Anderson was originally a third-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent the first three years of his career in Indianapolis battling injuries.
The Jets decided to take a chance on the former Stanford standout when they shipped a seventh-round pick to the Colts on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft. And very quickly, Anderson made the Jets look wise for their decision.
Anderson went on to have the best year of his career finishing with seven sacks, 35 tackles, and 16 QB hits. Playing a full 16-game slate for the first time in his career, Anderson more than doubled his career sack total in one season.
He parlayed that success into a hefty three-year, $25.2 million contract in the offseason. And just like that, one of former general manager Mike Maccagnan’s best moves became his worst.
Henry Anderson disappointed with the NY Jets over the last two years
Predictably, Anderson never managed to repeat the same success he had in 2018. In 2019, he took a major step back finishing with just one sack in 13 games and a 55.8 Pro Football Focus grade — far and away the worst of his career.
And in 2020, he was once again an afterthought playing all 16 games, but amassing just two sacks and a career-low three QB hits. Ideally, the Jets would have moved on from Anderson a year ago, but his contract prevented that.
With $17 million guaranteed at signing, the Jets didn’t have a reasonable out in his contract until this offseason when they were able to unload his projected $9.53 million salary with just a $1.33 million dead cap charge.
His release saves the Jets $8.2 million adding to the boatload of cap space the Jets already had. With Anderson’s contract off the books, the Jets now have over $76 million in cap space — second in the league behind the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Anderson’s release hardly comes as a surprise given his play over the last two years and the fact that he was one of the most expensive players on the roster.
Keep an eye on players like Greg Van Roten, Alex Lewis, and Ryan Griffin who could join Anderson on the free-agent market in the coming days.
Anderson’s release was just the tip of the iceberg.