As if a 5-11 season wasn’t hard enough for Jets fans, the offseason isn’t looking a whole lot better. The Jets were one of six franchises not to have a player named in the 2017 Pro Bowl, they have no quarterback, have recently cut ties with Fitzpatrick and find themselves around $7 million over the salary cap which means there are many more names to follow out the door in New York.
The news from New York this morning is that another player has already followed, left tackle Ryan Clady is now a free agent. The team informed Clady’s agent that they will not pay a $1 million roster bonus which means he is now joining the current names heading towards free agency.
The Jets have cleared $10 million in cap space by cutting Clady which will bring them under the projected salary cap for 2017, but not by much. Clady is 30 years old and was acquired in a trade from the Broncos 10 months ago. They were not successful in convincing him to take a pay cut after he missed the final seven games of the season with a torn rotator cuff. Clady has had plenty of injury problems over recent years and only played in 18 games between 2013 to 2015, so safe to say it was a smart move by the Jets.
The problems are looming though, there is now a gaping hole in the LT spot, there is no apparent quarterback with Fitzpatrick a free agent and Geno Smith soon scheduled to follow him. The now starting LT Ijalana and RG Winters are also free agents.
On top of all this they need to continue to clear up more cap space before looking at bringing in new faces, that means veterans will have to go. LT Clady is now gone and RT Giacomini will be 32 years old, cutting him will save $4.5 million.
Looking at the offense first, there is Nick Mangold who will be 33 years old, he has been a long term started for the Jets and would be a big loss of leadership in the roster. However they would make potential savings of $6.675 million. Eric Decker is 30 years old and would save $8.75 million, Brandon Marshall is 33 years old and would save $7.5 million. RB Matt Forte is 31 years old with an MCL injury and will save $5.0 million.
These are high profile players who are eating up a lot of cap space, cutting them may be the only option but it would make it hard to land a good QB. So what about the defense?
CB Darrelle Revis takes up a whopping $15.333 million in cap space. Revis has declined in a big way and he is one of the most likely players to be cut despite how much the fans loved him (apart from that one time he went to New England and won a Super Bowl). He was terrible last season, a shell of the shut down corner he once was. He could take a pay cut or move to either a free safety or No.2 corner but I don’t see that happening. Revis is stubborn, he won’t want to move down, time for the Jets to move on.
Combine Revis with CB Buster Skrine who takes up $8.5 million and FS Gilchrist who takes up $6.625 million and you have the worst secondary in the league. Gilchrist is coming off a serious knee injury and his productivity has been low. Skrine has a lot of dead money attached, he could be cut if they want to overhaul the secondary completely.
Cutting Revis will save $9.3 million, Skrine will save $3.5 million and Gilchrist will save $5.3 million. Sure there is dead money floating around in there but for the Jets, every cent counts right now.
There are plenty of decisions to make in New York, the only way they can move forward will be by parting with some of these marquee players so they can land a good quarterback in free agency and overhaul gaps left on the roster. In an ideal world they will hang on to Decker, surround him with young receivers, get a good quarterback and overhaul the secondary completely. Following LT Clady, the most likely players to be cut next by the Jets will be Revis and Marshall.
UPDATE: Darrelle Revis has been charged with four first degree felonies and one misdemeanour after allegedly being involved in a fight with two men last weekend. According to a docket sheet filed Thursday night he is facing two counts of aggravated assault, charges of robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and terroristic threats.
His attorney Blaine Jones has said that he was ”physically assaulted while at that location by a group of at least five people” and that he “feared for his safety.” Jones told Associated Press that once a warrant was issued he would arrange for Revis to turn himself in.