As detailed last week, the Jets could bring back most of their key free agents and still have some cap space left over to upgrade a few positions. However, there are inevitably going to be some cap-saving moves that will give them even more spending power heading into free agency.
Let's try and group these into the following categories: No-brainers, potential moves, toss-ups and unlikely-but-not-impossible moves.
Note: These are quoted taking into account the rule of 51, which means that releasing any player will cause one other player's cap hit to come into account.
No-brainers ($8 million)
- Trumaine Johnson - Approximate net cap saving $2.5 million and unlikely to warrant interest on the trade market. Also, this has to happen before the third day of the league year, so don't expect them to wait very long.
- Darryl Roberts - Approximate net cap saving $5.5 million. The Jets acted like Roberts isn't part of their future plans at the end of the year and he isn't going to attract any trade interest. He has $2 million in guarantees that will crystallize on the fifth day of the league year.
Potential moves (up to about $6.5 million)
- Jonotthan Harrison - Approximate net cap saving $1.7 million.
- Josh Bellamy - Approximate net cap saving $1.7 million
- Nate Hairston - Approximate net cap saving $1.6 million
- Blake Countess - Approximate net cap saving $0.8 million
- Matthias Farley - Approximate net cap saving $0.7 million
Countess didn't even get any defensive reps during the injury crisis in the secondary last year, so they should be compelled to cash in on him. Hairston's struggles coupled with the proven performance escalator boosting his salary makes him vulnerable. Harrison could stick around initially but his spot will be in jeopardy once they find possible upgrades.
Toss-ups (up to $12.7 million)
- Avery Williamson - Approximate net cap saving $6 million. Note: The saving would be the same if he were to be traded, which is not impossible
- Brian Winters - Approximate net cap saving $6.7 million. Again the saving would be the same if he were traded.
Unlikely-but-not-impossible moves (up to almost $17 million)
- Henry Anderson - It seems unlikely Anderson would be cut, although the Jets would make a net cap saving of just under $1 million. However, trading him could theoretically save them almost $8 million and his production was down last year.
- Le'Veon Bell - The Jets won't cut Bell, but they could save up to $9 million by trading him. However, if they have to pay a pre-trade bonus to make his contract tradeable, then that would eat into the saving and might compel the Jets to lean towards retaining him.
Note: We assume Quincy Enunwa cannot be cut because doing so would trigger his injury guarantees and wipe out any saving.
Do you agree with these groupings? Are there any obvious cuts you would NOT make - or unlikely moves you would make?