In a surprising turn of events, it appears the Jets will send starting right guard Brandon Moore packing. Hutchinson has the specifics.
The Jets, continuing a dizzying salary purge, have told the agent of right guard Brandon Moore of their plans to release him, according to a person with knowledge of the team's thinking. The move saves the Jets roughly $7 million in cap space and the team is now approximately $27 million under the projected 2007 salary cap of $124 million.
The Jets met with Moore's representatives this evening.
Moore, a six-year veteran, was scheduled to receive a $7 million roster bonus on March 5. The move to jettison him was a surprise since he was the Jets' best run blocker and new coach Rex Ryan plans to run the ball next season.
Moore started at right guard since the 2004 season. He did have a good 2008 campaign, but Hutchinson might be overstating his importance. The thought he was the best run blocker on the squad is debatable. A lot of the credit for his improvement has to go to Damien Woody, who solidified the right tackle slot next to Moore. Brandon's play was average at best when coupled with the likes of Anthony Clement, Adrien Jones, and Jason Fabini in seasons past. He played to the level of the talent surrounding him. While he would not hurt a quality offensive line, his play was only above average when Woody or Kareem McKenzie played next to him. If this frees up $7 million, it seems like this move can be justified.
It is still surprising, though. The club is well under the cap. While Moore may not have been the most important player on the offensive line, that unit developed great chemistry during the season and was one of the best at run blocking in the game. It would have made sense to keep the band together. Brandon may not be an All Pro but had plenty of season left at 28 years old. In addition, his contract became a relative bargain in terms of the cap after 2009.
It will be interesting to see where the Jets go from here. Gang Green now has over $25 million of free cap space. This team might be a major player in free agency for the second straight year. Perhaps this will shift Damien Woody inside, and the Jets will go after a free agent tackle. This might not be the best move since Woody's problems handling interior linemen in Detroit preceded his shift to tackle. There might be a guard the Jets think they can find for a cheaper price. Maybe the team is set on taking Oklahoma's Duke Robinson or LSU's Herman Johnson early in the Draft.
If there is a plan in place to find a quality replacement who will take up less cap space, this is a good move. If the Jets are just trying to penny pinch and are set going with an inferior internal option like Robert Turner, this is a head-scratcher. Moore's play in 2008 might have artificially inflated his value, but he was still a young quality starter, better than anything currently on the roster. The jury is out on this one.