Although Ryan Fitzpatrick is still being spotted around New York City, the New York Jets best plan of action revolves around Mike Glennon.
By Robby Sabo
Excluding those who mirror the pockets of one Donald Trump, that feeling of finding yourself in desperate financial straits is a tough one.
You know the feeling.
It could happen at work while on your lunch break, or even at home while lounging on the couch with the mobile phone handy. Whenever it does happen, that feeling of checking your account balance after a few checks have cashed and bills were drawn is one that’ll take the breath right out of your soul from time-to-time.
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It has to feel funny for New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, because that is exactly the same feeling he must be suffering from at this very moment, for his account balance by way of player personnel is frighteningly thin.
According to many sources, the Jets have just $719,000 in total cap space at the current moment. They’re the only team with less than $1 million.
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) April 2, 2016
This is extremely troubling not just for Maccagnan, but Jets fans everywhere, considering their current position in looking to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back as the leader.
What most fans don’t quite understand is how deep a pickle these Jets are currently in. Not even in Mikey Mac’s wildest dreams did he think he’d have to divvy out so much dough to his starting quarterback during the 2016 offseason. Fitzpatrick’s franchise-breaking 31 touchdowns made that happen.
It’s not a simple fix that’ll be resolved by juggling a few contracts here and cutting a few veterans there.
The top name mentioned when the money-saving business is mentioned is D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Brick, who’s slated to make $14.1 million in 2016, is now 32-years of age and whose production has dropped so drastically that he’s often rated as one of the worst starting left tackles in the NFL.
Should Maccagnan cut him, New York will free up $9 million. And this is if they straight-up cut the man. Reworking his deal won’t even sniff the amount of cash needed for the Jets to do their business appropriately.
This number isn’t even close to the space New York needs to sign Fitz, sign impending draft selections, and round-out the rest of the roster.
What’s going to happen will be much, much bigger than simply cutting Ferguson.
There’s one certainty that Jets fans need to understand at this moment in time: The odds on Muhammad Willkerson being shipped out of town are extremely high.
According to a recent report from Brian Costello of the New York Post, despite Maccagnan previously stating that the franchise isn’t “actively” pursuing to trade Big Mo, a source confirmed that they are in the business of fielding offers.
Though Mo has played his way into the hearts of fans everywhere, it’s not hard to see why fielding offers for him is necessary.
His 2016 franchise tag provided him with $15.701 million worth of salary in 2016. This means shipping him out will grant the Jets with a cool $15.701 million to play with.
The problem is this: Teams around the league know the Jets are in desperate need to now trade Wilkerson, so looking for appropriate value in return will be a tall task.
The Harvard product – who is also now the Jets single-season record holder in touchdown passes (31) – wants a lot of money. He’s seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million per season.
That’s not going to happen. Forget the Jets salary-cap problems, it wouldn’t have even happened last offseason when Gang Green had $50 million-plus available.
For argument’s sake, let’s say Fitz and the Jets agree on a deal that sees the cap-hit settle around $9 million this upcoming season.
This would mean not only Ferguson’s outright cut would have to happen, but other creative moves will need to go down as well.
Speaking of creative moves, meet Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon.
Glennon is on the last year of his 4-year, $3.104 million rookie contract. He’s scheduled to make $1.517 million this upcoming season.
Of course, thanks to the Bucs fortunate position of finishing last in the NFL in 2014, they were fortunate enough to pick No. 1 and select Jameis Winston.
This means Glennon is an opportunity to be had – at right cost, of course.
The only reason Glennon is still in Tampa is due to Tampa’s unreasonable asking price for the kid. Their ask of a first or second-round pick for the kid out of N.C. State was entirely too rich for anybody’s blood.
But now, with the 2016 NFL Draft looming closer and Glennon getting ever so close to free agent status, forking over a third or fourth-round pick could be possible.
Should the Jets do that, and believe in him as the starter, their sudden financial woes for 2016 disappear. Wilkerson could be kept (if the right deal doesn’t present itself), and Brick’s contract could possibly be reworked, instead of an outright cut.
The only question would surround whether Todd Bowles and the front office believes in Glennon or not.
He’s no bum, make no mistake about that. In 18 career starts Glennon’s thrown for 4,025 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He’s still only 26-years old and has a career reference coming from Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson (who swears by his former college roommate).
Unlike Fitz, he also has a cannon for an arm.
This new regime doesn’t want to struggle through a season in only their second year on the job. Struggling through a 4-12 or 6-10 season with Geno Smith or Bryce Petty at the helm is not an option for such a veteran-laced personnel grouping.
They want Fitzpatrick back for that sole reason.
Should they believe in Glennon as a potential franchise guy, they could go in that direction.
Whatever happens though, big moves are on the horizon. A few sacrifices won’t get it done.
Odds are, two of these three players won’t be wearing the green and white right now:
- Muhammad Wilkerson
- D’Brickashaw Ferguson
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
Which two of the three will it be?
Your guess is as good as ours right now.