Jets now have clear path to sign Bryce Huff after C.J. Uzomah release

The Jets now have no excuse not to pay up

C.J. Uzomah
C.J. Uzomah / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The NY Jets have one big fish free agent hitting the market in Bryce Huff. Between their need to save money as several members of their illustrious 2022 NFL Draft class start gearing up for an extension and Huff's own price tag, it seems unlikely the Jets will be able to retain their undrafted free-agent star.

If Joe Douglas wants to retain Huff, the possibility of accomplishing that goal may have just become slightly more realistic. New York has more money to play with after the salary cap went up more than most expected, and starting left guard Laken Tomlinson was released before free agency started.

The Jets also brought an end to the tenure of tight end C.J. Uzomah, who was released to save over $5 million in cap room. With the franchise tag for Huff likely to cost more than $20 million, the Jets now have enough room to hit Huff with the tag and still make other additions.

While it might seem like a bit of an overpay, the Jets would do well to keep their top sack producer from last year in a season that is going to get everyone fired if they don't make the playoffs. Getting rid of Uzomah could help Douglas get the funds needed to pay Huff.

Jets could pay Bryce Huff after CJ Uzomah cut

The writing was on the wall for some time with Uzomah, who had been demoted to the third tight end role later in the season. After a tremendous final season with the Cincinnati Bengals, Uzomah never became the receiving threat with the Jets that many in the front office expected.

Uzomah caught just 29 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons with the Jets. After struggling as a blocker last year, the Jets decided to roll with the reliable Tyler Conklin and Jeremy Ruckert as the top two tight ends. This will likely be the loadout for 2024 as well.

Huff, meanwhile, is going to receive a great deal of interest from teams who need a pass-rusher. Even though Will McDonald was likely drafted to serve as the long-term replacement, the Jets would have egg on their face if they don't reward an internal development success story with the contract he deserves.

Huff has been very open about the fact he will go to the highest bidder without considering a hometown discount for the Jets, and getting rid of Uzomah gives New York more ammunition to make an enticing offer.