The veteran wide receiver has continued to skip voluntary workouts and head coach Robert Saleh confirmed why during his availability with the media.
“Jamison has obviously been working through some stuff with his contract through Joe Douglas, his staff, and his agent.”
When asked for clarity on what he meant by that comment, Saleh deferred and said that would be a better question for Douglas.
There’s an obvious impasse here.
So What’s the Problem?
Crowder is set to make over $10 million in the final year of his contract. The Jets don’t want to give that kind of money to a 27 (soon to be 28) year old wide receiver.
Make no mistake about it, the Jets are asking the veteran wideout to take a massive pay cut or else. The “or else” part of this conversation is a powerful leverage play by Gang Green.
There are no guarantees left in the former Duke product’s contract. That means the Jets could simply choose to move on and save the entirety of the contract and add it to the pile of money they already have.
Although in a perfect world the green and white would love to have their most consistent offensive weapon from the past several seasons back on the team in 2021.
“We’re really confident we’ll get him here quickly,” coach Saleh said. “When we do get him back he definitely has a role on this team.”
The Jets have the leverage to ask Crowder to take less money because they have an overflowing pantry of weapons at wide receiver. Denzel Mims showed flashes in year No. 1. Plus Gang Green added a trio of intriguing pass catchers at the top of free agency (Corey Davis), high in the 2021 NFL draft (Elijah Moore), and even found a great value on the open market (Keelan Cole).
Crowder is in a tough spot. If he tells the Jets to go kick bricks, they can either cut him or trade him to the highest bidder. It’s hard to envision another team taking on his large price tag at this point in the offseason, so to facilitate a possible trade he’d likely have to take a pay cut anyway.
The aptest solution to this issue is a contract renegotiation.
None of Crowder’s contract is guaranteed, which can’t make him feel very secure about his spot on the team. He’s been the best player on a terrible team. The veteran stud led the Jets in receptions over the last two years.
While those are cool fun facts, NFL teams don’t pay players for what they’ve done in the past, it’s about what they can do in the future.
The Jets could do one of two things with his contract:
- Cutting his salary in half (from $10 million to $5 million, but fully guaranteeing it).
- Or they could extend his contract and spread out the cap hit and create some extra money that was incentive-based (TOJ podcast host Will Parkinson explained this strategy here).
To simply release him would be an odd strategy for the green and white. Why get rid of proven depth?
The Jets have plenty of cap space for the remainder of their unsigned draft picks and still have some moolah left over if they want to add a veteran somewhere down the line (backup quarterback, linebacker, or maybe a cornerback).
The best answer to this Crowder situation is an amicable contract renegotiation. It would help both sides and keep them together heading into 2021.