Tis the season for publishing mock offseasons. Mock drafts, mock rosters, mock cap management. It's fun to read these and fun to try to figure out the best course of action for the Jets new GM, whomever that may be, but I would suggest a few modest guidelines for anyone who wishes to avoid their mock being mocked.
There is such a thing as a salary cap, and if you prepare a mock roster without bothering to make even a cursory attempt to wrestle with its implications, your mock is not very useful. By most reckonings, you will find the best Jets cap information on the web here: http://www.nyjetscap.com/salary13.html. The Jets are currently approximately $20 million over the projected 2013 salary cap. If your suggestion is to keep virtually everyone on the current roster and add 3 or 4 star free agents, it is not difficult to conclude your mock deserves to be mocked.
Draft Class Cap Numbers
A full draft class costs approximately $5-6 million in cap space. If your mock roster has a draft class included but no cap space assigned to account for it, your mock deserves to be mocked.
53 Man Rosters
A full NFL roster has 53 slots. If your mock roster has 30 slots filled, then you have 23 open roster spots. However you choose to fill those slots, they will cost you a minimum of $ half a million in cap space per slot. So if you fill up your cap number and do not account for multiple open roster spots, your mock deserves to be mocked.
Nearly every NFL team leaves $3 or 4 million of cap space open every year for the inevitable in season moves required to deal with injuries and other contingencies. If your mock roster fills up the cap to the last dollar with zero wiggle room, your mock deserves to be mocked.
In the real world trades have to work for both sides. If you assume that the Jets are going to fleece the other team in trades, such as, for example, trading Tebow to Jacksonville for MJD, and Jacksonville assumes most of MJD's contract, your mock deserves to be mocked. As a corollary, trading Tebow and/or Sanchez at all presents special problems. Trading Tebow assumes there will be more than one team interested, since the Jets are nearly certain to cut him, and no team would willingly trade something for Tebow if they are nearly certain to be able to pick him up for nothing when he gets cut. So if you are suggesting trading Tebow to Jacksonville for a draft pick, please explain why the Jags would want to give up a pick and take on Tebow's $1.5 million salary when if they simply wait for him to be cut they can save the pick and negotiate a lower salary.
Likewise, for Sanchez, trading him has serious cap implications, both for the Jets and for their proposed trading partner. If you are suggesting trading him and the trading partner will pick up his full $8 million+ base salary, please explain why any GM in his right mind would pay a backup QB top 10 starter money. And if you are proposing the Jets pick up most or all of Sanchez's salary, please provide for the major cap hit that would entail for the Jets. Likewise, if you are proposing trading for somebody like Alex Smith or Matt Flynn, please factor in the major cap implications that assuming their large base salaries would have on the Jets.
When putting together mock drafts, don't assume all your favorite players are going to miraculously fall down the board and into the Jets lap. If your guy is projected to go late 1st/early 2nd round and you have the Jets selecting him in the 4th, your mock deserves to be mocked. Also, when projecting draft day trading up or trading back, it would be wise to consult a standard draft pick value chart to make sure your suggested trades are within reasonable proximity of fair value on the chart. If you don't, your mock deserves to be mocked.
Well, that entails most of the biggest issues I see with mocks. If you make some reasonable attempt to stay within these guidelines, your mock will likely deserve special attention as a realistic portrait of what the 2013 Jets might look like. It will also save your hard work from the inevitable "this is completely unrealistic" comments and debates.
What about all of you? Are there things you'd like to see (or not see) in the avalanche of mocks we can all expect over the next 4 months?