Depressed by the prospects of the 2017 season? This should cheer you up, as our Twitter question of the week focuses on the New York Jets' salary-cap situation. Like the song says, the future's so bright you gotta wear shades.
@RichCimini: The Jets expect to be at least $80 million under the projected cap, which would put them at or near the top of the league. How did we arrive at that number? It's simple. According to overthecap.com, they already have $66.3 million in room for 2018 (second to the Detroit Lions), plus they'll gain more space from this year's anticipated carryover. They're currently $24.4 million under the spending limit.
Let me put that in layman's terms: They'll have a boatload of money to spend, and the boat is the size of an aircraft carrier.
You might think they put themselves in that position because of all the players they released this offseason, but that's only a small part of the story. Most of the players they dumped were entering the final year of their contract, meaning they would've been off the books next year -- players such as David Harris, Brandon Marshall and Nick Mangold, to name a few. They gained an additional $24.4 million by cutting players who were signed for 2018 -- Eric Decker, Darrelle Revis and Marcus Gilchrist. In other words, they could've kept those three and still would've been in terrific shape. (Quite obviously, Revis and Gilchrist were expendable.)
OK, enough of the past. Let's look ahead.
Their most notable free agents will be Sheldon Richardson, Morris Claiborne, Marcus Williams, Demario Davis, Wesley Johnson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Josh McCown. I don't think any of them are must-sign guys, although that could change based on the season. Obviously, they'll have enough money to retain whomever they want, plus be active in the free-agent market.
The Jets say they want to build through the draft, but that doesn't mean they can sit on their hands for another offseason. Remember, the league has a spending minimum. I'm not sure where they stand in relation to that floor, which is based on a three-year period, but I think it's safe to say owner Woody Johnson will have to dust off his checkbook. He could use some money to sign a current player to an extension, except no current player is worthy. Quincy Enunwa ($615,000) is underpaid, but he's still two years away from unrestricted free agency.
Leaguewide, the big-name free agents will be a Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo, if they don't re-up with the Washington Redskins and New England Patriots, respectively. In theory, the Jets could make a mammoth offer for Cousins, still only 30, but everything I'm hearing suggests they will look to the 2018 draft for a potential franchise quarterback -- if Christian Hackenberg doesn't work out.
Here's the bottom line, Johnny: The Jets will have a crazy amount of flexibility next year to fix a roster that needs a lot of fixing.