New York Jets – Doing More With Less?

John Hargaden on the challenges facing New York Jets GM Mike Maccagnan in his second year

Going into year two as the New York Jets GM, Mike Maccagnan has his work cut out for him.  He does not have anywhere near as much cap space as last year. What players will be let go? What players will have their contracts reworked? Finally, what free agents should Maccagnan go after? Here is a quick overview of their situation…

In the last few days, the Jets released Antonio Cromartie, who signed a four Year $32 Million contract last year, had a rough start to the season but finished up nicely. However, this was a brilliant contract created by Maccagnan and company because there was no dead money on the deal. The Jets were able to save $8 Million in cap space which is going to come handy.  The next player that should be let go is Jeff Cumberland, who has a cap number for the 2016 season at $1.9 Million. It is time to show him the door. Jeremy Kerley, who had little playing time at WR, is slated to have a $3.1 Million cap hit.  That number is way too high for our a punt returner.  One other option to be let go is Breno Giacomini, who has a cap hit of $5.625.  Giacomini had a rough year last year and he could not be left one on one with any decent pass rusher. It is time to show him the door.

The franchise tag will be given to Muhammad Wilkerson but do not be shocked if the Jets do shop him around to see what his value is. One player who could have his contract reworked is D’Brickashaw Ferguson, with a $14.1 Million cap hit this season.

Okay, so now with freed up space, who do the Jets need to go after in free agency?

The first player to re-sign is QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on a 2-3 year deal. Fitzpatrick knows where he is at this point of his career and should be anxious to return with the weapons at receiver. Fitzpatrick could be coming back between $7-9 Million per year with $10-14 guaranteed. Hopefully the Jets work the deal where he could be let go after year one if there are struggles.

Erin Henderson is also likely coming back after a solid season after being out of the league dealing with off the field issues.  I see the Jets bringing him back on a one or two year deal to be play next to David Harris.

Externally, the Jets could go after Lamar Miller, who has not received proper usage in Miami.  Miller, in Gailey’s offense would be an ideal fit. To improve the offensive line, Mitchell Schwartz from Cleveland would be a logical target.  The OL market is not too strong but Schwartz is one of the best available at a position of need for the Jets.  A potential wildcard the Jets might be interested in is Russell Okung, who is representing himself, coming off a shoulder injury, the Jets could be able to sign him to a lower than expected “prove it” deal.

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com