If Joe Douglas needs more cap relief, these three surprise cut candidates for the Jets.
The 2020 campaign was not the kindest for the New York Jets. Even with a 2-14 record, the season took some twists and turns that will likely affect the franchise for years to come.
Adam Gase proved he was not the head coach that management and ownership believed they would be getting when they hired him just the year before. It took until Week 15 on the road in Los Angeles for the team to get that first win.
During the first 14 weeks, whispers of falling into the first-overall pick in the upcoming draft intoxicated the city, media and fans with thoughts of Clemson standout Trevor Lawrence roaming the pocket for the Jets for the next decade.
Those whispers subsided after the Jets won two of the last three games of the season to finish 2-14 after the 0-13 start.
Since then, general manager Joe Douglas has seemingly cracked open a window and flooded the room with fresh air surrounding the Jets. He and ownership conducted an extensive head coaching search and hired Robert Saleh, and he is bringing with him a staff that has conjured up a mighty amount of optimism.
Now it is time to get Saleh the players he needs to succeed. If there was ever an offseason to handle that task, it is this one. Douglas will have the draft capital to play with, as well as a substantial amount of cap space to ink free agents.
Although, during all of this, there may come a time where better options are brought in, or where more cap is needed. Therefore, here are three surprise cut candidates for the Jets this offseason.
3. Alex Lewis, OL
One of the areas where Douglas is most likely to spend most of his time retooling is the offensive line. For the Jets, and many other teams around the league, evaluating and finding pieces to fit on the offensive line has been a yearly occurrence.
Before the 2019 season began, Alex Lewis was one of those players brought in to see what he could do for this unit. That season, he appeared in 15 games and started 12. He played primarily as a guard. This past season, he started and played in nine games.
Now, the guard situation is one that will almost certainly be addressed this offseason in free agency. The final determination basically seems to be which guard on the open market will Douglas decide to pay between Joe Thuney or Brandon Scherff? If the answer is Thuney, that makes Lewis more expendable.
You may think “why wouldn’t Douglas keep Lewis to play the other guard spot?” This is a good question with a solid thought process. But, the front office could end up using one of the team’s early draft selections to fill the other guard spot. This would appear to be more cost-effective given the money it would take to ink one of those free agent guards too.
Like relief pitchers in MLB and three-point shooters in the NBA, NFL teams can never have enough offensive line help. If one goes down, which is basically a yearly given, then that can mean a complete re-shuffling in-season. Keeping Lewis around for that reason seems logical on the surface. However, in a new system, and with a rather high contract, that money could be used to fill other needs.