The New York Jets are having a pretty good season which might result in them making the playoffs for the first time after four barren seasons. Regardless of the relative success, at the end of this season a lot of players won’t be staying on for the next step in this process.
So who is on the edge of getting pushed out of the team? Cornerback Antonio Cromartie who has been with the Jets since 2010, including three Pro Bowl appearances (2012-2014), is one of the names on the list. With the 31-year old who has slipped in ability this season it’s more a matter of money than performance. He makes $8 million a season in 2016 and 2017 before going up to $9 million in 2018. The Jets can cut him without any dead money repercussions after this season, so if he doesn’t take a paycut, they’ll probably do it.
Geno Smith is someone who is going to get cut regardless of his salary. The Jets might pay a little bit of dead money for cutting him, but it’s getting to the point where it’s quite clear he’s not the one to lead this franchise in the next few years. Back from his broken jaw injury, Smith isn’t close to threatening Ryan Fitzpatrick’s place as the starting quarterback, and frankly, Smith has rarely shown consistent ability to handle the job.
Other players who could be on the chopping line unless they take less money are Muhammad Wilkerson, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Damon Harrison. Wilkerson is a free agent at the end of this season and the Jets & he couldn’t find the right numbers to make an extension during the offseason, and he wants a lot of money. Harrison is another free agent that just isn’t really doing anything special on the field, and is part of the old guard from the previous GM. Ferguson has been with the team since 2006 and was a Pro Bowler five years ago, but he has a cap hit of $14 million next season and then again in 2017. His ability isn’t what it used to be, and the Jets might try to get him to take a pay cut. If not, they’ll look to trade him, hoping that his clean bill of healthy (hasn’t missed a single game since being drafted) will help.