The New York Jets
Pressed for time, I cannot begin to list all of the things wrong with the 2016 Jets; beginning with the two most controversial members might be the best start. Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson’s careers as Jets epitomize a rollercoaster. Beginning with Marshall, he began the season by clashing with star CB Darrelle Revis. To make matters worse, he followed up his prolific introductory season with literally half the production. At his current cap hit he may be considered a bargain by league standards, but there are several other factors to consider. Mainly, his polarizing presence in the locker room–between scuffles and beefs with Revis and Richardson, to his outspoken media presence and finally his age, Marshall is better suited elsewhere. Although I would be inclined to keep a veteran receiver to help bring along young quarterbacks I.E. Andrew Luck-Reggie Wayne, Marshall feels more like an impediment to any young signal callers development. His bargain is negated by his seemingly negative aura, advancing age and the fact the Jets’ salary cap situation demands they unload contracts.
Which brings me to another potential roster casualty: Sheldon Richardson. Whatever aura floats around Marshall, Richardson might very well be the physical manifestation of that aura. The market for young and worldly-talented interior pass rushers will fetch the Jets at least a mid-round pick for Richardson, despite his personality flaws. The Jets lost leverage in any potential trade scenario involving Sheldon Richardson, but at worst they can cut him and save over $8M. His arrest record, internal conflicts and expressed apathy for playing have all but sealed his fate with the team and hurt his trade market value. Between these two jokers, the Jets can turn $16M in space into $31M. If you’re going to carry head cases, they can be had at a better bargain.
Continuing with the theme of roster casualties, several additional players might hit the chopping block due to their cap hit and the potential savings. Eric Decker has struggled with injuries, and the Jets can save $5.7M this year and $7.5M next year by parting ways with the Great White Hope. More time with his wife is not a bad thing either. Plus, the Jets young and affordable receiving options do not leave them bone dry at the position after any potential moves. If you’re building an offense at a discount rate, you would be hard to find a more talented trio than what the Jets have. Enunwa showed competiveness and toughness despite adverse circumstances, and the raw speed of both Anderson and Smith makes for intrigue. It is without a tier 1 name or truly established secondary receivers, but considering the circumstances it is a fine stable of receivers to have while budgeting.
And now, for the 800-lb Gorilla in the room: Darelle Revis. Oh boy, if you thought his future was in doubt before he dirt napped two random Pittsburgh residents, peep that crystal ball again. 24 is toast, and unlike the figurative usage that referred to his terrible 2016 cornerbacking campaign, I mean so quite literally now. Legal ramifications aside, his apathy on the field this season made Sheldon Richardson look like a ball of eagerness. Factor in his age and it’s a no brainer that you cut Revis. Even if the legal slate were clean, you cannot trot him back out to corner, and you are certainly not going to pay a safety $15M (you would seriously piss off all those trying to negotiate with Eric Berry). You cut him and save $9M, and thank him for making the decision so painfully obvious. Who checks real estate they own at 2:30 AM?
Quick recap: We began this post and the Jets had roughly $16M in cap space for this upcoming season. If you crunch the following hypothetical moves, you are left with..
That’s over $30M in savings, from FOUR roster moves. With franchise center Nick Mangold already an unfortunate cap casualty, the Jets could bring their total cap space top $46M by making these moves on the eve of free agency. It is not as though only the personnel side warrants its; the financial benefits probably outweigh keeping them even if you could call them standup guys. Outside of Decker, there are issues that transcend football and make retaining Marshall, Richardson and Revis difficult.
With eyes towards the bigger picture, another question to ask if why part ways with 4 players
At this point, it behooves the Jets to clean house and begin focusing on their rebuilding on their roster with youth, while not giving into any allure of the NY Post back page. Once the dust has settled from the roster purge has settled, the Jets may be in better shape than people think.
Tune in next Monday to for PT. II, where we will take a look at what moves in free agency and the draft make sense of the Jets.