Quinton Jefferson joins the New York Jets on a modest one-year contract
Quinton Jefferson signed with the New York Jets six days ago, but the details of his contract had yet to be unveiled prior to today.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Jefferson’s one-year deal has a base value of $3.6 million with $2.75 million guaranteed. If Jefferson reaches certain incentives, the deal can reach $4.25 million. The contract also includes four void years, which mitigates Jefferson’s cap hit for the 2023 season.
DT Quinton Jefferson’s 1-year deal with the Jets has a base value of $3.6M, with $2.75M guaranteed. It can max out at $4.25M with incentives.
The deal includes 4 void years to mitigate the cap impact for 2023, as the Jets need to preserve space for a certain veteran QB…
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 12, 2023
Jefferson’s contract suggests the Jets view him as a surefire roster lock who will have a key role in the defensive tackle rotation, but it also suggests they don’t necessarily view him as a one-for-one Sheldon Rankins replacement.
Rankins fetched a one-year deal from Houston that is worth $9.75 million, nearly tripling Jefferson’s contract. That’s the contract of a good starter. Jefferson’s significantly smaller contract in comparison to Rankins could be a signal that New York is planning to use Jefferson as a situational player who will lean heavily toward passing downs, rather than serve as the two-way starter that Rankins was. This is how Jefferson’s teams have used him throughout his career, as he is a solid pass rusher but a poor run defender.
It’s also worth noting this is yet another contract signed by the Jets that either includes void years and/or heavily backloaded money – both designed to create immediate 2023 cap space. It makes sense, as the Jets entered the offseason with limited cap space and are trying to fit in both Aaron Rodgers’ unorthodox contract as well as the contracts of the many new players they have added.
Additionally, the Jets have not utilized some of the best cap-clearing avenues that were available going into the offseason. They have elected to keep three players with large yet escapable contracts (for now, at least): Carl Lawson, Corey Davis, and Jordan Whitehead. This is another reason they have needed to get creative to open up cap space.
With Jefferson aboard, here is how the Jets’ DT room stands:
- Quinnen Williams (Entering fifth-year option season: $9.59M)
- Quinton Jefferson (1 year, $3.6M, $2.75M guaranteed)
- Solomon Thomas (1 year, $2.35M, $2.0M guaranteed)
- Isaiah Mack (1 year, $1.08M, $0 guaranteed)
- Tanzel Smart (Reserve/Future)
- Marquiss Spencer (Reserve/Future)
Williams, Jefferson, and Thomas are the three defensive tackles who project as roster locks. The Jets still need a fourth player to round out the rotation. They met last week with Jefferson’s former Seahawks teammate, Al Woods, although nothing new has been reported about that situation.