The New York Jets should not spend any more on free agents in 2020 to prepare for what could lie ahead in 2021.
We head into a new world (hopefully temporarily) for the New York Jets and the NFL. With COVID-19, there could be empty stadiums in 2020, which would be a weird sight to behold on television. However, there’s much more to this than meets the eye. This means the Jets need to curtail free-agent spending for the time being.
The players’ salaries revolve around the revenue the NFL makes. In 2021, the players are due to make 48% of the league’s revenue. There have been various estimates around the internet about what a loss in stadium revenue would mean for the salary cap in 2021.
ESPN ‘s Adam Schefter was on the My Sports Update Football Podcast and said the cap could go down anywhere from $30 million – $80 million.
Something to monitor: The salary cap in 2021 could potentially take a massive hit due to COVID-19. "The various estimates I've gotten from executives to owners is that the cap could be down anywhere $30M to $80M in 2021" — @AdamSchefter
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) May 5, 2020
Instead of using estimates, let’s use hard and fast numbers.
According to Over the Cap, the Jets cap spending in 2021 in slightly over $156.2 million. That would be fine if the number were to go up, but how much can it go down?
According to Mike Ozanian of Forbes, the NFL could stand to lose 38% of its local revenue in 2020 without fans in the stands. That’s parking, tickets, concessions, sponsorships within the stadiums, and the team stores in the stadiums.
There could be wiggle room in negotiating. There could be some ways to work contracts around by moving money to future years. However, the 2021 cap is the problem. If it’s 1:1 — meaning a 38% reduction in the cap number — Joe Douglas will have a lot of work to do.
2021 Salary Cap situation
The base salary cap (before carryover) was $198.2 million in 2020. A 38% reduction in the cap would mean the Jets would be over the 2021 cap by a little over $33.3 million. If they were to cut Le’Veon Bell, George Fant, Greg Van Roten, and Alex Lewis, they’d still be about $7.8 million over that cap. That doesn’t even factor in the 2020 rookies.
There’s a carryover, though. If the Jets don’t spend any more money on free agents, there could be a carryover of roughly $24 million. This would largely help curtail any potential overage. It would still leave them with limited cap space to spend on free agency in 2021, as a huge portion of their remaining cap would likely be allocated to the draft.
In the end, Joe Douglas and the Jets must be fiscally responsible and limit free-agent spending for the foreseeable future.