The NY Jets will need to find ways to create cap space this offseason, with the team projected to be just under $5 million under the salary cap entering free agency. Much of that cap space will likely be created with restructures, but there are other options the team could explore.
The easiest and most obvious way NFL teams typically create cap space is in the form of roster cuts. Unfortunately for the Jets, there aren't many obvious cut candidates on the roster.
Part of that is due to the many contract restructures general manager Joe Douglas orchestrated last year. Restructures may save cap space in the short term, but they push dead money into the future. The Jets are already dealing with the ramifications of that.
However, there is one obvious name that sticks out as a player who is almost certain to be released in the coming weeks. That player is tight end C.J. Uzomah.
The NY Jets will almost definitely release C.J. Uzomah
The Jets originally signed Uzomah to a three-year, $24 million contract prior to the 2022 season. The former Cincinnati Bengals tight end was seen as a reliable blocker and a well-respected locker room leader. Unfortunately, he never quite lived up to his contract.
Uzomah hauled in just 21 catches for 232 yards in his first season with the Jets, but he at least played an important role in the offense. That changed in 2023, however.
Uzomah's inconsistencies as a blocker became more noticeable by the week, and he didn't exactly do much in the passing game to make up for it. The 31-year-old finished with just eight catches for 58 yards this past season.
The Jets even benched Uzomah midway through the season in favor of the younger Jeremy Ruckert. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time — Uzomah won't be back in 2024.
The Jets can save $5.3 million by releasing him, although that does carry a dead cap hit of $5.9 million since Douglas restructured his contract last offseason. That decision definitely stings in hindsight.
Uzomah is well-liked in the Jets' locker room, and the team values his on and off-field leadership, but his injury history and uninspiring play make this an easy decision for the Jets this offseason.
If the Jets are going to have any cap casualty in 2024, it's going to be C.J. Uzomah.