The Jets look to be in full rebuilding mode as they will be releasing arguably their best player of the past decade, Nick Manold. Mangold thanked the Jets organization and the fans of the team for all their support through the years which would seem to indicate that he was informed of the move today. Mangold was fifth on my list of possible cuts along the interior offensive line and his release will save the Jets $9.075 million in cap space.
As a Jets fan the move is somewhat bittersweet. While most of us understand the shape that the Jets are in with their roster and the need to go younger and create cap room down the line, there has been no better Jet to cheer for than Mangold. You don’t often say that about an offensive lineman, but from day 1 Mangold has really been the heart of a Jets team that has seen many ups and downs. I think it really says something that when his release came down on Twitter not one person asked me about how much cap room the move creates or how much space the Jets have now to spend. It more of a sad reality that the Jets best player won’t be on the team next season.
Mangold was drafted in the first round in 2006 using a draft pick acquired for John Abraham. The drafting of Mangold and left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson were the official building blocks of what became the most successful period for the Jets since the late 90’s run. Mangold immediately got the starting center job and made it easy to forget Kevin Mawae, who was a potential Hall of Famer at the position. He was exceptional as a rookie and it did not take him long to start making Pro Bowls and nail down the honor of being considered one of the best at the position.
Mangold was one of those guys that everyone loves as a player. He played hard every week. If he got injured he found a way to play through it. He was accessible to fans as one of the early adopters of social media but never in a way that was a distraction to the team. He was always willing to take responsibility postgame for a loss and I don’t recall there ever being a time when he ran from the press or was short with them whenever he was asked about something. Mangold spent half of the season on the sidelines this year (ironically similar to how Mawae’s Jets career ended), but even in an awful year seemed itching to get healthy and back in the games. Most veterans would not even think of doing that.
While I had hoped the Jets could have reached an agreement with Mangold to reduce his salary and keep him here for the rest of his career, there is little need for a moderately priced 33 year old center on a rebuilding team. It was nice to see that the Jets front office did learn from their mistakes of the way they treated Ferguson on his way out because that would have been met with a much more vocal reaction had they done the same here. Giving him his release before the combine should give him a good chance to catch on with a contending team in need of a center before free agency starts. I would be surprised if he sat on the sidelines for too long.
I’d say that this release signals what we have talked about a lot on this site of the direction the Jets are going this year. Mangold was one of the people who many thought would not be released, but his release should seem to indicate that the futures of players like Marshall, Revis, Decker, Harris, and other veterans is likely not going to be on the Jets.