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The Jets entered free agency with about $69 million in room under the $182.5 million salary cap. They were expected to be big spenders and, to some extent, they definitely were.
So far, in the first few days, they added a couple of high-priced players in receiver Corey Davis and defensive end Carl Lawson, while finding lower-priced help at linebacker, offensive line and special teams.
All the while, GM Joe Douglas has kept an eye on his goal of financial flexibility. Even the two most expensive contracts are basically front-loaded deals.
The Jets are probably done shopping on the top shelf of free agency, but they do still have some shopping still to do. So how much salary cap space do they have remaining to do it?
Here’s a look at the contracts they’ve given out so far that SNY obtained from NFL sources, plus some estimates on the deals that haven’t been revealed yet. At the end is an estimate of what the Jets have left.
WR Corey Davis: Three years, $37.5 million ($27 million guaranteed).
$2 million signing bonus. $5 million roster bonus (due next week). $7 million salary in 2021 (guaranteed). $13 million salary in 2022 (guaranteed). $10.5 million salary in 2023.
2021 cap hit: $12.6 million
DE Carl Lawson: Three years, $45 million ($30 million guaranteed).
$7.8 million roster bonus in 2021. $6.2 million salary in 2021. $15 million salary in 2022. $15 million salary in 2023.
2021 cap hit: $14.3 million
LB Jarrad Davis: One year, $5.5 million (all guaranteed).
$2.5 million signing bonus. $3 million salary. $1.5 million in incentives.
2021 cap hit: $5.5 million
CB Justin Hardee: Three years, $6.75 million ($1 million guaranteed).
$750,000 roster bonus in 2021. $1.35 million salary in 2021. $1.8 million salary in 2022. $2.1 million salary in 2023. $250,000 per game bonuses each year.
2021 cap hit: $2.25 million
G Dan Feeney: One year, $3.5 million ($3 million guaranteed).
$1.5 million signing bonus. $1.5 million salary. $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses.
2021 cap hit: $3.5 million
WR Keelan Cole: One year, $5.5 million.
Estimated 2021 cap hit: $5.5 million
DB Lamarcus Joyner: One year, $4.5 million.
Estimated 2021 cap hit: $4.5 million
How much cap space do the Jets have left?
They started with $69 million and have spent $48.1 million in cap space so far. Keep in mind, they also tendered WR Jeff Smith, who was an exclusive rights free agent, and re-signed WR Vyncint Smith and RB Jeff Adams, who were scheduled to be restricted free agents, to one-year deals. Terms of those are unknown, but all three are likely somewhere near the NFL minimum. A good guess is that together they only account for about $3 million in cap space, if that.
That would leave the Jets with roughly $18 million in salary cap space.
They will need roughly $8 million in cap space for their draft class, but not until those picks actually sign. And the Jets still have plenty of ways to find more cap space, if necessary, with restructured contracts or cuts.