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Saving cap dollars for a rainy day

UPDATE: As of Monday night, the Jets were only $464,000 under the projected salary cap, according to ESPN's John Clayton. And, yes, that includes the $8.3 million carryover described below. Clayton projects the cap to be close to what it was in 2011 -- $120 million. For the Jets, the good news is they don't have to scramble to get under the cap. The bad news is they need to create room for the draft and to pursue free agents.

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Back in August and September, and even throughout the season, the Jets were criticized by fans and media for not spending to the salary-cap limit. I addressed the issue in a mid-August story, pointing out one of the reasons behind the unused cap dollars. Here's a graph from that story:

For competitive reasons, (Mike) Tannenbaum didn't want to disclose his spending plans, but the GM appears to have an eye on the future. Unused cap room can be pushed into future years and, according to a source, the Jets are planning to use that mechanism to help them re-sign players in 2012 and beyond.

Now it all makes sense.

On Sunday, Mike Florio of PFT.com posted an item that sheds light on the matter. He writes: "Under Article 13, Section 6(b)(v) of the CBA, each team may carry over any remaining cap room from one year to the next by submitting written notice, signed by the owner of the team, to the league office no later than 14 days before the start of the next league year. The written notice must indicate the maximum amount of cap room that the team wishes to shift from one cap year to the next."

As of late last week, the Jets had $8.39 million in cap room from 2011, according to PFT. If the Jets opt to apply that amount to their 2012 cap -- you'd hate to think they wouldn't -- it would give them added flexibility as they head into free agency. Mario Williams, anyone? They have about $128 million committed to the cap, which is projected to be in the $120 million to $128 million range, so that extra $8 million would certainly help.

In a sense, Tannenbaum saved for a rainy day. Well, it's raining.