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New York Jets made right decision declining player options

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 24: Mike Pennel #98 of the New York Jets pumps up the crowd against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 24: Mike Pennel #98 of the New York Jets pumps up the crowd against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets made the decision to decline team options for three players on Tuesday. This was ultimately the correct move for the team going forward.

The New York Jets announced on Tuesday that they had declined the team options for reserve players Mike Pennel, Terrence Brooks, and Kevin Pierre-Louis making them soon-to-be free agents. While this may seem like a head-scratcher at first given that each was productive in their own way in 2018, the decision was ultimately the correct one to make for the franchise.

The Jets enter the 2019 offseason with a myriad of holes to fill on a roster lacking true top-level talent.

They will utilize the free agency period and the NFL Draft to make additions to their roster. While the draft could be great for long-term sustainable success, free agency is up first and the Jets will likely be looking to make a number of acquisitions.

With nearly $100 million in cap space, the Jets are expected to be very busy in early March making bids on plenty of players. That being said, the current cap number may seem more appealing than it really is.

The Jets currently have the fewest players signed to their roster out of any team in the league with just 39 players currently signed to contracts. That’s including the nine individuals on the “reserve list,” little-known players who were never active for a game last year and either spent time on the practice squad or were quietly picked up after the season ended.

Simply put, the Jets have holes and they’re not just at the starting positions.

This is why it makes sense to free up as much cap space as possible now in order to fill those holes. Any chance the team has to save a bit of cap space should be fully taken advantage of despite the seemingly endless supply of money at their disposal.

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Although it hurts to let go of three veteran, productive players like Pennel, Brooks, and Pierre-Louis, it makes sense for the team to save the money where they can. In total, the moves will free up just under $5.5 million which may not seem like much at first glance, but the numbers add up in the end.

Moreover, this doesn’t rule out the chance that the Jets could opt to bring any of the three back at a reduced rate. Brooks and Pierre-Louis were key members of the No. 1 ranked Jets special teams unit in 2018 with the latter being responsible for two blocked punts during the season. Brooks, on the other hand, led all Jets in special teams snaps.

Pennel was quietly a very productive rotational defensive lineman for the team on defense. He received praise from Pro Football Focus who gave him a stellar 87.1 grade which ranked him as the 14th best interior defensive lineman in the NFL and the second-best in the AFC East.

Brooks and Pierre-Louis could be brought back on cheaper deals as long as the market doesn’t get too competitive. Pennel is less likely to be re-signed, however, given the lack of a need for a nose tackle in the Jets new 4-3 defensive scheme.

Next. Re-sign or decline EVERY Jets 2019 free agent

Regardless of whoever may find their way back with the team, declining their options and saving the extra cap space could go a long way towards filling out the Jets roster.

Essentially, these were three under-the-radar moves that could pay dividends later down the line.

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