Well, now that the draft is over, we finally know (at least somewhat) how our team looks. Coming into the draft our DL was old, short on talent and athleticism and lacking depth. All that has changed with the additions of Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis. We can now effectively take DL off our offseason wish list. We also added a RB in Bilal Powell, which may (hopefully) lead to the end of the road for LT. We also added a couple of receivers in Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight to help with our lack of back end depth at WR and the potential loss of Brad Smith. Greg McElroy was brought in, presumably to take Kellen Clemens spot as our 3rd string QB.
The Jets, however, failed to land an OLB to help with pass rushing issues and didnt pick up a DB to help with loss of potential depth at those positions.
OK. So a couple of months ago, prior to the lockout, I wrote a piece on how the Jets could approach free agency and manage to keep Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes while also getting Nnamdi Asomugha and Mathias Kiwanuka.
This piece was written under the assumption that there would be a salary cap in place (which I placed at $148 million). It was also written prior to the Jets cutting a multitude of players and obviously prior to the Jets draft.
Things changed a lot since then. It now appears that if the Federal Appeals Court issues a stay at some point in the coming week (hope and pray folks) that the lockout will be lifted and free agency will start. If so, there will most likely be no cap. This would obviously help the Jets. An additional thing that can help the Jets is that although there will be no cap, as was the case in 2010, it is unlikely that the Final 8 rules would apply, as that would be bad for the owners on antitrust grounds.
Following is a look at how we can potentially approach free agency
(cap numbers courtesy of http://nyjetscap.com/salary.html)
The Jets current cap figure, including a whole bunch of guys who wont make the team, stand at $99.8 million (top 51). Assuming we don't get rid of any of those 51 players (which we'll get rid of plenty) that gives us roughly $48 million to spend, even assuming the $148 million number.
Let's say (I have no real idea on this) that the Jets draft costs them $5 million more. We're now standing at $104.8 million.
Now, let's take a look at resigning our free agents. Numbers are purely speculative obviously.
Santonio Holmes ($8 mil)
Braylon Edwards ($6 mil)
David Harris ($10 mil)
Drew Coleman ($1 mil)
Brodney Pool ($2 mil)
Wayne Hunter ($1.5 mil)
Rob Turner ($.6 mil)
Trevor Price ($.6 mil)
Steve Weatherford ($1 mil)
James Ihedigbo ($1 mil)
That would add $31.7 mil to our total, coming out at $136.5 million. This would leave us $11.5 million from our proposed cap of $148 million. This would also mean we would not be resigning Antonio Cromartie, Shawn Ellis, Brad and Eric Smith, Nick Folk, T-Rich and Lance Laury.
Here are a few more moves we can do prior to signing outside free agents.
Cut LT (savings of $2.425 mil) Now that we drafted Powell we don't need 4 backs. Cimini said Rex didn't sound convincing that LT will return. LT's production majorly dropped off as the year went on last year. It wouldnt be a huge loss.
Restructure Bart Scott (save $2.5 mil) Probably won't happen but it very well could. If there's anybody who can convince him to do it for the good of the team, it'd be Rex.
I'd love to cut Bryan Thomas (savings of $3.7 mil) but with us not drafting an OLB, I think we need him to stick around.
If we do these 2 moves (LT and Bart) we'd save another roughly $5 million off the cap. Our number would now be down to $131.5, or $16.5 million away from our target number.
Outside Free Agents
Nnamdi Asomugha ($13 mil)
Mathias Kiwanuka ($2.5 mil)
This would take up $15.5 million and still leave us $1 million short of $148 to use on another player. Keep in mind that there probably won't be a salary cap so we could probably spend even more and worry about the cap next year, when it'd be easier to cut guys like Calvin Pace.
Also keep in mind that this is w/o getting rid of the salaries of numerous guys on the cap list who have no chance at making the roster.
Here's how our depth would look.
QB: Sanchez, Brunell, McElroy
RB: Greene, McKnight, Powell
WR: Edwards, Holmes, Cotchery, Kerley, McKnight, Turner
TE: Keller, Mulligan, Cumberland
OL: Brick, Mangold, Slauson, Moore, Ducasse, Hunter, Turner, Purdum
DL: Pouha, Devito, Pryce, Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Pitoitua, Dixon, Gilbert
LB: Harris, Scott, Pace, Thomas, Kiwanuka, Westerman, Mauga, Satele
S: Leonhard, Pool, Lowery, Digs, Emmanuel Cook
CB: Revis, Asomugha, Coleman, Wilson, Cole
That's 53 players for you.