Salary Cap: Can the Jets afford a player like Larry Ogunjobi or Kwon Alexander?

The Jets recently worked out veterans Larry Ogunjobi and Kwon Alexander and may currently be weighing up whether to add them to the team. One factor to take into account is whether they can afford to do so.

Alexander, who was the highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL a few years ago, likely wouldn't be too expensive, having played on the minimum last year, although he would probably look for a modest bump after starting eight games and racking up 50 tackles. Ogunjobi, on the other hand, should command a more significant deal, having agreed to a contract with the Bears for $13.5 million per year just two months ago, only to then fail his physical due to a foot injury. He'll likely sign a smaller and shorter deal due to these injury issues, but it will still require some cap space.

On the face of it, this could be a problem. OverTheCap lists the Jets as $13.2m under the cap following the Greg Van Roten release and Ahmad Gardner signing his rookie deal. However, the other draft picks, including three top-36 picks, haven't signed yet and those are projected to use up more than $13.2m so the Jets' currently have negative effective cap space.

Of course, the reality is that the Jets have plenty of flexibility, as we've remarked in previous cap updates. Anyone with a high salary can restructure their deal to move cap hits into future years, which is especially attractive if the team expects them to still be on the roster in 2023. Alternatively, they could seek a pay cut from a player like Connor McGovern or extend someone like George Fant or Quinnen Williams with a lower 2022 cap number. In fact, it's not impossible that the Jets have already made such a move (or moves).

The NFLPA database currently has the Jets at $17,811,715 in available cap space. This may indicate that they've already processed some restructures to create the room to sign the rest of their rookies with money left over to potentially sign one of the aforementioned veterans.

Alternatively, the NFLPA figure may be less up-to-date than the OTC figures because they may take into account adjustments or transactions which are not yet official. For example, although the Jets announced the Gardner extension, they may not have submitted the paperwork by the time of the latest NFLPA update. This would knock about $5 million off that figure.

Even if this is the case, though, the restructures would restore the position once made.

One final cap-related note: Here are the contract details for the recently signed undrafted free agents, each of whom got a standard three-year deal with minimum salaries in each year:

Calvin Jackson - no signing bonus, no guarantees
Irvin Charles - $5K signing bonus
Tony Adams - $10K signing bonus, $100K guaranteed salary
Keshunn Abram - $15K signing bonus, $70K guaranteed salary
DQ Thomas - $25K signing bonus, $105K guaranteed salary
Bam Knight - $30K signing bonus, $100K guaranteed salary