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Ranking the NY Jets’ top 7 best contract values

Morgan Moses, NY Jets, Contract, Salary
Morgan Moses, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets have several excellent players on bargain contracts

One way for any NFL team to succeed, including the New York Jets, is by drafting well. Another is by paying key players a year early rather than waiting for the top of the market. Savvy trades can sometimes bring over talent at bargain prices.

While the Jets’ drafting has been spotty under Joe Douglas, the 2022 draft brought an influx of young talent at cheap prices. Douglas’ biggest success, though, has come via nifty trades to fill out key needs. Sprinkle in a dose of good fortune, and the Jets have a number of talented players who are severely underpaid compared to the value they bring.

Here are the Jets’ seven best contract values heading into the 2024 season.

7. LB Quincy Williams

The Jets have a first-team All-Pro on a second contract — and he’s making $6 million per year. They couldn’t have dreamed how well that contract would age. Quincy Williams is tied for the 28th-highest APY for linebackers and his $18 million total value ties for 19th. Some players making more than him include Kenneth Murray, Kaden Elliss, Jerome Baker, Drue Tranquill, and Josey Jewell.

Patrick Queen received $13.7 million per year this offseason after earning a second-team All-Pro nod in 2023, which means Williams probably would have received a little more than that. Going with a $14 million APY, Williams’ actual salary of $7.2 million saves the Jets $6.8 million in 2024.

6. RB Breece Hall

As devalued as running backs are, having one of the league’s most dynamic backs for a $2.3 million APY is an absolute steal. Breece Hall ranks 30th in APY at the position. Joe Douglas will have some big decisions to make following this season (assuming he’s still the general manager), as Hall’s final year of his contract is in 2025. Still, he’s poised for a breakout campaign as one of the league’s lowest-paid starting running backs.

Hall played like a top-10 back in 2023, ranking second at the position in scrimmage yards. Josh Jacobs signed the fifth-highest contract for backs this offseason at a $12 million APY. Hall’s actual $2.5 million salary is $9.5 million less than that.

5. EDGE Jermaine Johnson

I was originally going to list Jermaine Johnson as an honorable mention, but my jaw dropped when I saw his ranking in APY at the edge rusher position. Somehow, Johnson’s $3.3 million APY ranks 71st among edge rushers even though he was a first-round pick. Even though the Jets traded up to get him, they still gained tremendously by taking him at No. 26 instead of No. 4 or No. 10. Johnson’s level of play in 2023 was at least equivalent to a top-20 edge rusher in the league. The disparity between his play and his performance is absurd, particularly at such a premium position.

The 20th-ranked edge rusher APY is Haason Reddick at $15 million. Johnson’s $3.6 million salary in 2023 means the Jets are saving $11.4 million on him.

4. CB Sauce Gardner

The average annual value of Sauce Gardner‘s rookie deal is $8.36 million, the 22nd-highest among cornerbacks. His total contract value of $33.5 million ranks 16th. Statistically, he is at worst a top-three cornerback in the NFL if not outright the best. That disparity between his level of play and his level of pay is one of the key reasons that the Jets are playoff contenders in 2024.

Gardner will undoubtedly reset the cornerback market in APY when the time comes. Right now, the highest APY for a cornerback is $21 million. Gardner’s actual cap hit is $9.1 million, a difference of $11.9 million.

3. RT Morgan Moses

The Jets needed two new starting offensive tackles this offseason, and they managed to acquire an above-average one who’s making $5 million in 2024 in Morgan Moses. While it’s the final year of his deal, it was still an absolute steal for Joe Douglas. Pro Football Focus just ranked Moses as the 18th-best tackle in the NFL. His $5 million APY ranks 24th among right tackles. That’s a bargain, even for a 33-year-old coming off shoulder surgery.

The 18th-highest APY among NFL tackles is $17 million per year, meaning that the Jets are saving $12 million on Moses.

(Tyron Smith would make this list, as well, but he has much more significant injury concerns than Moses, which led to his lowered salary. The same applies to Mike Williams.)

2. QB Aaron Rodgers

In an era where mid-level quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence are demanding $50 million per year, Aaron Rodgers’ $37.5 million-per-year contract stands out tremendously. Rodgers already had his league-high number with Green Bay but chose to take a massive pay cut to benefit the Jets. He ranks 15th at the position in APY, helping the Jets stay cap solvent in a short-term bid for a championship.

Rodgers was making $50.3 million per year on his last contract with Green Bay, which means the Jets are saving $12.8 million on his deal.

1. Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is somehow the 46th-highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL by APY. If you’re going by pure value of the position, Wilson is the Jets’ best contract value in a landslide. He may only be a top-15 or top-20 receiver in the league, but he was virtually the Jets’ whole offense in each of the past two seasons. Somehow, he’s only making $5.1 million per year at least for the next two seasons. This is what drafting well does for a team.

If Wilson were eligible for an extension right now, he would probably make the same as DeVonta Smith, a $25 million APY. Wilson’s actual salary of $5.6 million means the Jets are saving an astounding $19.4 million by having him on a rookie deal.

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Jonathan Richter
1 month ago

Another great article. Thanks, Rivka!

1 month ago

Did you consider Tyron Smith’s contract and what were your thoughts?