In order to build a playoff contender we need to prioritize needs and set out a budget on said needs.
Nothing concrete, but something reasonable. I have a plan that will allow us to give players their due and keep flexibility down the line. First part is the obvious course of action, we must cut dead weight.
In order to get the most out of our offseason we need to free up cap space. In my analysis I will exclude meaningless camp bodies at first. So I will theoretically "cut" players from the practice squad in my analysis and account for them at the end of my analysis. So, theoretically with some of the more meaningless jets out of the picture you are looking at $26,212,226 to start. I took a look at our roster and what I’m going to prioritize this offseason, through thia I determined which players did not fit into my plan. The notable players we cut or let walk include:
This will leave us with around 62 million in cap and 72.6 million accounting for 32 players, which include:
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, David Harris, Dee Milliner, Quinton Coples, Kyle Wilson, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Dawan Landry, Chris Ivory, Antwan Barnes, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Geno Smith, Benjamin Ijalana, Kenrick Ellis, Tanner Purdum, Demario Davis, Brian Winters, David Nelson, Caleb Schlauderaff, Greg Salas, Josh Bush, Damon Harrison, Antonio Allen, Oday Aboushi, William Campbell, Tommy Bohanon, Ryan Quigley, Matt Sims, Jermaine Cunningham, and Zach Sudfeld.
Step two is to resign our own players. I measured need against price and determined who I would resign as GM, thier priority goes as follows:
1. Austin Howard 4 years 24 million 6.5 million guaranteed with a 3 million signing bonus. His contract breakdown is as follows:
1st and 2nd year=10.5 mil 5 mil guaranteed
3rd and 4th year =13.5 mil 1.5 guaranteed
This contract allows flexibility in his 3rd and 4th year to either cut or extend him depending on his play. It is also a fair price for both sides. He will receive a nice raise, while the Jets will receive a solid RT for an average price. The guaranteed money and signing bonus were added to sweeten the deal and help sway his decision.
2. Nick Folk 3 year 6 million with 3 million guaranteed.
1st year 2 mil 2 guaranteed
2nd year 2 mil 1 guaranteed
3rd year 2 mil 0 guaranteed
I would him given him a few years and I put most of the guaranteed money in the 1st year to give him his money quick, but allow us flexibility later in his contract. He was a very good kicker for us last season and I would like him back for a contract like this. If he were to decline something like this I would easily walk and sign someone for a 1 year deal somewhere in this ball park, probably less. He wants more years so it will cost him in the total amount of dollars. That's just what I would have done to keep him, but a one year 3.56 million deal is fine by me.
3. Leger Douzable 2 years 1.85 million .3 guaranteed.
I have Douzable 3rd on my list because I like the depth he brings up front. After spending this year with our team he seems to fit really well with our players. I gave him a modest contract for two years at .9 mill the first year and .95 the second year. I find that fair to him, but at the same time I don’t want to overpay for a backup. I find this fair to both sides.
4. Calvin Pace 2 years 4 million 1 million guaranteed.
I totally understand why some people would let him walk, but in my plan he will have less snaps and hopefully solid production. He proved that he still has something left in the tank and I believe he can be a solid performer next season. I understand that he may want multiple years so I added a second year with both having only 500,000 guaranteed each year. Essentially we can cut him and lose either 1 million the first year or 500,000 the second, but both years we can save money. And with Orakpo and Worilds off the market he’s our best option for depth
Walls would receive a RFA tender worth almost 1.4 million. I value him a lot after this season and I believe he can be a very solid 2nd corner or 3rd corner in this league. I put the tender on him to make sure he doesn’t walk.
Colon’s situation is simple, he’s hurt but we need depth. He is familiar with the team and the players. That makes me comfortable giving him a 1 year 855,000 contract.
Cumberland is interesting, because he has the talent to be a very good tight end. He hasn’t pulled his talent together so I would give him a 2 year 2.06 million dollar deal. The first season he would make 960,000, but the beauty of the deal is none of it is guaranteed, so we can easily let the guy go if he doesn’t progress.
I give him 1 year contract non-guaranteed worth 645,000. I like him on special teams and for depth at corner.
Now the biggest move of the offseason will be…extending Mo! I know he said he wouldn’t hold out, but I think we should lock him up now. I gave him a 4 year extension putting his contract at 5 year 42 million worth around 7 million the first season and gradually increasing every year. I put most of his guaranteed money in the first three years to provide flexibility later on. I also manage to give him a salary comparable to the best 3-4 Defensive ends in the game.
I also extended David Harris and modify his contract to 2 years 6.6 million. The second year doesn’t have much guaranteed dollars so we can easily cut bait if we need to upgrade next season. This will save cap as he would make 3.9 million less this season.
After all this we now go into free agency looking at 45 million in cap space. On to the fun part, free agency.
Honestly I planned on either signing orakpo or worilds, but that doesn’t seem to be possible now so I changed some things around.
Jarius Byrd/T.J. Ward 4 years 32 million with 8.5 guaranteed and a 4 million dollar signing bonus.
My number one between the two is Byrd. He strikes me a better cover safety and a better fit for our defense. I just think he will stay with the Bills, while I have a good feeling T.J. Ward won’t stay with Cleveland. Of the two I think Ward would be the one I most likely sign because I believe Byrd will be taken off the market before we even look at him. The Jets play many 3 safety looks and consistantly rotate safeties. By adding Ward or Byrd we can rotate Allen and Landry. The contract will average 8 million a year, but the contract will steadily increase each year. Ward will make 7.25 million his first year and then 7.75 the next season. The final two years provide us flexibility as I push the guaranteed dollars in the first two seasons allowing us the ability to easily extend or restructure down the road.
Alterraun Verner 4 years 35 million 10 million guaranteed.
My first thought was to add Worilds or Orakpo and resign Cromartie. In my opinion we would have had a great pass rusher and at worst a solid number 2 corner for a decent amount. I thought adding Verner and one of the pass rushers was unrealistic if we already got one of the top safeties in free agency. Since both of the linebackers are off the market Verner becomes my target. I basically melded the contracts of both Worilds and Cromartie that I envisioned in the first place. I provide Verner with a balance guaranteed dollar amount each year. Not much in the way of flexibility here, but with a high demand for corners these days I thought going too safe was out of the question.
Emmanuel Sanders 4 years 30.5 million 11.75 million guaranteed with a 2 million signing bonus.
Obviously everyone knows why we need help at receiver and why Sanders fits a big need. I gave Sanders some guaranteed money to show him a commitment, but left it flexible. I realize Sanders is a number two reciever, but he would instantly be our best reciever. I initially thought of bringing in Maclin for cheap, but he got 5 million for one year in Philly. I give Sanders a little more than that. I understand why some people wouldnt want to spend as much for Sanders, but when you have the depth chart we have at reciever you become desperate.
Mike Vick 1 year 3 million
Geno needs competition and a mentor. Vick was Geno/Kaepernick/Newton/RGIII/Russell Wilson at a time where no one had seen anything like that. Vick has matured over the years and is smart enough to understand what his role can be. Also if Geno gets hurt I’m more than comfortable with Vick spot starting. I don’t agree that we should look to the draft to upgrade at QB this season. I don’t see anyone that wows me in the 2nd or 3rd rounds, and I refuse to pick a Qb in round 1. If Geno doesn’t improve then we are going QB shopping next season.
Jasper Brinkley 1 years 1 million
Nothing guaranteed, but a good amount to pay a player to be a backup. He has produced in the past and there may be some hope for him to make the team and contribute as a backup. Worse case scenario we cut him and sign someone else to be the backup at a cheaper rate.
Notable Plan B's
If Byrd or Ward sign else where: Brandon Browner 1 Year 4 millionI see Browner as a vercitle player with the ability to move to safety if we need him to. We play many multiple back sets so he would fit right in. He play he can lineup over TE's and cover them pretty well. Kind of a one year rental, but with his big drama with PED's thats the only contract I would sign him for.
If Verner signs else where: Antonio Cromartie 3 Years 16.5 million
A fair price for a player who had a tough season. I think he can still play, but not at a high price tag. I would like him to stay for many reasons, one being his loyalty to the organization. I actually fought with the idea of going with Cro over Verner, but in the end I thought with my head and not my heart.
If Sanders signs else where: Kenny Britt 1 year 1.5 million
The talent he has is obvious, but he hasn't pulled it together. I give him a one year flyer and see where it goes.
If Vick signs else where: Matt Flynn 1 year 1 million
Hey they guy has a history of backing up good quarterback, hopefully his magic rubs off on geno. If not then he's here for a year then gone big deal.
1st round trade down with the Browns at #26. We recieve a first and a 3rd round pick #71
Brandin Cooks WR
This guy wasn't even on my radar at first, but after looking at multiple videos I fell in love with this cat. He has the speed to kill and the quickness obviously, but the thing that attracted my attention is how he attacks the ball. A great receiver doesn’t just catch the football he goes and gets that thing in the air before the defense even realizes it. He has good ball skills and I love his big play ability.
2nd round trade up with the buccaneers at 38. They recieve our 2nd round pick at #49 and our 3rd round pick at #80.
Kelvin Benjamin WR
We need more size at reciever if our top three recievers are Sanders Cooks and Kerley. Benjamin provide size strength and just plain toughness. He plays with the strength of a tightend at the reciever position. He can block well for a reciever, which is a plus with this team. Adding him to the mix would be a great for matchup purposes.I see him potentially becoming a number one reciever. With Sanders Cooks Benjamin and Kerley we will have more fire power and hopefully more competetion in training camp. Hopefully these guys can push each other and become really good
3rd round from the Bucs
C.J. Fiedorowicz TE
We need a starting caliber TE and think CJ provides us with that. He is a big target, a realy BIG target. He will run through you to get more yards, which I love at the TE position. We should pose many matchup problems when adding him to the mix.
3rd round from the Browns
Cyril Richardson OG
My thought process was that we need some more competition at the guard position. I signed Colon as insurance, but I really want a four way battle for two spots between Winters, Aboushi, Campbell, and a Richardson. I believe Idzik drafted those guys to fight for a spot in the future. Idzik has stressed competition so why not have a four man race? Let the best young player win!
Dri Archer RB
Speed kills right? Archer ran well in the 40 and can be had in the later rounds. I don’t believe he can start on offense, but on special teams or in special situations this speed can help big time.
Aaron Lynch DE/OLB
Out of USF, Lynch is an athletic freak. He can possibly be groomed into a player down the road. Since the big time OLB’s are not on the market I decided to draft a project in the later rounds. He can sit behind Pace, Barnes, and Couples and learn from our coaching staff. (I’m a USF alumni so I'm familiar with this guy)
AC Leonard TE.
Twice is nice. I want depth at TE! Some of the best offenses have multiple TE sets. I like Leonard for his speed and skills at TE. I think he has a high ceiling. I can also see him totally flopping and not even making the roster, which is why I resigned Cumberland. Once again why not have a big competition? Four TE’s fight for three spots and we find out who’s got the goods.
With this offseason the one thing you want to see is improvement. Our team needs to make the playoffs, but I don’t like an all or nothing approach. That is what got Mike in trouble when he tried to sign everyone available! Rome wasn’t built in a day and the Jets won’t become a contender in one season. This season is a step to become a good team, not a championship team. If you believe we can become a superbowl team you are fooling yourself. There is hope for the team in the future as long as we spend smart and draft smarter. I’m not a draft guru or anything, but one thing I understand is numbers, and by spend big bucks you lose out on future FA’s and draft picks (They do cost money ya know lol). That means you could lose out on some game changers down the road.
Overall my cap situation looks like this after the draft and free agency.
Year: 2014 Cap Room: $16,077,828
Year: 2015 Cap Room: $45,594,459
Next season there will be some major players for this team that need to be either signed or extended. We need to keep that in mind. The flexible contracts of some of the players I signed can add to the cap next year depending on what you do with them. You can cut one or two and open 10 million easily.
Now once we sign our practice squad players we will be looking at anywhere from 9-10 million. Which allows us flexibility to look at some veteran players down the road if need be. My roster would be as follows.
QB Geno Smith/Mike Vick/Matt Simms
RB Chris Ivory/Bilal Powell/Dri Archer or Jerick Mckinnon
FB Tommy Bohanon
WR Emmanuel Sanders/Brandin Cooks/Kelvin Benjamin/Jeremy Kerley/David Nelson/Stephen Hill/Greg Salas
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz/Jeff Cumberland/AC Leonard/Zach Sudfeld
LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson/Benjamin Ijalana
LG Brian Winters/Willie Colon
C Nick Mangold/ Caleb Schlauderaff
RG Oday Aboushi/Cyril Richardson or Dakota Dozier or Anthony Steen/William Campbell
RT Austin Howard/Ijalana/Aboushi
LE Muhammad Wilkerson
NT Damon Harrison/Kenrick Ellis
RE Sheldon Richardson/Leger Douzable
ROLB Calvin Pace/Antwan Barnes
ILB David Harris/Demario Davis/Jasper Brinkley
LOLB Quinton Coples/Jermaine Cunningham/Aaron Lynch
CB Alterraun Verner/Dee Milliner/Kyle Wilson/Darrin Walls/Isaiah Trufant
FS Jarius Byrd or T.J Ward/Josh Bush
SS Antonio Allen/Dawan Landry