The Jets have an important offseason ahead. Sure, there are several players hitting free agency they need to make decisions on. But what’s most important of all is finding a veteran quarterback to steer the offense.
The other thing that needs to happen is for Gang Green to clear some payroll. Even with the NFL setting a record-high salary cap number of $224.8 million for 2023, the Jets are nearly $3 million over the cap. If they want to bring aboard someone like Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr, general manager Joe Douglas needs to make room.
How is he going to get that done, though? SNY’s Conor Hughes provided some thoughts on eight players who could factor into the Jets’ salary cap maneuvering — whether it’s via roster cuts or contract restructuring. Here are those players:
– Wide receiver Corey Davis. After signing a three-year, $37.5 million deal with New York in 2021, one of Davis’ biggest issues has been staying on the field. While cutting him would incur a $666K penalty, it’d also save the Jets $10.5 million. Hughes notes that Davis is the most likely Jets salary-cap casualty.
– Wide receiver Braxton Berrios ($5 million)
– Safety Ashtyn Davis ($2.7 million)
– Special-teamer Justin Hardee ($2.35 million)
– Defensive end Carl Lawson. Making this roster cut would save the Jets $15.4 million, while only incurring a $333K penalty. Hughes notes that it’s more likely for New York and Lawson to discuss an extension. He appears to be in the team’s future plans, and agreeing to a new contract would lower his cap hit.
– Linebacker C.J. Mosely. New York’s veteran leader on defense has a team-high cap hit of $21.46 million. The Jets just reworked Mosely’s contract in September to create some flexibility. If they did decide to cut him, it’d free just $6.572 million, with the rest accounting as a dead charge. So, maybe another restructuring is on the horizon.
– Safety Jordan Whitehead ($7.25 million in savings, $2.98 million penalty) and tackle Duane Brown ($4.9 million in savings, $6.3 million dead) are the final two names Hughes mentioned.
The Jets clearly have some work to do. But as we can see, several options are out there to not only get themselves under the cap but to also create enough space to make the moves on their offseason to-do list.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.