New York Jets: Pay Up or Miss the Party in 2014
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson recently lobbied for a 2014 New York Super Bowl along with Giants owner John Mara. Obviously the thought of a home Super Bowl for Jets fans is extremely exciting, but don't bank on it. The Jets have invested a grand total of $119,546,244 in the 2010 season. And contracts expiring before 2014? Don't even think about it. Unless Woody Johnson dishes out quite a lot of money, the Jets won't be remotely the same team come Super Bowl XLVIII.
So let's say the Jets don't renegotiate any contracts just so I can give you an idea of who they would risk losing each year. Under their current contracts, Nick Mangold will be a free agent after this season along with Shaun Ellis, Tony Richardson, Brodney Pool, and Braylon Edwards. Fortunately, Richardson has already been replaced. But the best center in the league is going to want a huge contract. Similarly, if Pool can get it done at free safety and Braylon stops dropping so many balls, the duo will likewise request a good amount of money.
As for restricted free agents after this season: David Harris, Antonio Cromartie, Nick Folk, David Clowney, Santonio Holmes, Brad Smith, Eric Smith, and James Ihedigbo. There isn't enough money to go around for all of them to receive tenders along with new contracts for all of the unrestricted free agents listed above. Good luck with that, because it doesn't get any easier.
You want another list of solid players that will be making exits? You can say goodbye to D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Bryan Thomas, Sione Pouha, Jim Leonhard, Ben Hartsock, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Jason Taylor. I know, LDT and JT are both too old to continue anyway, but their contracts will run out after the 2011-2012 season along with the other players I just mentioned. Assuming guys like Nick Mangold get some lofty contracts the previous offseason, there will not be enough money left for everyone to get resigned. On the restricted free agent front, there isn't much worth bringing up for that year. Dwight Lowery and Jamaal Westerman are mentionable, but I won't lose any sleep if they leave.
Next comes the offseason before Super Bowl XLVIII. Let's start with the obvious: Darrelle Revis. His contract is set to expire during then. What this means is that if these current contract negotiations don't go well, he won't be a Jet for their shot at playing a Super Bowl in their own backyard. The best player on the team might not be around in 2014, and he isn't the only one...not even close.
That same year, the Jets will lose Kris Jenkins, Damien Woody, Jerricho Cothcery, Vernon Gholston, Brandon Moore, Dustin Keller, and Mike DeVito. While Jenkins might not be effective that far in the future and Gholston probably will be long gone by then anyway, the other four losses would be some pretty daunting ones. Keller has made a name for himself as a tight end in this league and will only continue to do so. Moore and Woody are two of the biggest reasons that the run game has been so good. And Cotchery? He's the best receiver on the team in my opinion. As for DeVito, the team will survive without him.
And who needs tenders in 2013? Shonn Greene and Matt Slauson. Assuming Slauson will eventually get to join the Jets' offensive line, this could potentially be a loss that hurts the team. Shonn Greene is supposed to turn into the premier running back on this team, so he will get tendered in 2013 for sure.
How are all of these guys going to get paid? Why haven't Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum dished out the big bucks to players that certainly deserve it. Johnson obviously has some ulterior motives on his mind when it comes to bringing a Super Bowl to New Meadowland Stadium. He wants to save MONEY! With PSL sales lacking, Johnson knows that selling the naming rights for the stadium is going to be a big "cash cow" for him, especially if his new stadium has a Super Bowl scheduled to be played in it. Any major company considering making that investment now has a huge incentive in the form of the biggest sporting event to occur each year. And on top of that, there are 16 games (not the usual eight) played in the stadium annually.
Back to my point: there are way too many players who still need contracts negotiated or extended. There are way too many expiring contracts after this season. The Jets have put it all on the line for the coming season, and unfortunately, it may take more money than they have to keep enough of the squad intact for a home Super Bowl in 2014.
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