Could the Franchise Cost for Safety Threaten the Supply?

LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell are both on expiring deals and the Jets will need to come up with answers at the spots before the start of the season.  Normally, free agency might be a sensible answer, and with a number of quality coverage safeties soon to hit the market it might be an easy year for teams with needs at safety to find one through free agency, right?

Not so fast, writes Paul Kuharsky on ESPN.  Since the franchise tag for safeties will be very low, more teams might be inclined to keep players on very palatable tags thereby shrinking the market.

At many positions the tag can be prohibitively high. But the new CBA drove the numbers down. Instead of the tag equaling the average of the five highest-paid players at the position, like it was under the old CBA, the new formula is more complex. It uses the average of the five highest-paid players at the position over the past five years and figures in the salary cap, too. 

Long story short: Safeties will have a modest tag number of about $6.798 million. Only tight ends and kickers/punters are slated to be lower.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Translation?  Players like the Bills’ Jairus Byrd, the Giants’ Kenny Phillips, Atlanta’s William Moore, San Francisco’s Dashon Goldson and Houston’s Glover Quin might not make it to free agency, thereby lowering supply and raising the price on the middle of the pack guys like George Wilson or Louis Delmas.  

The Jets are going to have to address the spot, even if it is to re-sign a player like Yeremiah Bell to help round out the roster.  Bell is durable, but he’s not much help any more in coverage.  With Cromartie and Landry, the Jets were able to conceal Bell’s deficiencies.  The Jets have to have a progression plan at this spot this year, whether it’s to let Josh Bush take a larger role, or find someone in free agency that won’t break the bank.