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NY Jets: The Jets Have The Most Players Under Contract In The NFL

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As I was perusing the other day I noticed an oddity about the Jets. According to OTC the Jets have 82 players under contract. That is the most players under contract of any team in the NFL. The Steelers have 80. The Panthers have 79. The Bears and Seahawks have 77. The Eagles have 76. No other NFL team has more than 75.

That just seemed like an interesting quirk, a numerical oddity without much significance. Then I started thinking about the draft class. The Jets have seven draft choices in the 2017 NFL draft. They are actively attempting to move down in the draft, meaning it is likely their intention is to have eight or more draft choices (though they could trade into the 2018 NFL draft instead). Being the mathematical whiz I am, I noticed that 82 + 8 = 90 (the proof of this theory is beyond the scope of this article). Now a total of 82 players doesn't have much significance, but a total of 90 players does. 90 happens to be the off season roster limit. Players who are drafted count against that limit from the moment they are drafted, regardless of whether or not they are actually under contract. So if the Jets were to trade down and acquire multiple extra selections in the 2017 draft, they would be in the odd position of having to cut players, or trade players for future year draft picks, just to be able to make all their selections.

An additional odd consequence of the abundance of players currently on the Jets roster is that, whether or not the Jets trade down to acquire additional draft choices, the Jets will be all but topped out on their roster as soon as the 2017 NFL draft concludes. That puts the Jets in the unusual position of having to cut players or trade players for future draft picks just to be able to sign the usual group of undrafted free agents immediately following the draft.

None of this is particularly worrisome; the players the Jets would be cutting to fit extra draft choices or undrafted free agents would be fringe players, with no guaranteed money and little chance of making the 53 man roster. So this is not something to be concerned about. It's just ... weird. What we're likely to see is a flurry of activity immediately following the draft as the Jets cut a bunch of players to make room for a new bunch of undrafted free agents. No real harm there, but I don't think I've ever seen it done this way before. In any event, keep an eye on the roster this next several days; there is likely to be much more turnover than we are used to seeing.