The trade deadline is less than twelve hours away in the NFL. One big name, Vernon Davis, has a new team. There are a few rumors swirling around other big names. Most will not pan out. There has not been much trade buzz around the Jets, and there is a very good reason. The Jets do not have the cap space to add a big name.
It is difficult to find an exact accounting of each team's cap situation. There are estimates available, however. The ones I have found suggest the Jets have somewhere between $2 million and $4 million of cap space.
You might hear about a big name available and want the Jets to jump on that player, but the team cannot afford to take on a big or even a moderate salary. The money the Jets can use is less than that $2 million to $4 million. They need to have some money in reserve in case somebody needs to be signed in case of injury. For example, injuries at quarterback this week might force them to sign somebody. In the future, injuries at another position might force them to sign somebody else. They need cap space in reserve.
The Jets cannot really afford to take on a big salary for next season either. We do not know exactly what the NFL salary cap will be next season so we can only estimate. The ones I have seen put them somewhere between $8 million and $9 million. This is before factoring in a potential new contract for Muhammad Wilkerson and figuring out what to do with other contributors like Damon Harrison.
This is not to say the Jets have compromised their long-term salary cap situation. They have not. There are things the team can do to open up space. Quinton Coples and Antonio Cromartie are looking like obvious cap casualties who between them would open up just under $16 million. After 2016, there is a lot of flexibility.
What I am saying, however, is the Jets decided to spend in the offseason to upgrade the roster. It is difficult to argue with that. In doing so, they committed to their current roster with a tweak here or there through next season. Adding an extra big contract to the mix actually might start to compromise their cap situation in the future because of the maneuvering they would need to do to fit such a player under the cap.
So while I see some trade discussion about this big name or that big name, keep in mind it is not likely. Any trade the Jets make will likely be for a player with a small salary. And if we are talking about the gentleman pictured above as a possible trade target, that is not such a bad thing anyway.