Nick Mangold missed eight games due to ankle injuries this past season, last playing on Dec. 5 against the Colts.
The 32-year-old Mangold has a cap hit of $9.075 million next season, after which he is eligible for free agency.
So, should he stay or should he go?
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
Contrary to recent seasons where Mangold has missed time, the offensive line still managed to stay afloat for the most part without him in the lineup. Mangold is clearly still capable of good play, but with mounting durability concerns, is he reliable enough to justify a large cap number going forward?
The case for retaining Mangold:
- Mangold still graded out better than his replacement, Wes Johnson, despite the fact Johnson would likely have been given less-demanding assignments.
- He is experienced and a respected figure in the locker room on a team desperate for some veteran leaders to step up.
- Johnson is also capable of playing guard, so retaining him in addition to Mangold won't necessarily be a waste of money if Mangold stays healthy.
- While Johnson played well at times, he did show some inconsistency and struggled badly with some specific matchups.
- The Jets won't get any compensation if Mangold is cut and he probably wouldn't return a pick in a trade at this stage of his career. But if he leaves at the end of the season and signs with another team in 2018, they could receive a compensatory pick.
The case for letting him go:
- Since Mangold was in and out of the lineup, the continuity, cohesion, and chemistry on the line were actually better with Johnson in at the end of the season.
- If Mangold is released before his roster bonus is due, the Jets could save over $9 million of cap space.
- If Johnson isn't going to be the starter next year, that might make him less likely to re-sign with the team for the next few years on favorable terms.
- Mangold turns 33 years old later this month and therefore unlikely to be part of the team's future when they contend again.
Mangold has been a great Jet and the team definitely requires veteran leaders moving forward, so I would lean toward keeping him. However, if they can retain Johnson for much less money and believe there won't be too much of a discount, it will be tempting for them to let him go.
If Mangold is amenable to a pay cut, that might make the decision easier for the team, but they probably can't count on him playing 16 games anymore. So they might still need to ensure they also have adequate cover even if they opt to retain him.
Veteran linebacker David Harris has been a mainstay since 2007, but will the team keep him around for another year or look to get younger at that position?