Salary Cap: Jets have flexibility to make further moves if needed

With the first wave of free agency seemingly behind us, we can now reassess where the Jets stand in terms of their salary cap position.

The NFLPA database currently has the Jets at $10,657,237 in available cap space, which puts them in the bottom half of the league. Eight teams have less than $10 million of current space, although only eight have more than $16 million.

This is significantly less than Spotrac, who has them at $13.3 million and OverTheCap who has them at $15.8 million.

Possible reasons for this discrepancy are that the official numbers take into account some contact escalators and adjustments for earned incentives which are not yet reflected in the numbers on those two sites.

It's also possible that the official figures include a $3.5 million cap hit for Alex Lewis who is still "on the books" despite being on retirement reserve. While the other two sites do not include such a hit because it's obvious he won't play in 2022, the Jets may not yet have taken the procedural step of cancelling his contract and officially retiring him.

In any case, as things stand, this isn't going to leave the Jets with enough cap room to sustain them during the season once they've signed their rookies, which should have a net cap cost of about $13 million due to the two top 10 picks.

You can therefore expect them to make some restructures in the weeks and months ahead, in order to create a buffer for injury replacements, deadline flexibility and so on. They could easily create between $10 million and $20 million and theoretically as much as $30 million with simple salary-to-bonus restructures and the team currently has over $40 million of 2023 cap space so there is plenty of scope to push cap hits into the following season.

Of course, the possibility also exists of a big trade, for which they may need additional cap space. However, if say they traded the number 10 pick for a veteran wide receiver, the amount they'd need to keep aside to pay their rookies would reduce by $3-4 million but the incoming player's cap hit would of course hit the cap. That player could also sign an extension although the chances are that the year one cap hit might not move much even if they did.

The overall outlook is that the Jets are basically moving into the next stage of their development. They've been big spenders over the past few seasons but are getting to the point where they'll either need to slow down how much they are spending each year, or start to lose some longer term flexibility.

It's far from an urgent situation right now though. The team is still in a situation where they have plenty of flexibility and it won't be until they make an "all-in" move like bringing in and extending an alpha receiver that they'll need to start considering planning ahead to ensure they can keep all their best talent without needing to make any cap-saving moves.