We’ve talked about it before in regard to some potential big-name cuts, but the New York Jets and general manager Joe Douglas will be looking at creative ways to shed cap space this offseason as they target a veteran quarterback that can get them over the hump.
There are other ways to free up money besides releasing players, however, and the most common option is this deceptively complex word that has a wide-ranging meaning — restructure. Contract restructures are constantly referenced by fans and media members on social media platforms but ask someone to explain their suggestion and you’ll typically get crickets in return.
That’s why general managers — and organizational cap experts — get paid the big bucks, and one NYJ beat reporter believes that the Jets must restructure linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers in 2023. He gets bonus points too, because he actually explained how they might do that.
Zack Rosenblatt: Jets Must Restructure LB C.J. Mosely in 2023
During his “10-step offseason plan” for Gang Green, The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt included a section on restructuring Mosley and “JFM.” It was actually pretty high on the priority list, at step three.
Beginning with Mosley, he detailed: “There is no scenario in which the Jets can go into 2023 with Mosley on the books for a $21.4 million cap hit. An ideal outcome would be something like what the [New York] Giants pulled off with Sterling Shepard last year: Having Mosley agree to a reduced salary and chopping the last year off his contract to get him to free agency after 2023 instead of 2024. Even though Mosley did just make the Pro Bowl and All-Pro, he wouldn’t make as much money in free agency as he’s set to with the Jets, so there might be a happy medium for both parties.”
Douglas does have a bargaining chip when it comes to their defensive captain — which Rosenblatt hints at here. If they were to cut him after June 1, they would only take on a dead cap hit of $4.476 million the next two years (saving $17M) and nearly $3M in 2025, according to Over the Cap.
Clearly, this wouldn’t be the Jets’ first choice, but they could use the threat of an early summer cut as a negotiating tactic if they wanted to. A post-June 1 release would be horrible for Mosley’s free agency interest in 2023, as Rosenblatt mentions.
That could lead to a mutual understanding in contract negotiations.
Jets Can ‘Save Around $7 Million’ by Restructuring DL John Franklin-Myers
Rosenblatt then followed up on Franklin-Myers, who Douglas appears to have more options with being that he drew up this extension.
“He’s still only 26 and coming off a solid season, so restructuring his contract — converting salary into a signing bonus to clear cap, and spreading that hit over multiple years — would make sense this offseason,” Rosenblatt outlined. “He has a $12.4 million cap hit, but per Over the Cap, the Jets can potentially save around $7 million with a restructure. He’s signed through 2025.”
Some fans have suggested trading JFM, but head coach Robert Saleh loves his versatility on the defensive line. After all, they extended him in 2021 for a reason and they didn’t do so just to deal him away in 2023.
Having said that, if the front office were going to look into that option, a post-June 1 trade would save $12 million in 2023 and $13.8M-plus the next two seasons — limiting the Jets dead cap hit to just $400,000 all three years. A pre-June 1 trade would be slightly worse, but manageable.
Let’s assume that doesn’t happen and Rosenblatt’s plan is more accurate, Douglas then saves approximately $7 million rather than $11-12M, but the franchise also keeps Franklin-Myers — an integral piece in Saleh’s plans.