With the release of Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall late Thursday night, the Jets entered into the full stages of their rebuilding efforts. The release, first reported by Newsday, wasn’t much of a surprise. The nearly 33 year old receiver was coming off of his worst year, statistically, and is reportedly looking for an organization he can compete for a championship with. Marshall took to Instagram to express his gratitude to the Jets organization, and in particular the NY Media.
Think about it like this: in only a matter of weeks, the Jets have released five players – Marshall, CB Darrelle Revis, C Nick Mangold, K Nick Folk and LT Ryan Clady – with a combined 25 Pro-Bowl seasons. The bleeding may not stop soon, as sources have told the NY Daily News that WR Eric Decker could be the next cut after he passes a physical. I believe the Jets would like to keep Decker around, much like they wanted to keep Marshall. While the team has a swarm of young receivers primed to break out, Decker is by far the best route runner and will be a reliable target for whoever is under center come Week 1.
With the Marshall release, the Jets now have around $33 million in cap space, according to OTC, incredible for a team that sat $8 million OVER the cap just a couple weeks ago. (Re: 25 combined Pro Bowls). By releasing Decker as well as executing the long-rumored trade of DE Sheldon Richardson, the Jets could free up an additional $14 million in cap space.
With a full rebuild in process, look for the Jets to use this cap space on young promising free agents coming off of their rookie contracts; rather than the 2015 approach of brining in big stars on the wrong side of 30.