Tuesday's salary-cap purge, which created nearly $31 million in cap relief, became national news, with some pundits portraying the four veteran cuts as new GM John Idzik taking the Jets in a new direction. That's kinda sorta true, but also know this:
These moves were set in stone as far back as late last fall, when it became apparent the Jets weren't going anywhere in 2012. If Mike Tannenbaum had kept his job, he would've made the exact same moves. These were organizational cap cuts, not one guy deciding on a whim. No one was blindsided here, not the players, not even the media, which had been reporting for several weeks that Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith would be released.
Now the question is, what's next? The Jets are approximately $5.7 million under the cap (that number is fluctuating because the cap amount hasn't been set), and they will create more room before the start of the league year on March 12.
Idzik has moved past the no-brainer stage of his offseason. Up next on his agenda:
1. He will make a decision on backup QB Tim Tebow ($2.6 million base salary). The Jets will try to shop him at this week's scouting combine. The first day they can trade him is March 12, so they might keep him until then with the hope that they can swing a deal. Chances are, no one will bite, so they'll end up releasing him.
2. He has to resolve the Darrelle Revis saga. The star cornerback is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 15, so you'd think they'd make a move before then. The Jets have three primary options: Let him play out his deal in 2013, extend his contract for mega-money or trade him. This will be one of the hottest stories at the combine.
3. Idzik will approach a few players about restructuring their contracts. The most likely candidates are LB David Harris (team-high $13 million cap charge), WR Santonio Holmes ($12.5 million), CB Antonio Cromartie ($10.8 million), LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson ($10.7 million) and NT Sione Po'uha ($6.2 million).
QB Mark Sanchez ($12.9 million) could be a candidate, but it doesn't make sense to push his money into future years, considering his tenuous position on the team. They can make a relatively clean break from him after 2013 if they keep his contract as is. There's a downside to restructuring. It's the credit card approach; you save now, but pay later. The Jets should try to avoid that as much as possible.
4. Idzik will address his own free agents, ramping up talks with agents this week in Indianapolis. The Jets have 12 unrestricted free agents, including eight starters. They appear to be most interested in retaining DT Mike DeVito, TE Dustin Keller and perhaps S LaRon Landry, depending on his price. They also have to make a decision on two key restricted free agents, RT Austin Howard and TE Jeff Cumberland. They have to decide which tender to give Howard -- first-round ($2.9 million) or second-round ($2 million).