After a series of high priced, underperforming veterans were purged from the Jets roster, GM Mike Maccagnan had more than $30 million to play with. How did he approach it? By spending wildly like a frat boy with an inheritance, of course…
Big Mac has made a series of sensible signings for players entering their prime (25-27 years old). The Brian Winters contract looks like a very shrewd move after the first day of free agency. More on that in a bit. Here are the first wave of Jets moves.
- Brian Winters (25 years old) 4 YR, $29 million: $15 guaranteed
- Josh Martin (25 years old) – 2 YR, $4.3 Million [team option in second year]
- Marcus Williams (25 years old) – Tendered, 2nd Round
- Wesley Johnson( 26 years old) – Tendered, 2nd round
- Corey Lemonier (25 years old) – 1 YR, $855k, if he makes the roster
- Ben Ijalana (27 years old) – 2 YR, $11 million
On a yearly average, Ijalana is being paid like Buccaneers’ Demar Dotson and Chargers’ Joseph Barksdale. This is about what you should expect for a back up tackle with versatility to play both the left and right side.
Brian Winters contract looks brilliant in light of the contracts that that guards received – Joel Bitonio – 5yr, $51 million, Kevin Zeitler – 5 YR, $60 million, Ronald Leary -4YR $36 million, Larry Warford – 4 YR, $36 million. The average of those four contracts per year is $9.925 million per year. Winters average per year is $7.25 million.
What else is interesting about the contract is that the guaranteed money for Winters is only in the first two years. Mac frontloaded the contract, which is unusual for a young player on his second contract. It means Winters can quickly have another bite at the apple if he maintains his play and/or improves but additionally it gives the Jets cap flexibility in two years as their draft picks come up for their first contracts. This is the vision of long term roster building.
Now the Jets were linked to Tony Jefferson and Nick Perry in the first wave of free agency, but when you see that they earned $9 million and $12 million per year respectively they will earn far more than the value they bring to the field (statistically). Factor in that this is by many accounts a deep draft for EDGE rushers and cornerbacks – Mike Mayock said as much in his pre-combine press call.
Are any of these moves sexy? No. They are building blocks, the foundation & framing upon which the team will be built up.
This training camp is likely going to be an open competition at EVERY position for the Jets. They’ll be better for it.