Thanks to the offseason overhaul, the New York Jets' cornerbacks are tops in the league.
In payroll, that is.
By signing Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine, the Jets added nearly $26 million in cap charges, giving them a league-high $32.56 million for the cornerback position, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They're well ahead of the next-highest team, the Dallas Cowboys, who have $24.81 million tied up in their corners.
Most of the Jets' money is allocated to four players: Revis ($16 million cap charge), Cromartie ($7 million), Dee Milliner ($3.45 million) and Skrine ($2.75 million). In case you're wondering, 22 percent of the Jets' entire cap total is devoted to the cornerback position.
Details of Cromartie's contract emerged late Sunday and, like many deals in free agency, it's not what it seems. Yes, it's a four-year, $32 million deal, as initially reported, but it includes only $7 million in full guarantees, according to ESPN Stats & Info -- a $2 million roster bonus at signing and a guaranteed $5 million base salary for 2015. Therefore, the cap charge is $7 million.
Cromartie's cap figures over the remainder of the deal are $8 million, $8 million and $9 million. After this season, the contract has no guaranteed money or pro-rated bonuses, meaning he can be released with no cap ramifications.
The Jets invested more money in Revis ($39 million guaranteed) and Skrine ($11 million) than Cromartie, meaning Cromartie could be the odd-man out in 2016. By then, the "three-headed monster," as Cromartie called the trio, will count close to $33 million on the cap -- a bloated amount. Any decision would be based on a variety of factors -- Cromartie's performance, the team's overall cap situation and Milliner's progress.
Milliner is coming off Achilles' tendon surgery. If he proves this season he can be a full-time player, it probably will make Cromartie expendable next year. Or maybe Milliner will be trade bait.
Bottom line: They will have options. The Jets aren't locked into a bunch of bloated, long-term contracts. General manager Mike Maccagnan did a nice job of following a plan that created flexibility beyond 2015.
Another contract note: In addition to an $870,000 base salary (the veterans' minimum), guard Willie Colon received a $65,000 signing bonus. He also has a chance to earn a $15,000 roster bonus. He could earn up to $950,000, but he will count only $665,000 on the cap due to the minimum-salary benefit.
The Jets have $12.4 million in cap space, per ESPN Stats & Info. That doesn't include James Brewer and Kevin Vickerson, both of whom signed one-year deals. Their rookie pool is expected to be about $6.3 million, so there should be a few million dollars in leftover space.