation is beyond repair and at this point he has to go. I could not even imagine bringing him back in 2013 and having him compete for a starting job. The home crowd can’t stand him and it is simply not going to work. The problem is from a cap standpoint an outright release costs the team slightly over $17 million which will not only make fielding a team more difficult but be a PR nightmare for the front office. If it was me I’d be contacting any team with a bad QB situation (Oakland and Arizona at the top of the list) and seeing if they would trade anything for him and absorb a portion of that salary for next season. At least its a small victory to bring the cap number down. If that can not be done I would designate him a June 1st cut and split the cap charges over two seasons – around $12.15 million in 2013 and $4.8 million in 2014.
I think what actually happens depends on if there is turnover in the front office or not. If there is I think they will do something along the lines of the June 1 cut. If Mike Tannenbaum is still in charge I think he will remain and they will bring his cap number down by paying some of his 2013 salary as a bonus and deal with the cap consequences of that move the following year.
TOJ - Should the Jets consider trading Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis to free up cap space and begin building through the draft?
NY Jets Cap - I would take offers for both of them. Again it depends on if you are looking short or long term. A short term move of Cromartie via trade frees up $8.25 million in cap that could go to fixing a number of weaknesses but would not net much in the way of draft compensation. Moving Revis would likely lose cap space in the short term but you would receive higher compensation for him in the draft that can really help in the future. I think there is also the consideration that Revis may not want to come back in 2014 when he will be a free agent when making the move. Either way I would not bring both back next season. Pass defense is the least of the team’s concerns and tying up $20 million in cap for those two is not going to make the team better.
NY Jets Cap - Probably not. Holmes I think could have been moved had he not been injured, but his recovery has been very slow and he is coming off a poor season before that. Harris is overpaid and I dont think anyone would want him for $10.9 million in 2013, $9.5 million of which is fully guaranteed. In terms of a pure release Holmes is a candidate and the Jets would receive some credit if he signed with another team and I have to think someone would pay him at least $1-2 million on a 1 year deal. The Jets do create cap room by releasing him. Harris cant be cut due to the salary guarantee.
TOJ - Name 10 players on the current roster who won’t be on the team next season
NY Jets Cap - Bart Scott. Calvin Pace. Eric Smith. Jason Smith. Sione Pouha. LaRon Landry. Dustin Keller. Tim Tebow. Santonio Holmes. Brandon Moore.
TOJ - Considering the Jets need two new starting OLBs, a new starting RB, a new starting RT and G. How many holes can they realistically expect to fill?
NY Jets Cap - I guess it depends on if they go into full rebuild mode or they go into a retooling mode. The Jets have enough flexibility in their contract structure to go out and grab a few free agents that would help improve the team in the short term. The issue with that scenario is you might replay what we are going through now in another year or two. If they take the cap pains of the bad deals in 2013 you won’t see any impact players being brought in to fill those spots. It will primarily be all stopgap players, kind of like what the Jets did in 2006 and 2007.
TOJ - Are LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell back next season?
NY Jets Cap - Landry won’t be. I think the price tag is too high and even if the Jets think they are retooling they have to have it in the back of their heads that he is not the answer to a long term rebuild. Bell is a lower cost player and will do 1 year contracts from here on out so I think if he wants to keep playing the Jets will welcome him back.
TOJ - Give me a best case scenario for the Jets off-season
NY Jets Cap - I tend to think the Jets have to think of their long term future and move onward. I think the best case scenario consists of low level trades for Sanchez and Tebow, trading Cromartie, re-signing Revis to a realistic contract, and releasing Holmes. It would probably leave the Jets with $20-25 million to spend in free agency to fill out the roster and not hurt them in the short term while improving their long term prospects. I’m not sure if I would consider Mike Vick or Alex Smith as a one year option at QB, but I think one of those players should be brought in for a look. Vick is more dynamic but Smith is the safer QB. The thing is it can’t be for more than a year. If not I’d look at Matt Moore from Miami and use him as a cheap one year player. If Miami started him this year they would be in the playoff hunt. But to me this is their best team that they can produce and keep 2014 wide open for major improvement.
Worst case scenario is the braintrust going behind closed doors and saying “man if we only had Holmes and Revis for the year we would be 9-7″ and then going into the preseason with Sanchez and McElroy battling it out for the starting QB job without releasing any of the big contract guys.
A few quotes from a former NFL personnel executive and current employee of the league on the situation with the Jets
“A current Jets coach had this to say to me about the organization yesterday – As bad as the team looks on the outside, it is ten times worse inside the building.” - This was a response to an inquiry about the relationship between Rex and Tannenbaum.
“Everyone says the GM should be just doing contracts but that is the worst thing he does. Have you seen the cap of the Jets? It is a mess but with the years left on his contract, I still don’t think he is going to get fired by Woody.”
“It is hard to get a read on what Rex thinks. Who knows the real deal with him because of the lies he throws in front of the media all the time?”
(On chatter about Eric DeCosta as a GM candidate) – “DeCosta is not going anywhere this off-season. Beyond that, take a look at Baltimore’s recent drafts. I don’t think the Jets make the major front office moves their fans are hoping for”