John Idzik’s New York Jets Cap Surplus Will Get Spent
We’ve all been hearing it all season; it started early in free agency, and has continued to be the talk of New York. “What is John Idzik doing with all that cap money?” Fans have accused him of being cheap in free agency, they claim he could have improved this team ten-fold if he had spent! While I’m a huge critic of our current GM, I don’t believe he needed to go out and make a huge splash in free agency this year.
Yes he could have made better acquisitions, but he did need to hold a bulk of that money! The Jets have some major decision to make with this roster, regardless of the outcome of this season. They have key free agents they will need to pay, or watch them walk. These decisions will come from John Idzik, and what he decides could likely change this team for years to come! I thought we’d look at some key contracts and discuss what needs to be done.
Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive endMuhammad Wilkerson
(96) reacts after the Detroit Lions scored a touchdown at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
First up is the player everyone knows the Jets need to resign. Muhammed Wilkerson is that guy! The Jets took the fifth year option this season with Wilkerson, delaying the need to pay him big time. Wilkerson is just 25 yrs old, he is the most dynamic player the Jets have on the roster, and is reportedly asking to be paid accordingly. Many reports around the league have the Jets and Wilkerson far apart when it comes to the money.
Wilkerson to his credit has been patient with John Idzik, he took the “high road” before camp, and insured everyone that he wouldn’t hold out. He’s avoided making noise in the media about his contract, but make no mistake, Wilkerson expects to be paid and paid well! Muhammad holds the leverage in this negotiation. The Jets are out of options, it’s put up or shut up! In My opinion is they cannot let Wilkerson walk! Will John Idzik cut loose with the big money?
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rb Gronkowski (87) is tackled by New York Jets inside linebackerDavid Harris
(52) and New York Jets defensive endSheldon Richardson
(91) after catching the ball during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Next up is veteran David Harris. A fan favorite for many years, Harris is just breaking the 30 yr old plateau. Harrison is well paid by the Jets; this year he held a seven million cap hit, while earning nearly nine million dollars. Harris has been a main stay against the run and with an aging Calvin Pace, the Jets will be looking to resign Harris to maintain some continuity to its linebacking corps.
If he is looking for a big raise however, he might find himself looking in from the outside. John Idzik might very well view Harris’s contract as inflated, and thus find him expendable if he doesn’t agree to less money. Personally, I think they need to pay Harrison, but only on a short term deal. Will Idzik re sign him if he doesn’t agree to a pay cut?
Aug 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets nose tackleDamon Harrison
(94) on the bench against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants defeated the Jets 35-24. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
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Along the front line the Jets are also confronted with paying two of their big guys as well. Both Damon Harrison, and Kendrick Ellis‘s deals are up for renewal! Harrison came from out of nowhere, making little money, to win the starting job from Ellis. He’s an extremely popular player among Jet fans, and his ratings have been skyrocketing over the past two seasons. There is little doubt Harrison will be looking to cash in, looking to be paid the same kind of money the top DT’s in the league are making. He’s proven to be a monster force for the Jets defensive front, having an impact on both the run and pass defense.
To complicate matters Kendrick Ellis is also up to have his contract renewed. Ellis’s contract is small, but he too will be looking to pad his bank account! The Jets may look to keep them both, but they do have the option of letting one of them go to save money. I think here, Harrison will likely be asking too much for the Jets, they will try to use Ellis as leverage in the negotiations, but that may notwork. Harrison has an earned a contract, the question now becomes how much is John Idzik willing to give him. Will Idzik attempt to sign both? Will he choose the cheaper of the two? Which one do they keep?
Oct 5, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Jets running backBilal Powell
(29) is stopped by San Diego Chargers defensive tackleRicardo Mathews
(90) in the third quarter of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Other notables they have approaching free agency include: Leger Douzable, Kyle Wilson, Willie Colon, Dawan Landry, Bilal Powell, Nick Bellore, Greg Salas and Michael Vick. Obviously the Jets won’t retain some of these guys, along with some of the lesser names, but undoubtedly they will need money to keep some of them as well. The money saved will get spent, John Idzik needs to figure out how to spend it wisely.
Idzik isn’t in “cap hell” as he was when he took this team over, he’s proved to be frugal in free agency, he has money to spend. Tough decisions ahead for the GM, the media and fan base have leveled many criticisms at him already, these contract negotiations will make or break the team and his tenure in my opinion. Can he get it done, and still improve the roster? I want to hear your take! Forget about the failures of the past. Let’s talk the future today! Let’s discuss it!