NY Jets: Larry Warford reportedly looking for $7 million per season

NY Jets (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets could boost their offensive line in mid-May with Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford. And it doesn’t appear as though he’s asking for too much money.

The NY Jets seemed content with their offensive line following a few free-agent additions and the star-studded selection of Mekhi Becton in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

But the mid-May release of a talented offensive guard could force them to change their plans.

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The New Orleans Saints surprisingly released three-time Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford last week after three seasons with the team — each of which resulting in a Pro Bowl appearance.

While the release was a little surprising to many on the outside, this is something the Saints had in the works since the draft. With their first-round pick, New Orleans elected Michigan offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz to bolster their offensive line.

And needing some extra cap space, the Saints opted to release Warford who was set to account for nearly $13 million against the cap on the last year of his contract. Ultimately, the Saints made the decision to move on.

But don’t get things twisted, at just 28-years-old, Warford is immediately one of the top free agents on the market. It’s almost an unprecedented site to see a 28-year-old offensive lineman who’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons on the open market in mid-May.

And NFL teams have certainly taken notice.

Among teams reportedly interested have been the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans, although the former has since been refuted. However, if the Jets are smart, they too should be all over this possible singing.

And the good news is that it might not cost as much as many are assuming.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Warford is asking for a contract worth around $7 million per season, or around what he was set to rake in under his old contract.

Not only is that extremely affordable for the Jets, but there seems to be a ready-made solution to make it happen.

Veteran Brian Winters is currently still under contract and he’s set to make around $7.28 million in 2020, per Spotrac. However, there’s no guarantee that the seven-year pro is even a starter.

Alex Lewis was re-signed while Greg Van Roten was added in the offseason meaning it’s likely that Winters would have to beat out the latter to secure the right guard job.

But if the Jets play their cards right, Winters won’t be on the 2020 roster at all.

The Jets could simply cut Winters and his slightly over $7 million salary — with no penalty, mind you — and use that money to make a run at signing Warford.

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And what was Warford’s expected 2020 salary, again? That’s right, $7 million.

Of course, the length of the proposed deal isn’t known and it’s very likely that figure could climb given the number of teams interested in him. But even if the Jets end up paying in the neighborhood of $9-10 million, it would certainly be worth it.

Considering that the majority of that money would be coming directly from the savings they would recoup from cutting Winters, it’s a no-brainer. As long as the deal isn’t a long-term one for three or more seasons, there’s no argument in favor of not making that offer.

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The Jets essentially have the opportunity to trade out Brian Winters for a Pro-Bowl caliber offensive guard who’s coming off a season in which he was a top-15 player at his position, per Pro Football Focus.

This is an easy decision — the Jets must make a serious attempt to sign Larry Warford.