Rich Cimini of ESPN New York takes a look at the Jets and some of the roster moves that are likely to be made in the coming weeks.
According to Cimini, the Jets are either going to release CB Antonio Cromartie or approach him regarding a pay cut.
This is hardly surprising given that the topic has come up numerous times in the past few months.
Cromartie, soon to be 30, is entering the final year of his contract, and is scheduled to carry $14.98 million cap figure in 2014. On top of that, Cromartie has a $5 million roster bonus due in March, which means the Jets could elect to part ways with their top cornerback who is coming off of an obviously disappointing season in 2013.
Cimini believes Cromartie will ultimately be back with the Jets next season, but at a much more reasonable price.
According to Cimini, Jets WR Santonio Holmes “will be released any day” now.
Holmes, 29, still has two years remaining on his five-year, $45.25 million contract that included $24 million guaranteed. He has a base salary of $8.25 million for the 2014 season to go along with a $1 million roster bonus and a cap figure of $10.75 million.
The Jets stand to gain $8.25 million in cap savings by releasing Holmes, and even though the Jets should have plenty of cap space to work with, Holmes is clearly not worth his salary at this point in his career.
Last year, Holmes caught 23 passes for 456 yards receiving and a touchdown over the course of 11 games.
Cimini doesnt see the Jets rushing to make a decision regarding Mark Sanchez’s future with the team given that they have until March 25 before his $2 million roster bonus is due.
In the mean time, Cimini expects them to target free agent quarterbacks Michael Vick and Josh McCown before considering what to do with Sanchez.
If the Jets can’t lure either Vick or McCown to New York, Cimini could see Sanchez being back if he’s willing to cut his $9 million base salary.
The consensus belief has been that the Jets will part ways with Sanchez based on the fact that he will have a staggering $13.1 million salary-cap figure for 2014 season. They would free up $8.3 million in cap space by releasing him, which could prove be too much to pass up.
However, Cimini mentions that unless they have a replacement in place, it probably makes sense to keep him, assuming he’s willing to take a pay cut.
If the Jets are going to hand a contract that includes $5 million annually to one of their impending free agents, Cimini believes it will be to RT Austin Howard.
Cimini previously mentioned that Howard could end up securing a similar contract to that of Patriots RT Sebastian Vollmer who signed a four-year deal worth $17 million that included $8.5 million guaranteed last year.
Right tackles haven’t fared all that well on the open market, so this look like a reasonable comparison for Howard who rated as the No. 47 qualifying tackle in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
We have Howard listed as the No. 58 player in our Top 100 Free Agents list.
Cimini expects the Jets to be very active in the free agent market when it comes to receivers and possibly tight ends.
The Jets should have close to $21.2 million in available cap space to work with, so they should have no trouble remaining competitive for players they believe will be upgrades.
Cimini lists: Golden Tate (Seahawks), Emmanuel Sanders (Steelers), Hakeem Nicks (Giants) and Brandon Pettigrew (Lions) as potential targets. Broncos WR Eric Decker could end up being “too pricey” for the Jets.
We have all of these players listed in our Top 50 Free Agents list.