The New York Jets have released veteran defensive lineman Henry Anderson.
In the first of what may be multiple cap cuts, the release of the 29 year old Anderson saves the Jets $8.2 million in salary cap space, while leaving behind $1.3 million in dead money. The move increases the Jets’ projected cap space to more than $75 million, pending the NFL’s official release of the 2021 salary cap.
Anderson was acquired by the Jets in exchange for a seventh round draft pick in 2018, one of Mike Maccagnan’s rare successful moves as general manager of the Jets. In his first season with the Jets Anderson exceeded expectations, garnering 7 sacks and 20 quarterback pressures. Anderson parlayed that anomalous season into a fairly large three year deal, as Maccagnan predictably turned a good short term move into a bad longer term contract. Following the 2018 season Anderson signed a three-year, $25.2 million deal, including a guaranteed $17 million over the first two years. Anderson proceeded to disappear over the next two years, producing just 1.5 sacks and 21 pressures in 2019 and 2020 combined. Anderson had some success stopping the run, but his performance over the last two years for the Jets clearly did not justify the Jets retaining him at a cap hit of $9.5 million for the 2021 season.
As the Jets continue to make over the roster, additional cap cut possibilities include Jamison Crowder, Alex Lewis, George Fant, Ryan Griffin and Greg Van Roten. While it is unlikely all of those players will be on the chopping block, each represents non-trivial cap relief if the Jets’ new regime does not consider them a good fit going forward.