The Rundown: Pray For MoJo?

One of the adages that Mike Tannenbaum seems to always live by is that he’s always looking for ways to make the team better.  Even two years ago in the midst of the NFL season, he traded for what became a major piece of the team during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Braylon Edwards.

So when NY Times columnist George Bretherton first suggested a quick fix at the cost of some future value, it seemed odd … then made more and more sense as I thought about it – but we’ll get there in a bit.

First, the important thing to remember is that the Jets still have space under the salary cap.  The Jets are flush with space, (said with a Dennis Reynolds flourish) to the tune of eight-ah-point-ah-six million dollars flush.

So what are they gonna do with that money?

Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post has intoned that the Jets have some money issues that are holding them back.

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So if the Jets are being held back by money so much, how come their spending in 2010 was one of the highest in the league to secure players like Revis, Brick and Nick?

The Jets have space, and I don’t think that they’re so desperate for room that they can’t sign more guys to get closer to the cap.  I think they’re trying to hold the money in reserve to the end of the season (or even offseason) to then accelerate monies in contracts to give them more space to go buck wild in free agency in 2012.  Look at their list of unrestriced free agents for 2012, via NYJetsCap.com, it’s not going to put a huge dent in their space.

Bryan Thomas
Sione Pouha
Jim Leonhard
LaDainian Tomlinson
Robert Turner
Kevin O’Connell
Mark Brunell
Plaxico Burress
Nick Folk
Brodney Pool
Donald Strickland

Even though it’s a decent sized list, the cost of keeping those players in New York won’t break the bank.  Couple that with a full complement of draft picks, on paper, the 2012 team should be pretty stacked.

So what was all that about getting better in season? George Bretherton posits that the Jets should consider pursuing Maurice Jones-Drew – they already cut Garard this year.

If the Jaguars were to lose this Sunday to Cincinnati, they would be 1-4 with a game at Pittsburgh the following Sunday. Would another cost-cutting move be out of the question? Would they dare part with the popular Jones-Drew?

If Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum is going to earn his money this season, he needs to continue to monitor every situation around the league. And not just at running back. The Jets reportedly have some room to maneuver under the salary cap.

Jones-Drew, who finished the game against the Saints with 84 yards on 11 carries, is in the third year of a five-year, $30.95 million contract. He is due to make $4.05 million this season.

Jets fans may only be able to dream of a backfield of M.J.D., L.T. and Shonn Greene —  instantly one of the N.F.L.’s best.

But the least Tannenbaum can do is make a phone call.

It’s an interesting premise, and to be clear, no where does Bretherton say that this is something Tannenbaum has done, he thinks it’s something the team SHOULD do.  I wouldn’t be averse to adding a real running threat to the team who’s at a market inefficiency right now because his team is terrible, but he’s one of the few stars that the game has anymore at the running back position, and he’s also not going to be more than a two or three year answer for the Jets.

I also wonder what the Jets have in store for that cap space and how adding a player like Jones would affect the team’s plans for future years.  The way this season has gone so far, I don’t get the sense that this team is going back to the AFC Championship game if they keep playing like they have so far this year without some real help – be it from the current team’s place or from outside …

So … pray for MoJo?