The Jets have about $89 million to spend under the salary cap and much of that may go towards a quarterback. A lot of it could also go to a No. 1 receiver, too. And they'll also spend a little of it on the player who was supposed to be their No. 1 receiver last year.
But how much is Quincy Enunwa worth to the Jets?
That's a question they'll be trying to answer between now and March 14, the deadline to tender a qualifying offer to their restricted free agents. Enunwa, who missed all of last season with a neck injury, is their best RFA and will definitely be given an offer, because the Jets want to retain the 25-year-old's rights.
But figuring the amount is tricky. With the salary cap set at $177.2 million for 2018, the RFA tender levels are set at $1.907 million (original round), $2.914 million (second round), and $4.149 million (first round), according to former NFL agent Joel Corry. Tendering a player means the team has a right to match any offer he receivers, and the "round" refers to the draft-pick compensation they'd receive if they don't match.
Enunwa, a former sixth-round pick out of Nebraska, could potentially garner some interest on a relatively weak free-agent market, since he seemed to be an ascending player when he caught 58 passes for 857 yards and four touchdowns on a bad Jets team in 2016. The low tender might not scare off anyone, so the Jets probably would have to go to the second-round level.
Would they eliminate all doubt by tendering him the top amount? Probably not.
The Jets haven't begun informing players and agents of their RFA intentions yet, according to multiple sources. And they do have several other RFAs to deal with -- offensive lineman Brent Qvale, safety Rontez Miles, defensive lineman Xavier Cooper, and tight end Neal Sterling. Here's a brief look at their situations:
OL Brent Qvale
The Jets weren't thrilled with their line last season, but he's 6-7, 315 and has proven to be a solid reserve. He also started six games last season. He was undrafted, so the low tender is risky. Teams tend to err on the side of caution with RFAs they like, so a second-round tender seems possible.
S Rontez Miles
He's clearly not the future at safety for the team, but he proved to be a valuable special teamer after recovering from a broken eye socket in the preseason. It's unclear if the Jets plan to tender him, but if they do it will surely be the low amount.
DL Xavier Cooper
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said adding defensive linemen isn't a priority for him, which means he's either bluffing or thinks he had some good ones. Cooper, a castoff of the Browns and 49ers, played well in eight games with the Jets last season. A former third-round pick, the low tender seems likely.
TE Neal Sterling
The Monmouth (N.J.) product caught six passes last season, which doesn't seem to warrant a tender at the current high amounts. It seems more likely he'd be non-tendered, and then could re-sign and be brought to camp to compete for a job.
The Jets also have three "exclusive rights" free agents. To keep those players, they only need to offer them a one-year tender at the minimum NFL salary. If they don't, the players become unrestricted free agents. The cost to keep all three would be a one-year, $630,000, non-guaranteed deal.
Here's a look at the three ERFAs with some insight into the Jets' plans:
S Doug Middleton
The Jets plan to tender the former undrafted free agent, according to a source. He spent all of last season on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle, but had shown some promise and special teams ability as a rookie.
FB Lawrence Thomas
The Jets plan to tender the former defensive end and linebacker, according to a source. The 6-3, 286-pounder showed promise last season after his position was switched to fullback, and they'd like that expirement to continue.
TE Eric Tomlinson
He will almost certainly be tendered after making 12 starts last season. He's 6-6, 263 and figures into the Jets' plans as a blocking tight end.