Salary Cap: What is the Jets' current position?
The Jets have already shown a willingness to spend this offseason despite not actually making many signings so far. They've restructured deals using void years to defer more of the 2023 cap hit into future years - something they didn't resort to in previous years - and the signings/extensions they've made so far were all backloaded.
Here's where they currently stand:
The NFLPA database currently has the Jets at $8,676,778 in available cap space.
This reconciles to the figure currently shown on OverTheCap.com which has the Jets with cap space of just under $11.3 million. Their figure only takes into account the top-51 which is how cap room is actually counted during the offseason.
OTC's figures don't take into account the new contracts for Trystan Colon-Castillo, Thomas Morstead and Nick Bawden, but these are unlikely to be much higher than the minimum, so that shouldn't eat into their cap space much more.
There are two pressing matters upcoming: The Quinnen Williams extension and a potential Aaron Rodgers trade.
The Jets likely won't need any extra cap space to re-sign Williams because he is already accounted for in their current cap figures at just under $10 million, which would be his salary if he played out his season under the fifth year option. An extension would likely be backloaded anyway, which could create additional cap space of about $5 million in 2023.
As has been well-publicized, Aaron Rodgers' incoming cap hit assuming he is traded to the Jets without the Packers eating any more money would be around $15 million. Clearly that would put them over the cap in the absence of any further moves. However, that $15 million could potentially be restructured so that most of the cap hit is deferred into future years.
Alternatively, if they want to leave his contract alone, there are other high-salaried Jets whose deals could easily be tinkered with to create $20 million or more. CJ Mosley, Carl Lawson, Duane Brown and Corey Davis all have upcoming cap hits of over $10 million that could be restructured. Pay cuts or even a trade/outright release could be explored too.
Another option would be to cut or trade Ashtyn Davis and Bryce Hall, who don't appear to be in the team's plans. That would save them around $5 million.
The Jets are still looking to make other additions, though, so extra money could be required if they add a veteran center, defensive tackle or safety. They were apparently prepared to offer Fletcher Cox over $10 million, but a deal like this could again use void years to keep the cap hit at $4 million or thereabouts, so the Jets definitely have the flexibility to explore those kinds of deals.
Of course, there are still rookies to pay - and every team needs a buffer during the season. However, these moves will simply make things tighter over the next few seasons, by which time the Jets will be hoping that the cap continues to rise and some of their low-cost rookies can take over from higher paid players to extend the team's contention window.
Now, they just need to open that window...