New York Jets Back to Bad Spending Ways in Free Agency

By Dan Pizzuta
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For the New York Jets with less power apparently comes less responsibility.

The cap struggles of the Jets have been widely documented and even made one idiot writer suggest the lack of money to spend might save the Jets from spending it unwisely. The Jets couldn’t wait to prove that guy wrong.

This stems from New York coming to terms on a three-year, $6.9 million contract with running back Mike Goodson. The breakdown of the contract isn’t yet known, but just by simple division the contract breaks down to $2.3 million per year.

On the surface $2.3 million does not seem like a lot of money, but in the running back market it is. Rashard Mendenhall just signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Mendenhall is not the greatest back in the league, but the difference between Mendenhall and Goodson is not $200,000.

Let’s now do an exercise listing running backs who will be making less than $2.3 million for the 2013 season: 

Donald Brown, Andre Brown, Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram, Doug Martin, LeGarrette Blount, David Wilson, Jonathan Dwyer, Darius Reynaud, Shane Vereen, LaMichael James, Daniel Thomas, DeMarco Murray, Stevan Ridley, Vick Ballard, Jacquizz Rodgers, Alfred Morris, Bryce Brown and Daryl Richardson. 

You can now raise your hand if you would rather have Goodson than any running back on that list.

Go ahead.

Don’t be shy.

You can raise it if you want.

Still no one?

The common denominator in most of the contracts above is a lot of them are still on rookie deals. It’s more than likely the Jets could draft a running back—in any round—and receive the same or more on-field value than what they just picked up in Goodson. Even the first round running backs—still a move many smart teams won’t do—are on lower annual salaries than what the Jets just gave Goodson.

Th Jets probably could have survived this upcoming season with Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and a sixth-round running back. With running backs more likely than any other position to produce productive players in the late rounds of the draft, that’s not a crazy idea.

What’s crazy is to give $2.3 million per year to a back who has had over 100 carries in a season once and sees most of his value and perceived versatility from one year as a mediocre return man—or if the Jets really liked Goodson, there’s no way if they waited a week this contract isn’t 50 percent off.

What makes this signing worse is the opportunity cost involved. With giving Goodson $2.3 million per year, that’s $2.3 million the Jets can’t use on another need like a veteran linebacker or safety. In reality the Jets wasted about $4 million with this signing—about $1.8 million in monetary value wasted between the equal play of Goodson and a drafted rookie and the $2.3 million the Jets can’t use somewhere else.

Smart teams aren’t spending unnecessary money on running backs anymore. There was hope for this new regime, but they showed which side of that line they’re on at the moment.


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