The New York Jets may have a bigger problem than uncertainty at the quarterback position next year. According to ESPN’s John Clayton, the Jets are a league-high $19.4 million over the 2013 cap. Although it’s not set in stone, the salary cap in 2013 is estimated to be around $121 million.
The Jets will be able to create some wiggle room in cap space next season by cutting safety Eric Smith, linebackers Calvin Pace and Bart Scott, and offensive tackle Jason Smith. Those moves would free up $30.7 million in cap space and allow the team to bring in free agents as well as sign current players to new contracts. However, cutting the five players would leave the Jets with only 10 starters under contract.
The good news for the Jets is that each team is allowed to “carryover” unused cap room from 2012 into 2013. The Jets have $3.4 million to carry over to 2013, lessening the impact.
The Jets could allocate the money they’ll have available in 2013 to improve positions on the offensive side of the ball by signing free agents. If they’re looking to make a big splash (which the Jets normally do), they could seek out the services of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings or Dwayne Bowe of the Kansas City Chiefs, who will both be free agents next season. Second tier receivers like Domenik Hixon (New York Giants), Deion Branch (New England Patriots), and Devery Henderson, (New Orleans Saints) could be options as well.
A chunk of the money, though, should be spent to sign a big name general manager who is adept at evaluating talent and has knowledge of cap space. I know that’s a tall order, but the Jets cap situation is in flux and bringing in a football/cap guy is exactly what the Jets need.