New York Jets could have plenty of cap space to be major players in 2021

Kristian Dyer

Next year, the New York Jets could be major players in free agency. For a team that took a significant step in the rebuilding process over the past couple of months, it is yet another step in the right direction.

Monday finally made official that the Jets have released cornerback Trumaine Johnson, the team’s decision to wait till June 1 saving the organization $11 million under the cap. That is money that can be well spent this year in free agency or potentially carried over into 2021. So ends Johnson’s disappointing two years with the team where his legacy is likely to be less about his impact on the field and more about the salary cap space he frees up.

This offseason, the first full offseason under general manager Joe Douglas, the Jets made upgrading the offensive line a priority. Now with the line substantially better, younger and deeper, the Jets could go into next year looking for not just complimentary pieces to add on both sides of the ball but for one or two special players.

The kind of players that could get them over the top and back into the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“The Jets may not have made some of the splash moves fans expected this offseason, especially as other teams with rookie-contract quarterbacks pushed their chips in (for example the Browns, Bills, Cardinals among others),” said Brad Spielberger, a salary cap analyst at  He also wrote The Drafting Stage: Creating a Marketplace for NFL Draft Picks.

“Nevertheless, this leaves the Jets' future salary cap in a very healthy situation. The Jets currently have over $58 million in 2021 cap space with 42 players under contract. These numbers do not include a draft class that will add quality players at discounted prices. The class will add around $12 million in cap in 2021 if they all make the roster this year and next, bringing the Jets to 51 players under contract with $46 million still in space.”

All that says nothing about the $25 million the Jets have under the salary cap this season, most of which they can carry over to next year.

Now, the Jets undoubtedly will have some difficult decisions this year (including guard Brian Winters), but they could be setting themselves up to be major players next offseason. In theory, it makes sense.

Use this season as a way to gel the offensive line and see if the young talent improves and continues to develop. Then next year, add playmakers to the offense for quarterback Sam Darnold, a much-needed edge rusher and any upgrades to the secondary, in particular at cornerback.

“This leaves plenty of room for a Jamal Adams extension among other moves,” Spielberger said. “Joe Douglas and company will have money to work with and another draft class in 2021 to boot.”

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Young talent. Sensible GM. Good salary cap space. This is a real chance to build a winning franchise, I know we've said that before, but this one seems to have legs. There are plenty of elite players out there next year, although of course you never know how many are going to shake free. Build through the draft, supplement through free agency.