According to our friends at Overthecap.com, the New York Jets have cash spending (the actual amount of cash compensation being spent on players, including the 53 man roster, various reserve lists, and the practice squad) of $138.7 million in 2017. That puts the Jets 32nd and last among all NFL teams for cash spending in 2017. It also puts them in a $10 million deficit with respect to the Cash Floor, which requires all NFL teams to have cash spending of at least 89% of the aggregate Salary Cap for the four year period from 2017 through 2020.
The Jets currently have cash spending of $88 million scheduled for 2018. That puts them 30th in the NFL in 2018 cash spending, ahead of only the San Francisco 49ers at $76.2 million and the Detroit Lions at $87.2 million. The Jets aggregate cash spending for the two years 2017-2018 currently stands at $226.7 million. That aggregate number places the Jets 32nd and last in the NFL in aggregate 2017-2018 cash spending. That puts the Jets at a cash spending deficit of approximately $80 million with respect to the currently projected Cash Floor for the years 2017-2018. Only the Indianapolis Colts are close to the Jets for the 2017-2018 period, with $233.6 million in aggregate cash spending. The next closest after the Colts are the San Francisco 49ers, with $245.5 million in aggregate cash spending.
To put that projected $80 million Cash Floor deficit in some perspective, when John Idzik was general manager of the Jets in 2014, as the Jets entered the start of the second year of the 2013-2016 Cash Floor period in September 2014, the Jets were sporting an aggregate cash spending deficit under the Cash Floor of approximately $34 million. So for the 2018 Jets to just get to the same approximate place Idzik placed the Jets in 2014 with respect to the Cash Floor the Jets will have to spend approximately $46 million in new cash in the 2018 off season. That number in itself should not be cause for alarm; the 2018 draft class has yet to be signed and 2018 free agency has yet to play out. We’ll go into more detail on this in a subsequent article.
In 2019 the cash spending picture gets even more extreme for the Jets. The Jets currently have $45.9 million in cash spending scheduled for the 2019 season. That is again the lowest figure in the NFL. The three year 2017-2019 aggregate cash spending figure for the Jets is $272.6 million. That figure is $22.6 million less than the next lowest figure in the NFL, the $295.2 million the Detroit Lions have scheduled in cash spending from 2017-2019. The Buffalo Bills are next at $304 million, $31.4 million more than the Jets. The only other NFL team within $50 million of the Jets is the Indianapolis Colts, at $318 million.
The $272.6 million figure for the Jets from 2017-2019 represents an enormous deficit of approximately $204 million with respect to the projected Cash Floor for the three year period. The implications of this are obvious and largely unavoidable. Just like in 2015, a very large spending binge is coming. Re-signing of players already on the roster and adding additional players from the draft will not come close to bridging that 2019 deficit, as we’ll see in my next article detailing the Jets Cash Floor status. If spending is moderate in 2018 free agency then 2019 will almost inevitably become an all out free agent feeding frenzy, because failure to spend by 2019 will put the Jets in the untenable position of being required to either spend almost more than will be reasonably achievable while staying under the 2020 Salary Cap in an uncertain 2020 free agent market, or violate the Cash Floor and be required to distribute cash bonuses to all players on the roster from 2017-2020 to make up the difference. For the time being the Jets are hoarding cash and Cap Space by fielding the cheapest team in the NFL. One way or another, that situation will not persist.