Addressing the John Clayton 2013 Cap Report
Iíve gotten more than a few emails and tweets about the Jets 2013 salary cap so I figure I would just address it here.
The issue came from an article from John Clayton of ESPN where he is discussing the future caps and how the new CBA rewards a different spending mindset. I think that premise is wrong since the cap carryover has always been in the CBA, you just needed to get creative to utilize it whereas now you just carry it over, but thatís neither here nor there. The issue I get the questions on are the Jets being $19 million over the projected salary cap.
My current estimates have the Jets committed to about $139.25 million in cap charges for next season including the minimum workout bonuses. That would seem to coincide with Claytonís information on the team so Iíd imagine my figures are within $1 million of the real total as of today. The Jets have 50 players under contract so the roster is relatively full, though many of the names on the list wonít be here next season. The low wage earners like Matt Simms will be replaced by a new crop of UDFAs making about $405K in 2013 rather than $480K but letís just assume that balances out since they do need to get to 53 names at some point in time.
So why is that $19 million misleading? Because it has no look at the Jets roster makeup and flexibility the team has in navigating the roster. The group that I call ďThe Big FourĒ is a bonanza in cap savings. The Big Four are Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Wayne Hunter, and Eric Smith. Barring a miracle none will be on the team next season and even if the miracle occurs would be nowhere near their current salaries. Those four represent $22.71 million in cap savings prior to free agency and the draft. That immediately puts the Jets at a salary of about $116.5 million, which would be $4.5 million or so under the Clayton projected cap.
The Jets will also have carry over space. As of June 9 they had about $6 million in cap room with only one rookie remaining to sign. There will be a few changes here and there that will likely bring that number down to $4 million over the course of the year, assuming they donít use their option to borrow against future caps, which will all be carried over giving the team now $8 million in cap room.
Finally you have a number of deals that can be renegotiated. Nick Mangold has a $3 million dollar roster bonus that can be converted to a signing bonus and spread out over 5 years to save $2.4 million. Antonio Cromartie could be extended or save the team some money in a roster bonus conversion. Santonio Holmes and David Harris both could give the team more cap room with renegotiations. If Kenrick Ellis makes Sione Pouha expendable thatís another $4 million in savings.
So, yes, as of today the Jets are $19 million or so over the cap in 2013, but its nothing to worry about or nothing that has not been planned for by the organization. So enjoy 2012 and lets really worry about 2013 next January or February rather than before the 2012 season even begins.