The start of free agency is just a few days away and the New York Jets are looking to get as much cap space as possible to remain in the conversation for some of the best available players.
Their most recent run of restructured contracts not only clears up plenty of cap space for a quarterback but also allows the team flexibility to make more moves in the coming days.
New York freed up $15.2 million in cap space Saturday morning by restructuring the contracts of cornerback DJ Reed, guard Laken Tomlinson, and tight end Tyler Conklin according to Field Yates of ESPN.
While main cap websites like Spotrac and Over the Cap have not updated the Jets’ current cap window (these moves become official once the new league year begins) the expectation is that the team has close to around $20 million in cap space. While that would be enough to bring in a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers ($15 million cap hit in 2023), there are still plenty of contracts New York could restructure on the roster to add even more space.
The three obvious names are Carl Lawson, Corey Davis, and Jordan Whitehead. Whitehead has become expendable since the trade for Chuck Clark and would save over $7 million in space. Lawson and Davis would save north of $25 million. If all three mentioned players were restructured at this current moment, the Jets could have over $50 million in space: plenty of flexibility for Aaron Rodgers, and several free agents that would want to join him.
There is also the matter of Quinnen Williams’ contract extension. The first-team All-Pro defensive tackle had a career year in 2022 and is in line for a lucrative extension that could make him the highest-paid defensive player in Jets history.
Getting cap compliant (staying under the cap threshold) was the first step for New York before the new league year. While fans and analysts obviously have been waiting to see what happens with Aaron Rodgers, fielding a team that the future Hall of Fame quarterback will want to join is the next step.
And clearing enough cap space for the bevy of veterans Rodgers will want is just the first step in this process.