Salary Cap Update: If a storm is brewing, will Mo be high and dry?

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

As you are probably aware, due to the new rules in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, players selected from the 2011 draft onward were not permitted to negotiate an extension until after their third season. Now that the third season is drawing to a close for the 2011 class, it looks like the time honored tradition of media-led posturing between agents and teams is already getting underway.

NFL: New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

Writing for the National Football Post, notorious salary cap cage-rattler Jason Cole writes that, “A Storm is Brewing.” He’s suggesting that some players that would have been expecting a new deal after their third season will now be forced to wait.

Each of the 2011 first rounders (and all first rounders since then) signed a four-year deal with a fifth-year option and Cole is suggesting that – having talked to general managers around the league – teams will simply execute that option rather than extend their players. The writer suggests that this is increasingly likely because those fifth-year salaries – based on average salaries at the player’s position – are going to come in lower than projected.

ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini expands on this, agreeing with Cole that this might now mean that Mo Wilkerson won’t get the extension everybody’s anticipating and that players are, “being jobbed by a pro-management collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect for the 2011 draft.” Of course, the main reason everybody’s anticipating that he’ll get an extension now is the fact that the media have been telling us this all season long.

You’d expect the media to be excited over the opportunity to exert their influence on another extended contract dispute and now the first blows have been struck by Cole, a writer with a reputation as a puppet for the agents’ point of view, a reputation that is enhanced whenever he is challenged on such matters and struggles to defend himself.

At the moment, this is about one or two players/agents who might end up disgruntled with their situation and it’s entirely predictable that Cimini would project this onto Wilkerson with no evidence to suggest it’s going to be an issue.

How can we assert this?

Teams have known about the fifth year option since the CBA was signed and if those salaries have come in at slightly lower than originally projected, I would still doubt this difference would be big enough to get teams to rethink their long-term cap structure. However, when you get a transcendent player like Wilkerson or J.J. Watt, then conventional thinking goes out of the window anyway.

It’s essential to hear an independent expert analysis on this issue and that’s why it’s important to note that Jason from OverTheCap.com has investigated the issue in more depth yesterday. You need to read the full article, but key takeaways are that the situation under the old CBA, 1) wasn’t actually that different to what we have now and, 2) the situation for the players is not as bad as is being made out.

As Cimini states, the Jets could effectively control Wilkerson’s rights for three more seasons at a seemingly reasonable cost, but if that would alienate the player against the team that could lead to holdouts or the player wanting to leave when those three years are up. A much more sensible situation would be for the Jets to use this opportunity to get Wilkerson locked up for a longer period of time (preferably six years) at a price that suits both parties.

As the executive in Cole’s report suggests, it doesn’t make sense for a team not to exercise this option. However, that doesn’t preclude them from still negotiating an extension at this time once that fifth year is in place. As Jets fans are well aware, you don’t have to wait until the final year of a contract before you negotiate an extension (and often the player involved will resist that). What the option instead does – and this is something I’ve been discussing for a while – is to give the team leverage when coming to terms. Not leverage in terms of no longer needing to do an extension, but leverage in terms of the price they can offer in those early years. Due to signing bonus proration and a desire for longer term cap flexibility an extension will often have lower salaries in the early years, especially if signed with years remaining on an existing deal with low cap numbers in the final year(s).

Darrelle Revis, Nick Folk, Josh BushA deal like the one Darrelle Revis just signed, where the Bucs tore up the remainder of his old contract and signed him to a deal that pays $16m per season from the very outset is extremely rare. From what we know about contract extensions the Jets have offered and agreed to in recent years, the price at which the team continues to control the player’s rights does have an influence on the cap hits and compensation in those early years.

At this time, it’s too early to concern ourselves with whether or not the Jets plan to lock up Wilkerson long term. There is no sign of any dispute, be that public or behind the scenes. While the Jets appear to be in a position of strength, that should be viewed as something that makes agreeing to a fair market value contract easier, not something that gives them the option to retain him as cheaply as possible for as long as they can.

The Jets may give Wilkerson a contract extension this year, or they may wait until next season, but either way we can be assured that him getting a contract extension at the end of his third season was never a certainty and the situation with the fifth year option is unlikely to have changed the team’s ongoing plans.

Whether or not he does sign a new deal, it’s likely that anyone who is factoring in a requirement for $10-12m of extra salary cap room in 2014 is over-estimating that cost significantly. That’s unless the team aims to exploit their available cap space to front-load the deal – but as we’ve seen in the past, that’s a strategy loaded with risk.




72 comments
dabronx
dabronx

This is a business. Mo is not going to get paid this year. Technically, he is not a FA until post the 2015 season (if we pick up his option).  Why would we give someone an extension with 2 years left on his contract? Not to mention we can tag him for 2016. This whole conversation is very premature.

Alex Ferguson
Alex Ferguson

The Jets have finally waited out these awful win-now contracts from the Tanny regime. We have a ton of cap space to work with, we need to use it to keep our core intact. I know we can get Mo on a sweetheart deal for next year, but this had better used as nothing more than a negotiating tactic. Lock him up and lets build a defense solid from inside out. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Hanknaples Hank, I'm actually interested in whether or not you've ever read Deadspin's piece on how ESPN fabricated a Jet-related story. It's actually fascinating to watch the different news agencies all play a role and generate a "story" out of literally nothing. This is that sort of thing, they keep repeating "sources report ______" until we think it's fact to try and go back to it later on without people questioning the original source material. 


Also, interested in your thoughts on the new Phins GM. He was in the Bucs' front office, but wasn't even interviewed for their vacancy. What are your feelings on that? 

Pat d
Pat d

Hank is still waiting for the perfect storm

Brendan
Brendan

@Hanknaples You realize that "BS coming from Jets sources" was just fabricated by the media like everything else, right? 

bradysucks
bradysucks

@Brendan@Hanknaples


I think Bassett should dump Corey and bring Hank/Naples with him to 2014 Jets training camp.

I would like to see Hank interview "Rexy" and fawn over Big Snacks like a love struck school girl!


I can only imagine the questions Hank will have for "Rexy" and Geno....


You up for it Hankster? Better question.....Is REXY up for it????



arc34
arc34

@Brendan @Hanknaples We get it already....all negative Jet stories are media fabricated and all positive ones are not....you must work in the Jet FO.

kniff
kniff

If we prioritize WR and Guard in the draft, and forego or lose out a play for a TE (like Jace Amaro) I could totally see drafting a high rated pass rusher with our third pick (if available) to solidify our front seven. 


In this scenario, We rock forth with Cumby and Sudfeld (which I'm cool with) and maybe get a FA TE with something left in the tank (much like the success with Colon or to some degree Winslow) for depth and/or competition.


As far as our concerns with our secondary, I have a bad feeling about the idea of letting Cromartie go... I think he's poised for a great year now that his hip is going to have a chance to heal, and I appreciate all the good things he has done for us...I'd much rather part ways with Kyle Wilson... I'm good with Landry, Allen and Reed (is Reed even signed for next season) and maybe a FA stud to add competition...perhaps Walls will be in the mix too...

kniff
kniff

@jetlife @kniff Well Milliner has more potential and in even less expensive... and I don't hate Wilson at all (perhaps he indeed serves a good purpose on ST,) it's just that Cro is up there with Vilma and Cotchery, as far as awesome Jets, that I didn't or don't want to see go, and some of us indeed had our regrets...


I'm just grasping at straws taking into consideration the following;


Keeping good vets by having $ to satisfy reasonable compensation requests 


Getting a WR corps that we can be proud of...at LEAST two playmakers (maybe FA)


New high talent depth to strengthen Guard position (maybe FA)


A stud TE to replace Winslow (either by draft or FA)


Paying Folk (who should get a raise)


and Yes, factoring some substantive attention to our Secondary (once again $$$)


Its just a case of better than last year, but certainly finite resources, and of coarse wanting to get to the playoffs!!!





kniff
kniff

@jake100 @kniff @jetlife Cro was playin' hurt last year bro, that's all I'm saying... I'm sure that over the last three seasons combined, the stats will show Cro as the Man...


I might also say that as far as the eyeball test goes, it seems to me that Wilson causes a lot of penalties as well...

__fense
__fense

@kniff @jetlife Wilson and Milliner don't play the same position. Nickle corners have to do different things (and be on the field at the same time as) as the guys like Milliner and Cro who Cover Wideouts and can use the sideline.

kniff
kniff

@__fense @kniff @jetlife Ok you guys win!! The good news is I'm sure Kyle will be with us next year, and has received good press due to some charitable work he has done this off season...

Brendan
Brendan

@kniff @__fense @jetlife I'm late to this party, but your Wilson/penalty eye-test on penalties is off. He had that Billdos game nightmare that didn't mean anything in a winning effort, but other than that? None. He had 5 penalties called on him that game, 1 was declined, and he didn't draw another flag all year (or he may have the last week, I forget). 


As far as his coverage went, he played at an elite level for a slot corner and was near the tops in the NFL in yards/coverage route .


The guy turned a corner this year, it doesn't surprise me that public opinion is lagging, but don't say we didn't tell you so. :)

__fense
__fense

@jake100 @kniff @jetlife That one really bad game was all one ref throwing flags because he was mad at the Jets. Rex Ryan asked the line judge for a measurement on third and short, and the ref refused for no reason, until Rex had to challenge the spot to force them to bring out the chains and measure like they were supposed to in the first place. So then the line judge that Rex yelled at (who wasn't even on the same side of the field as Wilson) Threw four flags in a row, with every one being questionable and every one being thrown by a guy who normally shouldn't even be looking at the guy he threw the flag on. That same official also threw four flags against Ducausse, again from the opposite sideline. The officiating in that game was a travesty.

Pat d
Pat d

@kniff

You aren't going to get a high rated pass rusher in the 3rd round

__fense
__fense

@a57se @__fense I was at that game, and the booing of the officials was just about the loudest I've heard that stadium.

jetlife
jetlife

@kniff I do not understand the argument for releasing Wilson at all. His salary is reasonable and provides above average play for what he is. Just because he may not have lived up to a 1st round "star" doesn't mean he can't make plays.

kniff
kniff

@a57se @Pat d You are absolutely right about the third round (look how quickly pass rush studs went last year...) Things always change on here as to strategy and preferences from month to month. Lets see what needs on both sides of the ball can be met in FA and adjust our draft debates accordingly.


And as 57 reminds us, a lot of amazing NFL players (including pass rush monsters) were 3rd rounders, that received little or no fanfare...until they were able to develop their game.


Hey at least there is real consensus as to what our needs are for next year.... or maybe not lol!! 



dabronx
dabronx

@Brendan@kniff@__fense@jetlife 

Agreed. Wilson is arguable the best slot corner in the NFL. Cro was average this year and is on the wrong side of 30. Also, if we keep him he will cost 15M against the cap. He is not worth 15M. He will get cut no matter what. We need to improve our secondary this offseason and I don't see Cro as part of that plan. 

dabronx
dabronx

@a57se@kniff 

Colt Loyerla. First round talent with major baggae, worth a shot if he is available from the 4th round on. 

bradysucks
bradysucks

Mo is great but Richardson will be better......The Jets should pay them both and not bet the farm on Big Mo......Obviously we don't need to worry about paying Richardson for a few years......but down the road  we will


Hope to see them both retire as Jets :)

Brendan
Brendan

@bradysucks  I think it's pretty crazy to make proclamations like this one. 


Wilkerson is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, he's just as good as Richardson against the run (he's actually better, but whatever) and he's a much better pass rusher. 


They're the two future superduperstars on the DL let's just be happy with that. 

bradysucks
bradysucks

Richardson was better as a rookie than Big Mo and I think he has a higher ceiling.

They are both superstars even if they don't get the credit from media and pro bowl voters

Brendan
Brendan

@bradysucks Richardson had Mo as a rookie. Mo didn't have anyone as good as Mo. 


We can go 'round and 'round all day, but let's not undersell just how ridiculously good the Wilkshake is. 

harold
harold

@bradysucks @Brendan

I saw it as well and thought it was bold.  But time will tell us who ultimately judge.  If they Mo continues to get better and Richardson gets better than him We will win a superbowl at some point.

bradysucks
bradysucks

Yes you're right.....they most definitely compliment each other

Reminds me of Klecko & Gastineau. While Mo & Boss Hogg are different players than the sack exchange guys they are likely to be just as dominant. It would be nice to see what happens if Coples starts peaking at his full potential and we add a legit pass rusher. It will be something special for sure.....Could end up being one of the all time great defenses.

bradysucks
bradysucks

I am a huge fan of Snacks and love his underdog story. Having said this, Snacks is not on the same level as Mo and Richardson. Snacks is a guy who without question benefits from playing between 2 guys who most coaches would prefer to double team. I think a lot of nose tackles would benefit greatly playing between Boss Hogg & Big Mo. Don't get me wrong either ... Snacks is a good player and I'm a fan of his...

Brendan
Brendan

@bradysucks Wilkerson was a beast with Snacks not playing in 2012. Snacks benefits from not being double-teamed all game because the two guys next team him have to be. He is the "least" of the three DL starters, which is no knock on him. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Hanknaples I disagree. He was an elite run-stuffer last year, already drawing double/triple teams (Bo was already broken down, letting his playing time slip in favor of DeVito who was healthier). 


Wilkerson's big jump was in his pass rushing and on a lot of those passing downs Harrison wasn't on the field. 


I think it's safest to say the addition of Richardson, the new focus on Harrison/Ellis and better edge pressure all contributed to players playing better, as well as the natural progression that these young guys will go through. Remember, they all have potential as individuals, it's just that their potential as a unit dwarfs their individual promise. 


This is what we like to call a "fun" argument. Three years ago if you would have told me we would be sitting here in early 2014 arguing about which of the team's young DL is going to be the greatest I would have laughed at you. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Hanknaples They all owe each other a big thank you, but Snacks faced the least amount of double-teams on the DL. 


If we're going to rank the three starting DL, it'd go: 

1. Wilkerson

2. Richardson

3. Harrison


But that's like rating George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. Any way you go, you're still doing well. (I swear if someone tries to pick apart any of those three past Presidents I will scream - we know they weren't perfect, but the point is the same). 

bob
bob

So I'm guessing if Wilk was on the NY Giant team or another Team .I would think that Wilk will have to play out his contract. I just don't see the Jets moving off existing contract not of coarse it benefits the team.

__fense
__fense

Because If there's anyone I trust when it comes to the cap, it's Cole and Cimini. When Wilkerson does get his contract, will we be able to afford signing our draft picks?

harold
harold

No way we'll have that much cap space.

Bytor
Bytor

@__fense The rookies man, we need $40MM just to sign our rookies!

metjetnet
metjetnet

(nee miketaliaferro) As the Jets' finances begin to normalize some, this is the first off-season where we'll see Itzik's personal business style & philosophy, and get to compare & contrast it with Tanny's. I hope John's core competency thrives in this important part of the job (dealing w/veterans' contracts so that everyone is happy). This is the area of his job where Tanny was an absolute disaster. His personal approach was to publicly demean the player as greedy, utilizing a self-aggrandizing media in hopes of turning the fan base against that player. We've spent years on this blog & others being dragged into these suddenly public, suddenly very nasty, private work negotiations. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but it consistently led to angry, bitter dealings between the locker room & the front office, with each year's vet class on Red Alert for Tanny after seeing what had happened to respected teammates the year(s) before. A major portion of the entire ugly Revis conflict was created by DR's simply watching what Tanny had done to popular, solid & important players in that locker room, whose contracts were expiring or, even worse, were hitting the higher $$ years of their backloaded contracts, which Tanny had happily negotiated but now didn't want to pay out on. Tanny created 'Revis,' as a negotiating opponent, as much as any advisor or family member. Tanny merely had his own approach bounce back from a tough-minded player & it blew up in his face. So, let's take some time & see how Itzik approaches all of this. My prayer is that he deals WITH pros AS a pro, and the Jets grow & improve in the way we all, fans, players, coaches & front office are pining for...

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se@metjetnetIt always seemed under Tanny that the agents went to the press first.  Plus, "Hard Knocks" showed that Woody had a particular aversion to agents negotiating in the press.  So, I don't see how Idzik can change agent behavior, and once a player contract dispute goes public, how Idzik could refrain from responding.

harold
harold

@a57se

If the players on their board are all fairly equal.  I think a team that may be most likely to trade up is Carolina.  There lack of playmakers was a huge liability (I know pot meet kettle).  However we have more needs so it may make sense to still get an OLB, TE, or WR.

Marcus Armstrong
Marcus Armstrong

@a57se Tbh, 18 is too far down for us to really talk scenarios. Just too much variability.

Bytor
Bytor

@Marcus Armstrong @a57se Do you guys see any way we draft a position other than wr/te in the 1st? Even a Lee/Hill/Kerley combo can be pretty effective. I suppose anything is possible considering nobody saw us drafting Sheldon.

Brendan
Brendan

@Bytor Sure, they could draft any number of positions depending on how things shake out. They will have a lot of picks, so they can draft BPA over need. 

harold
harold

If we trade back I think we may go after an OLB (Dee Ford possible), RT or OG if we don't fill them F/A.

Bytor
Bytor

@harold Do you really see us going OG though? I think Winters is a lock at LG. I can see us going FA for RG, whether it's Colon or Schwartz etc.

bradysucks
bradysucks

@a57se @harold 


Why even trade back? The Jets need to get some elite playmakers and those guys are usually found early in the draft.....I'd stress quality over quantity when it comes to draft picks......


Quality TE & WR's

Quality at QB

O-line depth

Depth at LB and S

harold
harold

@Bytor

I only put it there because it is a possibility if we decide to go heavy on skill players in F/A.  We may let Howard and Colon walk.  Then we may look to draft the best available O-lineman.  Like Morgan Moses RT or David Yankey Stanford.

harold
harold

@bradysucks

I think if the players are rated fairly evenly at position of need and you can get more picks and players to gather the depth we need on our roster.  We should look at doing it.

harold
harold

@a57se

But generally all the teams are not targeting the same players so you usually can trade back at least 10 to 12 spots and still have a choice of one or two of the players you want.

harold
harold

@a57se

He is a math guy (like me) so he will do the numbers and make an educated decision.  I think he is likely to see the board pretty well when it comes to scenario's

Brendan
Brendan

@harold I think Idzik will have an open phoneline for trade offers, but isn't going to actively seek one out. 


If people want the #18 pick, Idzik will gladly slide down and pick up another 2nd/3rd rounder. They put the big board together for a reason, so if they trade back they'll happily take the top guy on their board and move on. 

harold
harold

@a57se

I think if you have play the board it is really not that risky.  I understand where you are coming from.  I live outside of Baltimore and Ozzie does it every year and usually gets the player he wants/needs.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Bytor@Marcus Armstrong@a57seJets have a lot of $$$ to pursue UFAs, so who they pick up and/or the positions that they are targeting in free agency could impact their draft priorities.  IMO, a UFA WR makes a lot more sense than taking a WR in the 1st round.  A UFA has already proven himself on the field, while rookie WRs have a significant learning curve.

Bytor
Bytor

@harold I can see letting Colon walk with his injury and replacing him with a guy like Schwartz. But Howard? That's insane. We need a little line stability I would think.

Brendan
Brendan

@Bytor Howard is an above-average OT who is a mountain of a man with agile feet. Letting him walk would be a nightmare. 

harold
harold

I can post a link for you but I will let you do it for yourself.  Ozzie does wait but he also trades back.  Please do your homework.  He traded back from the first to the second in 2010 and 2012.  But my other point was that it is good to be patient and trade back you can still get your man often times.

harold
harold

@a57se

It is relevant because it is the most recent.  The draft has changed to where the difference between a late first early 2nd round guy and a mid 1st round guy is shrinking. 

I believe we can follow this lead and shift with our thinking as well.