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Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Jets remain among leaders in cap space

By Rich Cimini

Some teams leave salary-cap space for a rainy day. The New York Jets have enough space for a month of monsoons.

As of Monday, the Jets had $22.5 million in available cap room, according to ESPN Stats & Information. If that sounds like a lot, it's because it is. Only three teams boast more space -- the Jacksonville Jaguars ($28.5 million), the Cleveland Browns ($25.9 million) and the Cincinnati Bengals ($24.6 million). The Bengals, of course, will lose a chunk of that because they have two big contracts coming up, quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green.

The Jets have 11 of their 12 draft choices under contract, and the lone unsigned player -- third-round pick Dexter McDougle -- won't have a significant impact on the cap. Barring something unforeseen, they will go to training camp with more than $20 million in cap space. But don't forget, they have to save about $1 million for a practice squad and almost another $1 million when the roster goes from 51 to 53 (for cap purposes). You also have to anticipate costs for injury settlements and injury replacements.

They also can try to utilize the space by re-upping with players who have expiring contracts in 2015, structuring the deals in a way that would allow them to absorb a chunk of the cap hit in 2015. The most talked-about possibility is Muhammad Wilkerson, but, remember, he's signed through 2015 after his fifth-year option was exercised recently. Of course the Jets would like to lock up Wilkerson, but there's no sense of urgency to get it done this year. It would have to be a team-friendly deal for the Jets to act now.

In the end, they can carry the unused cap space into next year and we can do this all over again.