Mike Lombardi of National Football Post is keeping up his claims on the Jets and their salary cap status.
The 'Skins, Colts, Jets, Saints and Raiders will be doing a lot of restructuring of contracts and waiving players in the coming days. All those teams are in cap jail, and it will take some creative thinking to get them out. In the case of the Jets and Raiders, they were the two biggest spending teams in UFA last year. And they both had top-10 draft picks. In this system, it's very hard to have a top-10 pick and be aggressive in the UFA market. When you do that in one year, the next year you have to take off as the salary cap numbers become bigger.
Restructuring? Yes, but only if the Jets want to be serious players in FA. Cap jail? I'm not so sure.
I'm hearing that the Jets aren't exactly looking to make a big splash and move around a lot of contracts to do so come free agency this year, but at the same time, the term "cap jail" seems erroneous, there's room and they'll likely make more. The team is already under if even barely. The Star-Ledger's David Hutchinson has reported that the team is almost $17 million under the cap, meanwhile Rich Cimini says it's $10 million and ESPN's John Clayton says it's $7.5 million. Jason at NYJetsCap.com says it's close to the projected cap right now, but still under.
I emailed Mike Lombardi today, asking him the following:
I was hoping you could expand upon your assumption that the Jets are in "cap jail."
I've seen it mentioned on the AFC East Blog on ESPN.com that they were $34 million over in your interview on The Herd. Please note that my plan is to publish a reply on my blog about the Jets:
A few things I am trying to understand from your points:
1) According to Tim Graham, you have asserted that the $34 million is what the team is over ... is that correct?
2) My understanding is that the $34 million comes from guaranteed roster bonus money to players like Rhodes, Pace, etc. ... is that what you meant? If not, where did you get the $34 million over the cap figure? Please be specific.
3) By my and many around the team's best piecing together the data, the Jets are currently under the cap (but not by much) for 2009 with the cutting of David Barrett and the retirement of Brett Favre. More moves would need to be made if they want to be free agent players, but the assumption is that the team is already under the cap ... do you disagree?
Mike was kind enough to reply with this:
they are 34 million over, before they got back Favre's money. they have a lot of incentives that will have to carry forward and they might not be working with a 123 million cap. they will have cost that they occured this year that will be deducted from their cap. I am not makingn this up. they spend like crazy last year and they had a top ten pick. hard to spend money each year...