Massive $98 Million ‘Overpay’ Could Force the Jets Hand

Bryce Huff, Jets

Getty New York Jets defensive lineman Bryce Huff reacting in the middle of an NFL game.

The Chicago Bears just gave the bag to pass rusher Montez Sweat.

NFL Insider Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report was the first to share the news on X previously Twitter. It’s a four-year deal with $98 million in “new money”, averages $24.5 million per year, and he will receive over $72 million in guaranteed money.

The total value of the deal can reach $105 million, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The New York Jets have a pass rusher of their own that needs a new contract. Bryce Huff is currently playing on a one-year restricted free agent tender, and he is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Sweat’s New Deal Complicates the Picture for the Jets and Huff

Ahead of the NFL trade deadline, the Bears sent a 2024 second round draft choice to the Washington Commanders in exchange for Sweat.

The talented pass rusher was scheduled to be a free agent this upcoming offseason. After being dealt to the Bears he was in a position of power and took full advantage of it.

Although when you look at how much he got paid versus his prior production there seems to be something missing.

This new $24.5 million per year salary makes Sweat the No. 5 highest paid EDGE in the NFL, per Over The Cap.

Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times called the extension an “overpay” on X previously Twitter.

via X previously Twitter

In Sweat’s five seasons in the NFL, he has never had more than nine sacks in a single year. He has a solid floor with at least five sacks in every season, but that normally doesn’t warrant a record-breaking contract extension.

Huff’s Resume Complicates Contract Discussions

Huff is another player that doesn’t have a ton of proven production in his career in terms of sacks, but he grades exceptionally well according to the analytics.

The former Memphis product only has 11 sacks through his first three and a half seasons. Although he is in the midst of a career year in 2023. He has already matched his previous career-high in sacks with 3.5 and he still has another 10 games to add to that total through the rest of the season.

If Sweat landed a contract of that magnitude, why wouldn’t Huff and his representatives push for something similar in the offseason?

Jets general manager Joe Douglas met with the media following the Tuesday, October 31 NFL trade deadline. He revealed that the Jets and Huff have had “informal conversations” about a long-term extension.

JD said those conversations are “trending in the right direction.” Although if that chatter doesn’t result in a deal ahead of the new league year in 2024, the Jets will be forced to make a tough decision.

Do they allow Huff to test the open market? Or do they whip out the franchise tag to secure his services for at least one more season?

Last year the franchise tag number for a defensive lineman was $19.5 million, but it varies on a year-to-year basis. That is a high number to give any player, let alone one that hasn’t put up dominant sack statistics.

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