Jets could be choked by future salary caps

April, 1, 2012
4/01/12
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Notes, thoughts and observations on the Jets and the NFL:

1. Money sleeps. Potentially alarming news for the Jets: The management council informed teams last week at the league meetings that the salary cap probably will remain relatively flat over the next three years, according to ESPN's John Clayton. The current cap is $120.6 million and, despite soaring revenues, the projected increase is only $1 million by 2015. The Jets already have several huge contracts on their cap and the biggest one of them all is looming in 2013 -- CB Darrelle Revis, who has two years left on his deal. Revis is in line for the biggest contract in history for a defensive player. Prediction: Headaches, lots of headaches. This is why the Jets need to score big in the draft; it's the most cost-efficient way to build a team.

2. Money matters. While on the subject of the cap, the Jets had $7.6 million in space as of Friday, according to ProFootballTalk.com. QB Tim Tebow is counting $2.572 million on the cap, rather hefty for a backup. Approximately $5 million will go to the draft picks, leaving them some money for free agents. The Jets' plan is to wait until after the draft to sign a veteran receiver, with Braylon Edwards on their radar.

3. Te for two. Tebow's running ability could change the way the Jets approach two-point conversions. He had two rushing two-point conversions last season, tying Danny Woodhead and Danny Ware for most in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Tebow was the QB for four two-point conversion attempts, the only failure on a pass play. Two of three successes came on option plays (Tebow kept one, handed off another) and the other was on a QB draw.

4. Timsanity. Based on stats, you'd have to say that teams started to figure out how to stop Tebow's running by the end of last season. In his first six starts, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. In his last five starts, it dropped to 4.7.

5. Living on the edge. You may not agree with all of Mike Tannenbaum's personnel moves, but you have to admit, the man is a fearless GM. Think of all the bold moves he's made -- Brett Favre, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Edwards and, of course, Tebow. Tannenbaum's managerial style contradicts his conservative persona.

6. If at first ... It's mind-boggling to think how many draft picks the Jets have used in recent years on quarterbacks. 2006: Drafted Kellen Clemens in the second round; 2008: Traded a third-round pick for Favre; 2009: Traded first- and second-round picks to move up for Mark Sanchez; 2011: Drafted Greg McElroy in the seventh round; 2012: Traded a fourth-round pick for Tebow. To recap, that's a 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 -- basically, the guts of an entire draft.

7. Heavy hitters. Rex Ryan believes recently-signed S LaRon Landry will make a major impact. "Wait until you see this dude on the field," he said. "As impressive as he looks, put the tape on and see if he’s not knocking the tar out of people. I mean, you put this guy between Bart (Scott) and David Harris … oh, I can’t wait to see these dudes on the field. There’s gonna be some collisions out there."

8. Cajun Tuna? Sorry, but the idea of Bill Parcells coaching the Saints just has a bad feel. He's a brilliant coach, but the situation would have a substitute-teacher feel to it. I asked former Jets great Curtis Martin about a possible return by his mentor, and he said, "Whatever makes him happy; he's earned it. I really don't have an opinion one way or the other ... Unlike me, football has been the majority of Bill's life. He has a different connection to it than I do." If Parcells returns, he'd have to wait another five years to be eligible for the Hall of Fame. By the way, Parcells already has accepted Martin's invitation to present him at the Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony in August.

9. Poker face. Colts owner Jim Irsay said they haven't decided whether it will be Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III with the first pick in the draft. He said it's "up in the air." Don't believe him; it's Luck all the way. He's been fascinated by Luck for more than a year, before he ever thought he'd have a chance to pick him.

10. QB III. Don't be surprised if the first three picks are quarterbacks -- Luck, RG3 and Ryan Tannehill. The Vikings won't take him with the third pick, but some desperate team (the Dolphins come to mind) will give up the store to move up ahead of the Browns (fourth), who also could be in the QB market. It's amazing how teams will reach for a quarterback.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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