The first day of free agency in the NFL has become a day when throwing around money is celebrated. As many teams invited new players to jump into their Scrooge McDuck-like money piles, the New York Jets sat in the corner and observed.
That’s probably for the best. Would the Jets like to have a little more cap room to make a couple moves? Of course. But not having the cap room of the Miami Dolphins might be a good thing this offseason.
In a market that doesn’t truly have an elite name—but boasts tons of recently released veteran players—the Jets could be in the perfect position to wait for other teams to shell out the big money deals in the early stages of free agency. The Jets could benefit from the market drying up and some veteran players wanting to take one-year deals and test the market again next offseason.
In a different scenario, with a bunch of money and a lackluster offense last season, the old Jets probably would have jumped in a bidding war with Miami for wide receiver Mike Wallace. While that would be great for Mike Wallace’s bank account, it would be awful for the Jets. Remember the last time the Jets threw money at a wide receiver?
A lack of money also potentially stopped the Jets from overpaying Mike DeVito to stay instead of heading to the Kansas City Chiefs or stop them from offering a bigger contract than the Cleveland Browns did for Paul Kruger.
This isn’t to specifically say these aren’t good players unworthy of the contracts they received, but more of the positive effect of the Jets not having money to throw around unwisely as they have in previous offseasons.
The Jets are now in a position to wait a week or two and have veteran players like Karlos Dansby or Kevin Burnett—both recently cut by Miami—at low prices to possibly bring in and mix with younger players brought in through the draft.
This certainly was not an intended consequence of awful cap management in the last few seasons, but this might end up being a positive learning experience that good players can be brought in without having to make a big splash for marquee names.
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