A New York Jets youngster is already in line to get a massive pay raise.
The Pro Bowl rosters are set to be announced on Wednesday, December 21 and according to Rich Cimini of ESPN, there’s a “good chance” that rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner is one of the players selected.
If that comes to fruition Sauce is going to get a large bag of money down the line.
The bonus money on fifth-year options on first-round rookie contracts is tied to Pro Bowl nominations. For example, if Sauce was to earn a Pro Bowl anywhere in his first three seasons that fifth-year option must equal the “transition tag” price amount, per Cimini.
Additionally, if Sauce is selected for “two or three Pro Bowls” then that fifth-year option will be the same price as the franchise tag. That future pay raise for Sauce will be somewhere in the neighborhood of “$3.5 million to $7 million in 2026” per Cimini’s calculations from Over the Cap.
Jets Pro Bowl History in the Making for Sauce
The last time the Jets provided a Pro Bowl update was on Wednesday, December 14, Sauce was No. 1 among all AFC cornerbacks in Pro Bowl votes at that moment in time.
The former Cincinnati product would become the first Jets rookie since Erik McMillan in 1988 to earn a Pro Bowl bid.
Gang Green hasn’t had a single Pro Bowler since the 2019 season (Jamal Adams). The Jets haven’t sent multiple Pro Bowlers in the same year since 2018 when they had a pair of special teamers and their former first-round safety:
- Jason Myers, kicker
- Andre Roberts, return specialist
- Jamal Adams, safety
Sauce Gardner Has Had a Great Mentor on Other Side
Early in the season, the Jets coaching staff experimented with some shadowing. They moved Sauce Gardner like a chess piece to match up with a specific player.
It happened right off the get-go versus the Baltimore Ravens in the season opener against All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews.
However, as the team has progressed through the season the Jets coaching staff has gotten away from that.
One of the main reasons why is because of the faith they have in Gardner and his running mate veteran corner, DJ Reed.
“[Sauce] has an unbelievable running mate with DJ Reed. He has been able to give him a lot of veteran knowledge and has helped him along the way.”
Reed has been as dominant if not more so than Sauce, but he doesn’t have the sexy name or reputation. With that, he hasn’t received the same fanfare in the Pro Bowl voting or overall national recognition.
Despite that Reed has been unquestionably one of the best Jets free-agent additions of all time and quite frankly is one of the better overall NFL free-agent signings from this past offseason.
It’s exciting that Sauce is only 22 years of age and he is already this good. What people often overlook is that Reed is only 26 years old and has a promising future.