Jets Cut WR Ahead of Free Agency, Freeing Up Cap Space: Report

Joe Douglas

Getty New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas just freed up more cap space ahead of free agency.

The New York Jets have officially cut wide receiver and former All-Pro returner Braxton Berrios, who re-signed with Gang Green on a two-year deal last spring.

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter announced the news, tweeting: “Jets are releasing WR Braxton Berrios at the start of the league year next week, per source. The two sides discussed a restructuring of his contract but were unable to reach agreement. His release will save $5 million against Jets’ cap.”

It’s the second cap-saving move the Jets have made this week, after restructuring tight end C.J. Uzomah’s deal on March 8. Of course, all of this is occurring amid speculation that the franchise could trade for Green Bay Packers superstar QB Aaron Rodgers.

Jets Available Cap Space Rising ‘On the Brink’ of Aaron Rodgers Trade With Packers

Earlier this morning on March 9, ESPN’s Dianna Russini — who has been very dialed in on Rodgers trade chatter — put the internet in a frenzy when she revealed that the Jets are “on the brink” of a trade for the four-time NFL MVP.

“In the wake of an extensive in-person meeting between Aaron Rodgers & New York Jets brass, including owner Woody Johnson, there’s optimism in the Jets’ organization that they are on the brink of landing the future Hall of Fame QB, sources close to the situation tell ESPN,” Russini informed.

Continuing: “While optimism existed before the California meeting, Woody Johnson felt it was important to meet in person, sources said. Johnson left the meeting excited and satisfied about the potential match. As the Jets internally are working under an optimism that this will happen, the Jets and the Packers remain engaged in conversations about compensation and contract, sources said. Those conversation already started before the meeting.”

Simultaneously, NYJ general manager Joe Douglas has begun freeing up cap space — seemingly in preparation for Rodgers and free agency.

As Schefter stated, the Berrios cut clears another $5 million, sacrificing $3.232 million and change in dead cap according to Over the Cap. SNY’s Connor Hughes reported that “the release of Braxton Berrios brings the Jets to $6.86 million in salary cap space.”

He added that this is “only the beginning as team needs $$. They have the means to do so.”

Are More Veteran Cuts Coming for the Jets?

Shortly after the Berrios news dropped, football news site uSTADIUM tweeted the following:

“Jets should be at around $7M [$6.86M] in cap space. They have two easy cuts and restructures in WR Corey Davis ($10.5M) and DE Carl Lawson ($15.4M). The team has approached them about restructures as well.”

Fans have called for the release of Davis for some time, but the coaching staff likes the wideout as a veteran presence on the offense. He’s also the Jets’ best run blocker at the position.

Lawson is more of a debate among fans. Clearly, the edge rusher is being overpaid at a $15.7 million-plus cap hit based on his level of production in 2022 (seven sacks, 24 QB hits) and his injury history beyond that.

Having said that, the Jets are a better team with Lawson in their rotation than without him — even with first-round talent Jermaine Johnson II and promising rookie Micheal Clemons waiting in the wings. Then there’s Bryce Huff, a restricted free agent in 2023.

Could the Jets do without Lawson this year? Yes. But the honest truth is that they would probably prefer to restructure his deal and keep him around.

Lawson may not be willing to accept that, however. According to Schefter, they tried the same thing with Berrios, and just look at how that turned out.