The Jets might have come up with a new way to have their cake and possibly trade it, too.
Often, a team that would like to trade a player the team otherwise would release puts out word of the looming termination, while waiting for the phone to ring. For the Jets and receiver Corey Davis, Wednesday's clunky developments feel like an effort to nudge Davis away from the active roster, while waiting for a trade offer.
Davis said he’s stepping away from football. The jets pounced, announcing his retirement and placing him on the reserve/retired list. It allows the Jets to release him without releasing him, hanging onto his rights while not having him on the roster and also anticipating the possibility of another team wanting to make a deal for the fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft (yes, the Titans took him instead of Patrick Mahomes).
If Davis is truly retiring, he'd potentially owe the Jets $667,000 in paid but unearned signing-bonus money. Either way, the Jets avoid $10.5 million in base salary — and create that much in cap space.
Davis could have insisted on being released, if that's what the Jets planned to do. This approach at least keeps alive the possibility, slim as it might be, that someone will take on his salary for 2023, in lieu of Davis becoming a free agent and looking for whatever he can get.
Regardless. Davis surely wasn't walking away from a sure-thing, eight-figure salary. He likely had reason to believe the Jets were going to cut him loose. They still might release him from the reserve-retired list.
For now, if another team wants Davis, all they have to do is give the Jets a call.