TOJ Roundtable – New York Jets Cap Space Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses how the New York Jets should go about freeing up cap space

The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below!

How would you prefer to see the New York Jets free up cap space?

Update

Joe Caporoso – If the Jets are hesitant to do two of the most obvious moves to free up cap space, trading Muhammad Wilkerson or restructuring/cutting D’Brickashaw Ferguson, there are a few other options they could activate. The first would be releasing ineffective right tackle Breno Giacomini, who is paid like a starter for replacement level play. Internally, Brent Qvale could likely provide a comparable level of play for substantially less money or the Jets could use one of their early round picks on an offensive tackle. Second, while it is not ideal to kick the can down the road, Nick Mangold has remained steady enough to move money into 2017 to provide relief for this season. Finally, the same could be said for Brandon Marshall who had one of his best seasons as a pro in 2015. The Jets could gamble on him still providing value in 2017 and do a similar restructure to the one mentioned with Mangold.

Dalbin Osorio –  Considering that, after the Jets announced the signing of new NT Steve McDouble McClendon, they literally have zero cap space some moves need to be made and soon. The trade of Muhammed Wilkerson will free up $15.1M in cap space, which will allow the Jets to address some of their still pressing needs heading into the draft. Cutting D’Brickashaw Ferguson nets them another $9M, which brings their total to $24.1M. I know some Jets fans will complain and wonder why the Jets didn’t make these moves earlier so they could go after some notable free agents. Heck, an extra $24.1M would’ve certainly helped them sign Kelvin Beachum and Andre Smith and still left them with enough money left to address the QB issue. As it stands now, they don’t even have enough money to do that.

With that said, rightfully assuming Maccagnan has a plan and the Jets clear some space to be active in this second and third wave of free agency, I’d like for them to continue improving their depth at key positions and not just the DL. As of today, only David Harris and Lorenzo Mauldin are locks at LB. They need some depth there. They also need some depth at CB with the release of Antonio Cromartie, and could use some depth at WR after Devin Smith’s injury. Lastly, they need to improve their OL. It’s entirely possible that they will improve the OL during the draft (two options that I could see are LT Jack Conklin in round 1 and G Vandal Alexander in round 2) but this OL needs to get younger so there are still some names available in free agency that they could try and add. So, for me it’s not even about specific players. It’s about improving the depth on the roster.

David Aitken – A Wilkerson trade would provide the most significant relief in terms of cap, but all is quiet on that front at the moment. At this point I think we’re looking at just cuts or restructures for D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Breno Giacomini when it comes to clearing space. As it stands the Jets are set up for a very healthy 2017 cap situation, and it’s something at this point that doesn’t make sense to compromise by moving money around with say the contracts of Darrelle Revis or Brandon Marshall. The offseason plan has clearly been a reactive strategy rather than a proactive one, as the Jets could have chose to be more active this offseason by pushing back money frontloaded in 2016 from last year’s spending spree at the expense of added risk in future years. If/when Ryan FItzpatrick finally returns I would expect movement with the contract of at least one of the starting tackles.

David Aitken – A Wilkerson trade would provide the most significant relief in terms of cap, but all is quiet on that front at the moment. At this point I think we’re looking at just cuts or restructures for D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Breno Giacomini when it comes to clearing space. As it stands the Jets are set up for a very healthy 2017 cap situation, and it’s something at this point that doesn’t make sense to compromise by moving money around with say the contracts of Darrelle Revis or Brandon Marshall. The offseason plan has clearly been a reactive strategy rather than a proactive one, as the Jets could have chose to be more active this offseason by pushing back money frontloaded in 2016 from last year’s spending spree at the expense of added risk in future years. If/when Ryan FItzpatrick finally returns I would expect movement with the contract of at least one of the starting tackles.

Kevin Zielaznicki –  In order to clear up some cap space, I think the best strategy would start with left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s contract. After two years of steadily declining play, the Jets must address his contract situation. Brick will have a $14 million cap hit according to spotrac.com and the Jets cannot move forward without approaching him to restructure. If he declines to restructure, the Jets may have no choice but to release the long time staple of the offensive line. Releasing Brick would save the Jets an estimated $4 million. Another possible move would revolve around starting right tackle Breno Giacomini. Giacomini has a cap hit of $5.5 million in 2016 and the Jets can save around $3 million if they decide to cut him. Finally, coming to a long term agreement or trading star defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson will clear up some cap space this year.

Nikki Charlesworth – The Jets O-Line starters take up a huge percentage of the total cap yet their performance over the last couple of seasons has been inconsistent to say the least. This is the most obvious area to look at for restructuring contracts or cutting players to free up space. D’Brickashaw Ferguson in particular, takes up the third most cap space of the entire team and is the ninth best paid left tackle in the league however this doesn’t seem to match up with his level of performance.  Brick is a Jet through and through, but if he doesn’t agree to a restructure, he will surely have to be cut as he is no longer proving he is worth the 9% ($14.1million) of cap space he takes up. Breno Giacomini is another candidate along the O-line for restructuring or cutting although the impact on the cap space will be far less.

John HargadenIt is a tough decision for Mike Maccagnan and company as it comes to creating additional cap space. For me, it all starts with D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He has been a career Jet since drafted since 2006. In the last few years, there is no doubt that his play has declined. Ferguson needs to either restructure his deal or face being cut. I hope he does agree to a restructure to free up some more money. I do get the feeling however he could be cut.  The reason why I say that is based on the fact that coming into the next off season in 2017, the Jets already have a good bit of cap space and the Jets may not be willing to cut into that money just yet.

Alex Kaczynski – Per Saturday morning, the Jets only had $2.8 Million left of their cap space, not reflecting their two recent signings of McLendon and Jenkins. Maccagnan has to either rework the contacts, consuming a large percentage of cap space, or cut players from the team. Ferguson and Giacomini are the most obvious candidates to be either cut or restructured. D’Brickashaw is taking up roughly $14 million in cap space this year, but with his declining play over the past few years it’s hard to justify his ranking as the third highest paid player for 2016. I would not be surprised if he does get cut, at this stage in his career he is replaceable, but I hope they do restructure. The only other place I could see a chance to free up cap would be a Wilkerson departure, but with the recent reports of his “ahead of schedule rehab”, I believe he is staying put for now.

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports