New York Jets: Rex Ryan and the Jets have a lot of work to do. They want to bring back cornerback Antonio Cromartie, wide receivers Santonio Holmes, Brad Smith and Braylon Edwards and some key role players. To do that, they will have to clear out some cap room. The Jets are $1.3 million over the salary cap and have the league's highest payroll at $123.85 million. General manager Mike Tannenbaum has always worked the cap like a puzzle. He would be especially challenged by a $120 million cap.
Would he really be, though? I am not sure the Jets would be in a position to go on a major spending spree like they did after the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Brian Bassett and company over at The Jets Blog have done some really top notch work, though, explaining the options. Rather than just repeating what they say, I refer you to them.
There are a couple of other points I would like to make. First, Clayton is only talking about the scenario where the cap is low. He is not saying this is going to happen. Second, Clayton has a tough job because he has to cover all 32 teams. He does not have the luxury of going in depth studying any one particular team like Jets writers do so he is vulnerable to mistakes and overstatements.
If the general manager was a different guy, I would be worried. Mike Tannenbaum has already worked out of seemingly doomed situations before after the 2005 and 2008 seasons. I remember writers claiming the Jets were in deep trouble after 2008. Tannenbaum quietly worked a few moves, and the Jets actually became big spenders in free agency that year.
Also remember that even if the Jets lose a free agent, Trader Mike has been one of the best in the game buying at bargain basement prices on highly talented players like Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Kris Jenkins, and Antonio Cromartie.