A flurry of moves in February and now June means that the New York Jets are slated to have the most salary cap flexibility of any team heading into 2018. Welcome news, certainly, as long-suffering (and jaded) fans get ready for a season that might just be epically bad.
Of Kotite proportions bad.
The cutting of Jets mainstay linebacker David Harris on Tuesday along with pricey free agent wide receiver Eric Decker means that the Jets have already waived a white flag on this upcoming season with an eye towards an NFL draft next spring stocked with quarterbacks. But it also means that the team can carry plenty of cap space into a solid free agency class.
Something that this team needs to do and get right.
“Following Harris’ release, the Jets cap room should be around $13 million factoring in the eventual signing of Jamal Adams. Once Decker is officially released it will rise to about $20 million. Most of this money will be carried over to 2018 barring a surprise extension for someone like Sheldon Richardson,” said Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com. The website is dedicated to tracking the contracts and salary projections for all 32 NFL teams. “If the cap grows at a similar rate the Jets will likely go into the 2018 offseason with $85 million plus in cap room.”
Coupled with a young team and some solid role players mean that the latest Jets rebuild could go into overdrive soon.
By comparison, that number would have given the Jets the third largest war chest in this past offseason’s free agency arms race. This is a young team now and one with few veteran pieces, although there is hope.
They have rebuilt their secondary this offseason and have also brought in new pieces along the offensive line over the past two seasons.
While there are needs throughout the team, a strong offseason in 2018 and some flashing of cash along with a good draft means that the Jets aren’t many years away from being competitive.
The timing of the news to release Harris and Decker is a bit puzzling as moves like this usually come in February and not near summer vacation. But the timing likely had nothing to do with any cap flexibility, something Fitzgerald concedes.
“The timing is definitely strange. There is nothing that could have really happened between February and now to make the Jets do these moves now rather than back before free agency,” Fitzgerald said. “It makes you think that the Jets either didn’t want to appear to have cap room to spend in free agency or for whatever reason made a late change to their goals for this season and embraced a full rebuild rather than keeping a few veterans around in what was likely going to be a wasted season anyway.”