Jan 31, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson attends the press conference for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at Rose Theater in advance of Super Bowl XLVIII. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Is the Rising Projected Salary Cap Good for the New York Jets

Yesterday, Andrew Brandt of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB.com) had a piece on the salary cap. According to Brandt, this year’s salary cap will be between 130-133 million dollars. Last year the cap was $123 million so a rise of $10 million dollars is huge. Some reports have it at $135 million or possibly more when all revenues are accounted for and the players get their 48% cut. According to Spotrac.com, based on a $132 million dollar cap, the Jets would have $25.7 million dollars in cap room. If the cap was $135 million that number would rise to $28.7 million for the Jets to spend. Cutting Sanchez, Holmes & Cromartie would garner the Jets another $26 million dollars of cap savings leaving them with anywhere from $51-$54 million in cap space.

While having potentially $54 million dollars to spend is terrific there are two problematic aspects of having such a large increase in the salary cap. First, teams that were cap strapped and wouldn’t have been able to sign their key free agents might now be able to do it. Nothing would be worse than the Jets having all this money to spend and then the market getting watered down so much there is no one worth signing. The second potential problem is that so many teams will have so much cap room it will lead to really bad contracts setting the market.

According to Spotrac, before any cuts, the Raiders will have $65 million in cap room, the Browns $60 million and the Jaguars $53 million. Indianapolis and Miami have close to $40 million to spend as well. There will be lots of bidding wars for the best free agents and there will be some awful contracts handed out.

How do John Idzik and the Jets navigate this minefield? First, they need to target players and strike quickly on their priority targets. Now that the Combine is over, the team knows which players have mutual interest in coming here and what their asking price will be when the signing period begins. The key is to set up to get the first visit and not let them leave the building until they have signed. Second, set limits when you enter into bidding wars and stand firm in what you are willing to pay. The more emotion is taken out of the equation the more likely mistakes are avoided. Third, be patient because year after year poorly run teams spend their money in the first wave of free agency leaving some bargains once the smoke clears. The Jets don’t have to force things because they will have roughly 12 draft picks in one of the deepest drafts in a long time. This year’s plan is to find long-term starters just starting the prime of their careers that will supplement both what is already on the team, and the draft class coming in to form the long-term core. If they stick to the plan, stay patient and fiscally responsible the Jets will be set up for success for years to come. If they aren’t they will be rebuilding for a long time to come.

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Tags: 2014 Salary Cap Free Agency New York Jets

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  • Van Hazard

    I think the truly operative detail here is for the Jets to ‘strike quickly’ as you aptly say when Free Agency begins in about two weeks. True, a higher cap may help some teams who might have been otherwise strapped to resign one of their own FA’s, or acquire someone else’s, it also adds to the considerable money Idzik already has available to him.

    It will be interesting to see which FA’s/positions Idzik targets and how aggressive he is in going after them. What’s done in FA will shape what’s done in the draft. With $40-50M+ in cap room and double digit picks, this off-season could make or break Idzik’s career as GM w/the Jets and shape the franchise, for better or worse, for years to come.

  • Paul Newbold

    Conservative spending is what you’re going to get from Idzik regardless of the cap number. I don’t expect a big splash in FA for the Jets. A few players, but not the big names, big money free agents. With a surplus of picks in the draft and his conservative signings, Idzik will improve the talent level on the team, while not breaking the bank. It would appear Idzik is set on improving the team, building the organization and staying financially responsible. The approach might not be as flashy as many Jet fans are looking for, but in the long run it will be better or the organization.