Mike White, New York Jets, Free Agent, Contract
Mike White, New York Jets, Getty Images

The Mike F. White saga in NY is in jeopardy

New York Jets fans love Mike White. New York Jets players love Mike White. The New York Jets coaching staff loves Mike White.

But the Jets’ salary cap? It might not love Mike White so much.

After White’s three-game stretch in which he looked like a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL, multiple cracked ribs produced a two-game absence followed by a forgettable performance against the Seahawks. White sat out the season finale against the Dolphins, having aggravated his rib injury.

The ending of the season was sour, but ESPN’s Rich Cimini believes that White’s three-game sample size was enough to earn him some sizable cash.

Mike White stated in his end-of-year interviews that he believes he is a starting quarterback. Cimini projects that White would be paid like one, at least when you discount the fact that a significant number of the NFL’s starters are on rookie deals.

As much as the Jets love White, he may well be cost-prohibitive for them. Robert Saleh stated openly that the team plans to pursue a veteran quarterback. Whether that guy is Aaron Rodgers ($15.8 million cap hit in 2023), Derek Carr ($33 million), Jimmy Garoppolo (likely $30-35 million), or someone else, it is difficult to imagine that Joe Douglas can afford to also pay a backup low-end starter money. This is compounded when you consider that Zach Wilson is a pretty strong bet to be on the roster in Week 1 due to his $9.7 million 2023 cap hit and $20 million dead cap figure. The team cannot pay three starting QBs.

Now, it’s possible that Joe Douglas allocates $4 million per year to White and finds a way to trade Wilson after June 1, thereby reducing the dead cap number to $5 million and saving about $4.7 million from Wilson’s deal. That would give them enough breathing room to carry White, but it would be very tight cap-wise until then—and that’s assuming that the Jets could find a trade partner willing to take on Wilson’s contract, as well as that they actually do want to trade him, contrary to their stated intent to develop him.

However, the odds are that the Jets are forced to move on. They just have to hope that the potential White flashed over a three-game sample does not come back to haunt them from a different NFL franchise.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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7 months ago

After being in Zach’s corner for much of the first half of the season, I am now of the mind that Zach will never “figure it out”. That combined with his place in the locker room makes me want him gone at all costs; meaning trade, not cut w/ huge dead money.

I’m into old Mustangs and often times ppl post pix of their car and ask the group “what’s it worth”. Invariably the answer is “whatever someone is willing to pay for it”. While the response is somewhat flippant, it is also true. If there’s a team that thinks three games (more incl last season) is enough to pay MFW like a starter, then that’s what he’s worth.
I hope we find a way to keep him.

7 months ago

Mike is a quality backup and that’s just what he is. Good teammate. Hi character. But cannot over pay for a backup. Bring in a star or better veteran and let Zach be the #2 with a rookie contract. A no-brainer. And hopefully in the process, Zach learns how to be a pro and significantly improves his own game.

7 months ago

Bye Mike….you shoulda stayed healthy….job was right in front of you.