The New York Jets could cut a number of guys currently on the roster in order to improve their cap situation ahead of the 2021 season.
Compared to other organizations, the Jets possess a whopping amount of cap space at the moment. Gang Green currently carries over $75 million in space (per Spotrac) while teams like, say, the crosstown-rival Giants own a little bit more than $8 million.
The Jets’ cap space being at that significant level, however, shouldn’t prevent them from parting ways with a few players in order to further improve their salary cap situation.
Who exactly could the Jets cut this offseason for financial reasons?
WR Jamison Crowder
- 2021 Cap Hit: $11.4 million (largest on the team)
- 2021 Dead Cap: $1.0 million ($10.4 million difference)
This would certainly be a tough decision to make if you’re the Jets front office. Jamison Crowder brings true on-field value from the wide receiver position and would continue to be a reliable passing-game target for Sam Darnold or assist in the development of a rookie quarterback should the Jets draft one in the first round.
However, the Jets could save a noteworthy amount of cap space by parting ways with him and then contribute that money towards the acquisition of a more talented receiver in free agency.
TE Ryan Griffin
- 2021 Cap Hit: $3.3 million
- 2021 Dead Cap: $1.5 million ($1.8 million difference)
Ryan Griffin, after signing a three-year deal with the team, caught just nine balls last season. This is a guy who notched 50 receptions for Houston in 2016, so his passing-game value is definitely declining.
Not to mention, he’s not even the team’s primary tight end, having only taken part in 50% or more of the offensive snaps in three of the 15 games he played in this past season.
Cutting him wouldn’t be a huge blow to the roster, and the Jets could save nearly $2 million in the process.
DL Henry Anderson
- 2021 Cap Hit: $9.5 million
- 2021 Dead Cap: $1.3 million ($8.2 million difference)
Henry Anderson may be too expensive for what he truly brings to the field. His pass-rushing value is decreasing — he racked up seven sacks and 16 quarterback hits in 2018 and has combined for just 1.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits ever since.
The Jets could benefit from just sticking with Quinnen Williams as the top guy on that defensive line and building around him with free-agent pickups or young individuals acquired via the annual draft. New York could additionally find numerous ways to utilize the $8.2 million saved by cutting Anderson.
OT Conor McDermott
- 2021 Cap Hit: $1.2 million
- 2021 Dead Cap: $275,000 ($925,000 difference)
Conor McDermott has one year remaining on his current deal, and given he started just one game this past season, it wouldn’t be a detriment if the Jets cut him instead of giving up over $1 million in cap space.
The team could then just replace him with a late draft pick (New York possesses five selections from rounds 4-7).
OG Alex Lewis
- 2021 Cap Hit: $6.9 million
- 2021 Dead Cap: $1.7 million ($5.2 million difference)
Alex Lewis underwent an off-field issue this past season, of which he actually sought out help. This caused him to sit out a number of games en route to playing in just nine matchups throughout the entire campaign.
Given this issue and the potential opt-out of his contract this offseason, the Jets could move on, save over $5 million in cap space for 2021, and work on replacing him via free agency or the draft.
Not to mention, the Jets already carry depth in the interior of the offensive line, so replacing Lewis wouldn’t need to be that strenuous of an assignment.