Salary cap, free agency and performance issues combine to mean one thing: The New York Jets' starters in 2013 will include many new faces.
Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com summarized many of the personnel issues the Jets face in two recent posts on his Jets blog.
His January 4 post, “Jets’ free-agent class ‘13” evaluated the Jets’ 11 unrestricted free agents and four restricted free agents. Of those 15 players, Cimini concluded that the Jets would keep two: safety Yeremiah Bell and kicker Nick Folk. In 2012, Bell and Folk consumed just over $2 million in cap value.
Other starters and frequently used reserves eligible for free agency include defensive end Mike DeVito, guards Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson, safety LaRon Landry, tight ends Jeff Cumberland and Dustin Keller, linebacker Bryan Thomas, tackle Austin Howard and running back Shonn Greene. These players represent a combined 2012 cap value of approximately $14.5 million.
Consider that a base amount. Many of these players will garner more. With a projected 2013 cap consumption of around $21 million over the team-adjusted limit of $125 million, how could they get it?
This brings us to the second post.
Cimini’s January 6 post, “Sunday notes: Ryan, Gamble have history,” addressed the consequences of fixing the Jets’ salary cap woes.
In section 6, Cimini writes:
As soon as the waiver period opens in February, the Jets will clear $30.7 million off their salary cap in less time than it takes to hail a cab in New York. They will release LB Calvin Pace ($8.56 million savings), LB Bart Scott ($7.15 million), OT Jason Smith ($12 million) and S Eric Smith ($3 million). Those moves will result in only $4.5 million in dead money. The problem -- and it's a big problem -- is that they will have only 10 starters under contract and not much cap room.
Those cuts reduce the team's 2013 cap consumption to roughly $115 million, $10 million under the cap.
In other words, not all of those free agents will return. It’s time to say goodbye to some old friends.