As many sources have reported, the Salary Cap for the upcoming season is scheduled to be set at around $120 million. This would be roughly $8 million less than the cap number from the last capped year of 2009> As the Jets have many free agent decisions to make, it would be pertinent to check out exactly how they can work around the cap. Hopefully this explanation will be helpful.
Per the excellent nyjetscap.com, the Jets current salary cap figure is at $101,136,985 for the top 51 players on the team. To start off with there wont be at least 10-15 of those players (no name guys like Dennis Landolt, Brandon Long etc.) who wont make the final cut.
If we are to remove, lets say, 13 of those salaries (each at $330 k) that would lop off $4.29 million leaving the Jets with around a $97 million cap figure and $23 million to spend.
As I understand it, this number can easily be shaved down even further if the Jets rework Sanchez's monster contract (cap value of $17.75 million) to have the moneys come at other points of his deal. Supposedly this shouldn't be too difficult.
Additionally, the Jets may attempt to get Bart Scott to take a paycut (something that has been argued ad nauseum here on GGN). The Jets can also cut a guy like Bryan Thomas who is taking up $3.7 million on the cap. Both these moves, if done, would greatly increase the Jets cap flexibility.
Even if the Jets don't do these moves (and I'd be shocked if they don't at least rework Sanchez's deal) they still have some, but very limited flexibility when it comes to signing free agents. The numbers listed above, for example, don't include David Harris. He will almost for sure receive $8 million. That would leave the Jets with just $15 million to spend.
At that number it would be almost impossible for the Jets to keep both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes as they would probably combine to take up nearly the entire $15 million alone. This would also probably signal the end of Antonio Cromartie and (sadly) mean no Nnamdi Asomugha. Oh well.
The Jets at the very least have a few other positions to fill so it would be wise if they leave over at least a little space. Brodney Pool, Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo are all free agents and it would make sense for the Jets to try and bring back at least 2 of them. They'll need to take care of the punter and kicker spots. They might want to resign either Shaun Ellis or Trevor Pryce. The Jets pass rush is still non-existent so they might want to pick up an outside free agent to help.
Bottom line: the Jets are gonna be in major trouble if they don't rework some of these contracts or cut some dead weight like Bryan Thomas.
Luckily, Tanny has always been amazing when it comes to this stuff. Hopefully he proves his weight in gold again.