Alright, children, here's my entry for my mock. I hope you enjoy, and keep quiet if you don't ;)
Step One: Restructuring!
We have a financial situation that Greece would feel bad about. After all of our obvious cuts, we have a free agency budget that I would like to describe as depressingly meager. Right now, we are at (estimated):
Total Cap Space: $7,486,239
Free Agency Space (Without rookie budget): $2,565,761
Here are my extra cuts and restructuring:
Well, there's failed experiments and there's crash and burn experiments, and Small Time Timmy Jim falls into the latter. He won't be a Jet next year, and he won't be traded for.
Savings: $1.055 mil
Sione Pouha- PAY CUT:
I believe that what the Jets have done up to this point in regards to cuts have shown a want to keep Pouha. He's a lifetime Jet, and both sides understand the situation. Pouha's market value is about $2 mil at best, and he's earning $5 mil. The Jets have dead money if they cut him, and Pouha has less money on a different team if they cut him. A pay cut is a win win for both teams. A simple 2.5 mil pay cut is in order.
Savings: $2.5 mil
Santonio Holmes-PAY CUT: The Jets have already approached Holmes about this. I think here is where the Jets play hardball. Holmes has his 7.5 million guaranteed, but his contract has a certain clause in it that causes that money to be reduced if he signs anywhere else. So, if the Jets cut him, he gets 7.5 million from them, but if he signs for 5 million, the Jets only owe him 2.5. There will be resistance to taking a pay-cut, but the Jets can use this leverage so that Holmes agree to a ~%6 mil pay-cut and stay put on the Jets for here and the future.
Savings: $5.9 mil
Nick Mangold- RESTRUCTURE: By guaranteeing the roster bonus for Mangold and prorating it over 5 years, the jets can save 2.4 mil in cap space and only add 600k in future costs.
Savings: $2.4 mil
Total Extra Room: $11.855 mil
Current Free Agent Space: $13,520,761 mil
Step 2: Free Agency
So, after our set of negotiations and staredowns, we have a bit of free agency cash to play with. We have quite a few holes. Scratch that, a lot of holes. We needs and free agents at QB, HB, FB, TE, LG, RG, RT, RE, OLB, FS,SS and K. We can expect 4-6 of those holes to be addressed in the draft. That leaves about 8 or so free agents for us to sign. With about $11 million dollars. This is what they invented the Moneyball style. We have to focus on under the radar free agents, like those that had down years in bad schemes or very successful backups. Here's what I project:
QB David Garrard: He's not my pick, but he seems a given now. He is not that bad of a veteran competition option, and may compete for one of the three roster spots at quarterback. He won't get any guaranteed money, so there's little risk.
Cost: $1.125 mil
LG Matt Slauson: The Jets had one of the best lines last year in my eyes, and I am all for continuity. Slauson is a top notch pass blocker, a very valuable aspect in the West Coast scheme. I believe he can be signed with a slight bump in his past year salary.
Cost: $1.126 mil
RG Brandon Moore: Brandon Moore is one of those lifetime Jets that should be kept. He was one of the best guards in the league last year, rated very highly by ProFootballFocus. He and his butt should be retained.
Cost: $2 mil
S Corey Lynch: This may be my favorite pick this draft. Corey Lynch has been a spectacular special teamer for the Chargers and has been in relief play. In his limited time, he accounted for 46 tackles and 2 picks. He will be a strong competitor for a starting spot.
S Glover Quin: Glover Quin is a hard hitting under the radar safety that can fill LaRon Landry's shoes excellently. He can take care of one of the free safety spots. Last year, he contributed 84 tackles and 2 picks.
Cost: 1.4 mil
TE Jeff Cumberland: The Jets have already tendered Cumberland.
Cost: $1.32 mil
LS Tanner Purdum: We need a long snapper.
RT Austin Howard: I'm a big Howard fan, and think that he has a lot of room for improvement and is a quality starter in today's NFL. Of course, you may not agree with me. Sure, he had some pass blocking issues in the start. I believe the Jets will use a second round tender on Howard.
Cost: $2.02 mil
OLB Victor Butler: Victor Butler is another Moneyball like pick. As a backup in Dallas behind Anthony Spencer and Demarcus Ware, he has flashed some brilliance. In limited stats, he's racked up 21 tackles, 3 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He could definitely be a quality starter for the Jets.
Cost: 1.2 mil
Step 3: THE DRAFT!
We send first(9)
Logic: The 49ers have a lot of ammo and few needs, corner being one of them. They want to jump up into the high rounds so they can grab one of the elite cornerback prospects, either Rhodes, Trufant, Banks or Milliner. We want to trade down so we can adress more needs.
First Round, 31st overall: Matt Barkley, QB, USC: Calm down, buddy. Pitchfork down. I believe Matt Barkley is the best quarterback in the draft. You, probably, don't. I know he's a USC quarterback, and that he had a down year, and that doesn't have a cannon. But let me tell you what he is. He's a smart, accurate, prodcutive quarterback that can lead the Jet West Coast to the playoffs. It seems to me that every year around draft time that people start caring about the wrong aspects of quarterbacks. Quarterbacks are a totally different beast than any other NFL position. It is much more of an instinctual and cerebral role than say a pass rusher or a running back. A quarterback has to be able to make reads and analyze a defense. However, it seems all people care about is the ability to launch it 80 yards down the field. Barkley has a lot of great attributes. He is fantastic under pressure. He has a great ability to stay calm in the pocket and deliver sharp throws. He has a nice, quick release. He can make the tough throws, despite the popular opinion that he never had to make them with the receivers he had (Mind you, it really was just Marquise Lee and Robert Woods, while Geno Smith had Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey against much weaker secondaries). And I've seen him make some really impressive throws down field. He has high scores in the Football Outsiders rookie quarterback projection formula. I think he is a perfect fit having run the West Coast for four years and can lead the Jets to the playoffs.
Second Round, 34th overall: Alex Okafor, OLB, Texas: If you are still here after reading my Barkley argument, I'd like to talk about Alex Okafor. Okafor is slightly under the radar, but don't let that fool you. He's a disruptive pass rusher, and can bring the heat the Jets have been missing for a long time. An impressive burst and array of rushing moves makes him quite the defender. He's shown it, notching 12.5 sacks and 16.5 TFLs. At the Alamo Bowl, he really exploded with 4.5 sacks. He's a keeper.
Second Round, 39th overall: Giovani Bernard, HB, UNC: Giovani Bernard is my favorite back in the draft. Initially the highest rated back in the draft, he has flown under the radar compared to risers like Le'veon Bell and Eddie Lacy. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry on 184 carries and 10.6 yards per reception on 47 catches. A dangerous backfield weapon, Bernard can add an extra explosive dimension to the Jets West Coast offense.
Third Round, 72nd overall :Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State: Gavin Escobar is one of my favorite sleepers. He's the third best tight end in my mind. He was a dangerous weapon for San Diego State, racking up . He can be an excellent 1-2 punch with Cumberland in a league that is increasingly becoming a two tight end business.He has the height at 6-6, and the production with 543 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Third Round, 95th overall :Tyrann Mathieu, S, LSU: The Honey Badger is a first round talent in a bad situation. He's made some mistakes, but he appears to have understood this and turned around. The Jets can be rewarded with a safety with fantastic ball skills and a dangerous returner. He can compete with Lynch for the safety spot, though he may not initially get it because of the transition from corner to safety.
QB: Matt Barkley
HB: Giovani Bernard
TE: Gavin Escobar
WR: Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley
LG: Matt Slauson
C: Nick Mangold
RG: Brandon Moore
RT: Austin Howard
LDE: Muhammad Wilkerson
RDE: Quinton Coples
NT: Sione Pouha
LOLB: Alex Okafor
ROLB: Victor Butler
FS: Corey Lynch
SS: Glover Quin
P: Rob Malone
Comment below and I'll be happy to respond and debate.