The Zionist Conspiracy
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Moves The Jets Should Make
Over the last few days, there have been various newspaper reports that the Jets are seeking to force QB Chad Pennington to accept a massive pay cut to his non-guaranteed contract.
While restructuring Pennington's contract is a no-brainer, the Jets have less leverage than one might assume. That's because in the NFL, players typically receive all of their guaranteed money in the form of a signing bonus. For salary cap purposes, that signing bonus is pro-rated for the length of the contract. However, if a player is released, the entire amount left on the pro-rated portion of the bonus becomes due the following season. So for example, though he's retiring, Wayne Chrebet will have a cap number of $1 million for 2006, the amount remaining from his signing bonus.
As a result, if the Jets release Pennington, they would take a massive $12 million salary cap hit in 2006. In contrast, if Pennington is on the roster, under his current contract, there would be a $15 million salary cap allocation.
For this reason, a number of players on the Jets who are overpaid are not serious candidates for release. For example, wide receiver Justin McCareins will make $3.2 million in 2006, but if the Jets were to release him, the cap hit would be even bigger.
So what moves can the Jets make to alleviate their cap situation? For one, in addition to restructuring Pennington's contract, the Jets need to do the same with running back Curtis Martin, slated to take up more than $8 million in cap space.
Several players are good candidates for release, unless they agree to massive pay cuts. Ty Law is surely a goner, though releasing him will still require the Jets to have him on their books - for cap purposes - for $2.4 million. Offensive tackle Jason Fabini has a $4.5 million cap number, but releasing him will knock that down to $1.3 million. Guard Pete Kendall is past his prime, but still productive at a position where the Jets are very thin, but his cap number of $4.5 million is too high, especially since he'd only take up $900,000 in cap space if released.
At two positions, I think the Jets should make moves that go against conventional wisdom. First, I would let John Abraham leave as a free agent and be a malcontent someplace else. Abraham is simply not a winner, has low pain tolerance, and doesn't want to play for the Jets. If the Jets can find a way to get a draft pick for him, then great, but it's going to be quite complicated in light of the cap. Last off-season, I called on ex-Jets GM Terry Bradway to let Abraham go, and use the money on Lamont Jordan instead. I was ridiculed in the comments; today, I think most would trade Abraham for Jordan in a heartbeat.
Second, I'm not so sure that the Jets should release QB Jay Fiedler. Obviously, having a small QB who is injury-prone is not ideal, especially in light of the Pennington situation. But unless someone else become available - such as Kerry Collins, perhaps - Fiedler may simply be better than anyone available on the market. With a reasonable $1.2 million cap number, I wouldn't be so quick to let the Jewish QB from Long Island leave just yet.