Jets "Cap Hell" Scaring GM's Away
Jets’ cap number scares off GMs
By BRIAN COSTELLO
Last Updated: 7:31 AM, January 11, 2013
Posted: 2:18 AM, January 11, 2013
“Salary cap hell.”
That is how one league source described the Jets’ current salary cap situation. That may be an overstatement, but it is going to be one of the new general manager’s immediate challenges.
ESPN reported yesterday the Jets are $19.4 million over the projected 2013 salary cap, the most in the NFL, and the perception of the situation may be scaring GM candidates away.
League sources said at least two people have turned down the chance to even interview with the Jets because the salary cap situation scared them away. As much as has been made of the new GM being forced to keep Rex Ryan as head coach, the team’s salary cap health appears to be the bigger challenge.
Former Browns GM Tom Heckert canceled his interview because of concerns over the cap, according to a source. The Jets have also seen Dave Caldwell (Jaguars) and Tom Telesco (Chargers) pick other teams over them.
The Jets had three interviews yesterday with Dolphins assistant GM Brian Gaine, Steelers director of football and business administration Omar Khan and former Bears GM Jerry Angelo, according to sources. All have experience dealing with the cap.
Today, the Jets will have three more interviews with Seahawks vice president of football administration John Idzik and two candidates whose names are not known, but are both former GMs in the league, according to a source.
The Jets’ cap situation is not as bad as it appears on the surface, though. They carried $3.4 million over from 2012, ESPN reported.
The Jets can easily maneuver their way under the cap by releasing linebacker Bart Scott, linebacker Calvin Pace, tackle Jason Smith and safety Eric Smith next month. That would save them $30.7 million. You can add another $1.5 million if they release quarterback Tim Tebow, as expected. Those moves would put them $12.8 million under the cap.
The problem for the Jets is that leaves them with only 10 players who were starters this year under contract — QB Mark Sanchez, C Nick Mangold, T D’Brickashaw Ferguson, WR Santonio Holmes, WR Stephen Hill, NT Sione Po’uha, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, LB David Harris, CB Antonio Cromartie and CB Darrelle Revis. They will probably tender tackle Austin Howard, who is a restricted free agent, to bring the number to 11.
Then, the Jets would have to hope some of their unproven draft picks from the last few years can step into starting roles. Backups such as RB Bilal Powell, DL Quinton Coples and G Vlad Ducasse may become starters in 2013. The Jets also may hope either Antonio Allen or Josh Bush can grab one of the safety spots.
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