The Jets have some decisions to make. And some of them will come before NFL free agency begins a month from now.
That starts with cutting some players who will clear more salary-cap space for general manager Joe Douglas to work with. Teams typically begin making these cuts around the NFL Scouting Combine at the end of the month and have their cuts made before free agency’s negotiating window opens March 16.
The Jets have $49.7 million in cap space at the moment, according to overthecap.com. Douglas can clear some more with a few moves. Here are five potential cuts, from most likely to least (all salary data via Over The Cap):
Trumaine Johnson, CB
This is not a question of if, just when. Johnson’s five-year, $72.5 million contract, signed in 2018, might be the worst contract in team history. Johnson played in 17 of 32 games as he battled quad and ankle injuries, was inactive for a game for violating team rules and was benched at the beginning of last season. Johnson had five interceptions with the Jets.
The Jets will be hit with a $12 million dead money charge against the cap for cutting the 30-year-old, but they will deal with that.
2020 cap number: $15 million. Cap savings if cut. $3 million.
Brian Winters, G
One of the longest-tenured Jets has probably played his last game for the team. Winters is one of the few players on the roster who date back to the Rex Ryan days. The 28-year-old was limited to nine games last year and has had trouble staying healthy. One of the toughest guys around, Winters played through pain, and sometimes his play suffered because of it.
2020 cap number: $7.3 million. Cap savings if cut: $7.3 million.
Avery Williamson, ILB
This one is much more of a question mark than the first two. The Jets like Williamson, who missed the entire 2019 season after tearing his ACL in the preseason. But he carries an $8.5 million cap number, and the Jets may believe they can get equal production from someone who is cheaper. Neville Hewitt, who is a free agent, played well last year when Williamson and C.J. Mosley were sidelined. The Jets could believe Hewitt is an alternative that would save them some money over Williamson.
If the Jets do decided to move on from Williamson, he would carry a $2 million dead-money charge.
2020 cap number: $8.5 million. Cap savings if cut: $6.5 million.
Quincy Enunwa, WR
Enunwa’s situation is not really about cap space and is much more complicated than the others. The Jets may just be ready to move on from Enunwa, who has played in just 12 games over the past three years and is dealing with his second serious neck injury. Enunwa also clashed with management publicly when he tweeted about being fined for missing rehab sessions.
Enunwa’s contract complicates matters, though. His $6 million salary is guaranteed for injury, so if his neck is not healed, the Jets are on the hook for that money. It also becomes fully guaranteed on March 22 if he is on the roster. If cut, Enunwa would carry a dead-money charge of $5.4 million.
2020 cap number: $7.8 million. Cap savings if cut: $2.4 million.
Darryl Roberts, CB
Roberts started 10 games for the Jets last season, playing both cornerback and safety, but fell out of favor with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in the second half of the season.
The Jets may feel they can’t cut any cornerback who has shown even a little productivity, since they are so thin at the position, so holding onto Roberts may be what they do. However, his contract makes him an obvious candidate to be cut. His entire $6 million cap figure would disappear if he is cut. If Roberts is on the roster on March 22, $2 million of his $5 million salary will become guaranteed.
2020 cap number: $6 million. Cap savings if cut: $6 million.