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Big Decision Looming Over Nick Mangold's Contract

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Is the popular Jets lineman in danger of being a cap casualty?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is hard to write, mainly because Nick Mangold is one of the genuine good guys in the league. Nick's been great to the Jets base and GGN in particular, if he's not the most popular Jet, he's pretty close. However none of that hides the fact that the Jets will need to make a tough decision when it comes to his contract next year.

Mangold may miss his 4th game in a row when the Jets host the Patriots this Sunday, his ankle injury hasn't healed as quickly as expected, although he has been seen doing some work today, so at least there is potential for him to play on Sunday.

Now let me make this abundantly clear, I don't want to see Nick Mangold leave the Jets, but the question has to be asked.

The Jets can save $9.1 million of cap space next year if they cut him.$9.1 million for a centre is elite money.

Mangold will be 33 by the time the season rolls around, and the Jets aren't close to competing.

After being an iron man to start his year, he's continued to pick up little niggles the last 2-3 years. As he gets older this will continue. This is the first time he's missed a prolonged portion of the season, but age catches up with players quickly.

His performance has dipped over the last 18 months. He's still good, but he's not elite. He was rated as the 16th best centre last year according to PFF after consistently being in the top 5 for the majority of his career.

However this line is set for big change next year, so would it be wise to make a change that you don't have to make? Clady will almost certainly be gone, you also have to imagine that Breno Giacomini will be a cap casualty. Brian Winters is also in the final year of his contract, and although I imagine the Jets will make a play to bring him back, that's three potential starters you're losing. Do we really want to lose the leader of the line as well?

It may be that the Jets try to renegotiate his contract to lower his charge, potentially adding another year. I'd have no problem with that. We need to plan for the future, and it wouldn't hurt to have someone like Mangold here to teach him. However on a team that's likely going to be rebuilding next year, paying a 33 year old centre who's been rated as very average over the last two years $9.1 million is a lot.

Nobody likes looking at these situations when it involves a very popular player who's been exceptional for most of his career. However Maccagnan is paid to make these difficult decisions. Lets hope for a renegotiation. The Jets may even bite the bullet and pay him his $9.1 million next year regardless, just to avoid further fluctuation on the line. Plus, he's given the Jets 11 years of excellent service, and sometime you just want to see us look after our own.