Jets Release QB Tim Tebow


The New York Jets announced this morning that they have waived QB Tim Tebow. The Jets acquired Tebow in a much publicized trade last season in which they gave a 4th round pick to the Denver Broncos as well as an agreement to pay the Broncos $2,531,875 in cash as repayment for a salary advance the Broncos had paid Tebow in 2011. The Jets still owe the Broncos $1,531,875 of that total which will count as dead money on the teams salary cap unless Tebow is claimed by another team which is highly unlikely. The move brings the Jets dead money for the season to about $21.6 million, which, by my estimates, is 3rd highest in the NFL behind the Raiders and Jaguars.

This will mark the second player in the last week that the Jets have removed from the roster that will continue to cost the team actual cash. CB Darrelle Revis is still owed $1 million by the Jets due to a roster bonus that was earned in early March. The Jets could have avoided that payment had they been able to come to a trade agreement sooner with the Buccaneers. Had the Jets waived Tebow late last season when the Jets made the decision to play Greg McElroy over Tebow they may have been able to avoid the cash payment owed to Denver since the Jaguars likely would have claimed the QB, though without knowing the specifics of the salary advance repayment I can only guess that is the case.

Some will question the timing of the move because it was well known that Tebow would not be in the Jets plans this season and, that being the case, releasing him before free agency began gives the player the most chance to find a home in the NFL. But this is just the way things work in the NFL. I am sure the Jets spent the better part of the weekend desperately trying to find a team to surrender a draft pick for Tebow. When they found no takers the only option left is the release of the player. Tebow is one of many that will be released over the next week due to draft happenings. Back in 2010 the Jets released G Alan Faneca right after the draft when they drafted Vlad Ducasse, who the Jets felt would take over Faneca’s job.

Though some will say that this is happening because the Jets drafted QB Geno Smith in the 2nd round, most likely it was a decision made long before the draft. As a young QB Smith is logically replacing either Matt Simms or McElroy on the roster now, not Tebow, and then Mark Sanchez in the future. . Maybe it makes for a convenient story but my guess is Tim was going to be released today no matter who was drafted. Even in the weeks leading up to this GM John Idzik was always hesitant to speak about Tebow, much in the same way he spoke about Revis. Today is the first day the Jets can begin Phase II of their offseason workout program in which coaches are allowed to begin to instruct players on a practice field, which is something that saw no need to do with Tebow.

At the least this will get the story of Sanchez’ future off the front pages for a day or two. Sanchez has a hefty guarantee in his contract and could be replaced by Smith as early as the first game of the year. While many are of the opinion that Sanchez’ cash guarantee protects him remember that Faneca, as mentioned above, was paid $5.5 million to walk away from the Jets after they drafted Ducasse. Faneca was owed $5.25 million in fully guaranteed base salary plus a $250,000 workout bonus. Faneca was an example of a freak situation as his salary vested right after the Super Bowl, but because of the special rules of the uncapped year the Jets were unable to release him before the contract became guaranteed. The Jets did not have the 2009 cap space to execute the move. So all things considered the money for Sanchez is not going to be an obstacle, but most likely they will hope a team will trade for him over the coming months with the Jets eating a good portion of the salary.

At the end of the day the Jets ended up paying $4,104,375 for Tebows services in 2012 for about 150 yards of total offensive production. That is one of the many reasons that GM Mike Tannenbaum ended up losing his job last season and the Jets are left with the task of cleaning up a roster filled with untalented and overpaid players. The release of Tebow clears up $1.055 million in cap room, which will lead to an effective gain of $575,000 in cap space once he is replaced on the roster by the current 52nd player, who makes $480,000.


Jets Financial Obligations at the QB Position


Since I know its certainly a big topic of discussion with the New York Jets drafting a QB I wanted to discuss the possibility of cutting the other Jets QBs, though clearly the person on the biggest hot seat is Mark Sanchez.

Mark Sanchez currently carries a cap charge of $12,853,125 which consists of $8,250,000 in base salary, $4,103,125 in bonus prorations, and a $500,000 workout bonus. The base salary is fully guaranteed with no offset provisions meaning the Jets are on the hook for $8.25 million in cash regardless of whether or not Sanchez plays for the Jets or another team. For the Jets to cut him they have to be willing to pay that money to Sanchez, likely within 30 days of cutting him.

The dead money cost of cutting Sanchez is $17,153,125, which results in a loss of $4.3 million in cap space. The Jets restructured the contract of LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson on Thursday to create over $5 million in cap space that in theory could have been used during draft weekend in the event the Jets drafted a QB. The restructure was not done after the 1st round so the way the draft unfolded played no part in the restructure. It would have just been preparing for the possibility.

To save cap room Sanchez could be designated a June 1 cut. If the Jets did that they would defer $4.8 million in dead cap charges to 2014. The Jets would actually gain $500,000 in cap space in 2013 if they made that decision, however with free agency all but finished it is hard to see the benefit of such a move. John Idzik and the Jets may simply be following in the mold of the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders where they take a year of financial pain to clear the books completely for next season. As I have discussed before the Jets could easily have close to $50 million in cap room next year by proper cap management, which began with the trade of Darrelle Revis.

Before cutting ties with Sanchez the Jets could look to trade him. The market for 1st round busts has always been there and most teams would be willing to pay somewhere between $2 and $3 million for a player like Sanchez. Compensation would not be much but the Jets could save more money if they did that. If a team was willing to take him for a late draft pick on Saturday at a $2 million salary the dead money would drop to about $15 million in 2013.

The Jets could also potentially restructure Sanchez’ contract. I cant see Sanchez being amenable to that scenario but it was a move the Jets made in 2006 with Chad Pennington where he was given a chance to compete and to earn his money back via performance. At the time the Jets were looking to start Patrick Ramsey, a 1st round bust of the Redskins, and after the Pennington restructure still drafted Kellen Clemens in the 2nd round. In such a move the Jets would prorate the money they owe Sanchez this year but he would need to take a backup salary from 2014 thru 2016 of $1 to $2 million year.  Such a move really does not benefit either side as Sanchez’ dead money would increase in the future and his caps would still be around $4.5 million a year, too high of a charge for a backup. If the Jets did have offsets in his contract they would have more leeway in a paycut but they have no leverage now.

Tim Tebow currently carries a cap charge of $2,586,875. The Jets have already explored that trade market and it does not exist. The Jets still owe the Broncos $1,531,875 from last seasons trade so if Tebow is cut that money is shipped to Denver regardless and impacts the Jets salary cap this season.

The Jets paid David Garrard a $100,000 signing bonus to go along with a non-guaranteed $1 million base salary. If the Jets cut Garrard the only charge is the $100,000 signing bonus. Garrard has not played in the NFL in 2 years and is injury prone which could make the Jets cautious about moving forward with him now. ..Greg McElroy carries minimal cap penalties if released. His dead money is only $32,576.

While the Jets did carry Pennington, Ramsey, and Clemens in 2006 there would be little to gain from this situation now. Sanchez, if named the starter, would have an incredibly difficult time at home with a newly drafted prospect sitting on the bench. The home crowd was brutal to Sanchez is his last two home games and it got so bad the Jets pulled him against Arizona and did not play him in their home finale against the Chargers opting instead to play McElroy who was not ready for the speed of a NFL game on that day.

Logically the Jets should release Sanchez on Monday if they cant work a trade out for him on Saturday. It clears the books which is what the Jets are looking to do as they prepare to turn this all around in 2014, the same as the Raiders. John Idzik was around a situation last year where he had a mid priced QB in Matt Flynn, low cost rookie in Russell Wilson, and mid priced veteran in Tarvaris Jackson. That same situation to me would be Tebow, Garrard, and Geno Smith. One player is maintained after the summer and one is released or traded.  Of course nothing would surprise me with the Jets and maybe the person to be cut is Tebow and the Jets hope they can still do something with Sanchez rather than to pay him while he plays elsewhere.


Trade Implications: Mark Sanchez


I had a lot of questions pertaining the Jets possible trade of QB Mark Sanchez as reported by Pro Football Talk. While I still think that Santonio Holmes makes the most sense for both sides as a throw in for CB Darrelle Revis lets examine some of the reasons why the Jets would make the trade:

1. Cap and Cash Space

If the Jets were to trade Mark Sanchez without any contract modification they would transfer to the Buccaneers $8.25 million in fully guaranteed base salary and $500,000 in workout bonus money, saving the Jets from paying another $8.75 million to the struggling QB.

Sanchez currently carries a cap charge for the Jets of $12,853,125, 2nd highest on the team. Between signing bonuses, salary advances and guaranteed salary it would have cost the Jets $17,153,125 in dead money to release Sanchez. If traded, however, the salary guarantees will move to Tampa leaving the Jets with just $8,903,125 in dead money, creating $3,950,000 in cap room for the Jets.

2. Offsetting some of the cap space lost to Revis

Trading Revis will cost the Jets $3 million in cap room plus the cost of the additional draft pick that replaces him. I have estimated the cost of the 13th pick in the NFL draft to be $1,828,000 in cap in 2013, making the trade of Revis cost the Jets $4.828 million in cap room. Sanchez’ net cap savings of $3.47 million (assuming he is replaced by a player earning $480,000) makes the cap effect of the Revis trade much more reasonable to the Jets.

3. Preparing for 2014

I heard a lot of comments, specifically on ESPN this afternoon, about how this does nothing to help the Jets now. Free agency is over and the Jets would give the QB away for nothing. What has to be realized is that the Jets are in a full scale rebuilding mode. While not to the level of the Raiders rebuild, the Jets essentially have no roster in 2014. As of the 11th of April the Jets had only 33 players under contract in 2014. Of those 33 players 3 have almost no chance of being on the team in 14 (Sanchez, Holmes, and Tim Tebow) and 11 are non-bonus longer shot types to remain. Functionally we are looking at probably 25 players plus 6 or 7 from this years draft, putting the Jets in a clear position to rebuild the club via free agency and the draft.

The offsetting cap space created by include Sanchez in the Revis trade would allow the Jets to carryover more salary cap money to 2014 that can be used to be more active in free agency. Moreso it eliminates $4.8 million in dead money that would be on the books in 2014 if the Jets carried him until then. So in essence the Jets cap space is going to be inflated by $8.75 million next year if they can include Sanchez in a trade.

4. Eliminating the Ugly Scene During the Season

As a long suffering Jets fan I can tell you that the treatment Sanchez received last season was probably worse than any QB in recent memory which is saying something when you consider the struggles the Jets have had. Whether it was or wasn’t all Sanchez’ fault the last two years the fact is the fanbase thinks it is. IMO, the Jets benched Sanchez last year as much to avoid the home field response as it was to try out Greg McElroy.  If the team has lost faith in Sanchez there is almost no need to deal with the negative PR associated with him trotting out on the field, especially in the event he is backing up David Garrard. Garrard hasn’t taken a snap since 2010 and is an injury waiting to happen. I remember when the crowd booed Chad Pennington  coming in for relief when Jay Fiedler got injured in 2005. That will seem like nothing compared to what would happen if Sanchez is the backup and forced into action.