The New York Jets made some significant moves on Saturday, March 11.
ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates shared on Twitter that Gang Green has restructured three big-time contracts headlined by offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson.
Additionally, tight end Tyler Conklin and veteran cornerback DJ Reed also agreed to alterations to their deals.
The combination of those moves created an additional $15.2 million in cap space for 2023 ahead of free agency.
Contract Moves Create Speculation on Social Media
The Jets are creating a ton of cap space very quickly. Why could that be?
These three moves alone on Saturday, March 11 created $15.2 million in available cap space for 2023. Here is an interesting fun fact, the cap hit for a new team acquiring Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers this offseason would be $15.74 million.
I’m not saying, but I’m just saying.
The Jets are set to release veteran wide receiver Braxton Berrios when the new league year kicks off on Wednesday, March 15. That adds another $5 million to the prize pool.
Also earlier this week the Jets restructured the contract of veteran tight end CJ Uzomah. That cleared an additional $3.6 million in cap space.
All of a sudden the Jets who were at one time over the cap, are now well under the cap.
General manager Joe Douglas hinted at the NFL Combine that the team has a ton of cap flexibility with how they structured contracts and it looks like he wasn’t kidding.
Money Created, Still Big Time Decisions Coming
Conklin, Tomlinson, Uzomah, and Reed were all brand new free agents the Jets acquired this past season.
Due to their recent play and/or original contract structure, all of these players were expected back in 2023. So restructuring these deals made sense for all parties involved.
The Jets can create immediate cap space for whatever they’d like to do (very obnoxious wink) and the players get their money now.
Connor Hughes of SNY explained how it works on Twitter.
“No player doesn’t want a contract restructure. You can convert base salary to signing bonus meaning they get all that money today instead of having it broken up in weekly installments.”
Hughes indicated that this is less of a tip of the cap to Douglas and more so a “testament” to owner Woody Johnson who is proving he’s willing to “cut check now.”
However, the more difficult moves will be for the player’s whose futures are uncertain.
What do the Jets do with wide receiver Corey Davis? What about Carl Lawson? Jordan Whitehead is another player that could stay or go.
Those are more difficult decisions. The Jets could simply move on from them to save a ton of cap space, but then they’d have to replace them. Which is always easier said than done.
Do they provide some mini-contract extensions to spread their cap hits over multiple years? The new in-vogue thing is void years. Which is a fancy way to manipulate the cap as well.
All options are on the table and the Jets will need enough money to absorb a new quarterback and put some brand-new pieces around him.