Checking up on the New York Jets’ cap spending in 2022
Last week the New York Jets announced a re-structure of C.J. Mosley‘s contract, converting the $14.88 million base salary into a signing bonus and adding two void years, spreading the cost. I’m not going to go over that here as Rivka Boord did such a good job breaking down what that actually means.
That did get me thinking about the Jets’ cap situation in general and where the cap dollars are being spent.
I took a look at Over The Cap and collected all the data we have on the Jets and how the cap situation is shaping in not only 2022, but in 2023, 2024, and 2025 as well. I took the 2022 number and collected the data per position group which highlights Joe Douglas’s philosophy better than any other graph.
There are three important things to note in the chart below. First of all, this does not include special teams as they weren’t included in OTC’s breakdown. Second of all, the Jets have a lot of young highly drafted rookies who will have to be paid if they turn out the way the team hopes they will. Finally, for the sake of the 2023 and beyond years, it is the salary currently outlined, not necessarily a guaranteed salary.
* The graph shows the Jets’ spending at each position in 2022 and then in brackets where they rank in terms of NFL teams spending on said position. Seen at the bottom is a look at the Jets’ future spending on offense and defense in 2023, 2024, and 2025, and where they rank in the NFL.
There are two things that stand out straight away from the above chart: the spending on the offensive line and the spending on the pass-rush. No team in football is spending more money on the offensive line this season than the Jets and only the Chargers are spending more on the edge players. We’ve heard countless times how Joe Douglas believes that games of football are won in the trenches.
We’ve often heard how the Saleh defensive system doesn’t prioritize the safety position and so far that’s ringing true. The Jets have attributed the fewest cap dollars to that position out of the five defensive position groups. It’s also their lowest-ranking defensive unit in terms of league positioning, with 22 other teams spending more on their safeties this year than the Jets.
Earlier on I referenced that the Jets have a lot of rookies they’re going to need to pay in the future, but due to Joe Douglas’s contract philosophy, which I’ve written about historically, that shouldn’t scare anyone right now.
Having drafted Elijah Moore, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Zach Wilson, Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson, and Michael Carter all within the last two years, there is going to be a cap crunch down the line as all of them will be looking for contract extensions around the same time. But if you look at the offensive cap spend attributed to 2024, 2025, and beyond, you’ll see the Jets have future-proofed to a certain degree.
As of today, the Jets only have $71.7 million attributed to offense in 2024, ranking 22nd in the NFL. In 2025 they only have $12.3 million, placing 27th.
For example, the Jets will have 5th-year options on players like Zach Wilson and Alijah Vera-Tucker in 2025 and then a 5th-year option on Garrett Wilson in 2026. The hope is all of these guys develop to a point where the Jets want to extend them, and if that happens they have the financial flexibility to do so.
When Robert Saleh speaks about this rebuild being constructed in the right way, this is a part of what he is saying. It’s one thing to draft highly rated players year in and year out. It’s another thing to have both the desire and capability to extend them beyond their rookie contracts.
It’s not football, but RJ Barrett’s extension with the Knicks was notable for ending a remarkable 23-year drought. He was the first Knicks draft pick to agree to a multiyear contract extension after his rookie deal since Charlie Ward in 1999, which is pretty remarkable.
The Jets don’t have anything like that lurking around, but bad teams stay bad when they either can’t develop their own talent or can’t afford to keep their own talent. So far – at least on the second point – the Jets don’t have an issue.
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