Jets Draft Class Cost On The Salary Cap


There are lots of misconceptions about how much salary cap room adding the Jets 2013 draft class actually requires.  Unfortunately people are often given incorrect information by media members who just don’t understand how the salary cap works.

Here’s a grossly inaccurate assessment of salary cap cost regarding the Jets draft class:

The Jets have $12.57 million in cap room, according to the NFLPA report. That may sound like a lot, but nearly all of that will be required to sign their draft picks.

Source:  ESPN New York / Rich Cimini

Now we’re going to explain how the system really works using simple approximated or round numbers just to make things easily understood. 

The Jets are currently about $12 million under the salary cap according to NFL Players Association calculations which includes newly signed safety Dawan Landry’s 2013 salary. 

The Jets have seven draft picks this year (9, 39, 72, 109, 141, 178 and 215).  The actual salary cap hit, meaning total dollar amounts, for these seven players is an estimated $5.725 million but this is NOT the amount of salary cap space which is required to add the players.

During the offseason the top 51 salaried players make up your salary cap, called the “Top 51 Rule.”  Whenever a player is added to a team’s roster and their salary falls within the top 51 salaries another player’s salary is removed from salary cap calculations. 

The minimum salary for an NFL player this season is $405,000, so if the Jets add a player making a salary of $1,005,000 a player making at minimum $405,000 is taken off, leaving a decrease in remaining salary cap space of $600,000.  If the Jets are $12 million under the cap then adding the above player’s salary would put them $11.4 million under the cap, not $10.955 million under. 

Adding a player’s salary is not a dollar-for-dollar decrease in salary cap space.  The actual salary, money spent for this new player is $1.005 million, but as noted above the loss in cap space is $600,000.  The same applies when removing a player whose salary counts in the top 51.  The Jets remove a player who is scheduled to make $1.005 million he is replaced by a player making $405,000 so the team has increased cap space by $600,000 in this example.

If all seven draft picks make the Jets with an actual salary of $5.725 million seven other player’s salaries of $2.835 million, at minimum, are removed.  $5.725-$2.835 = $2.89 million and that is the estimated salary cap space the Jets would need to add their draft class. 

The rookie salary allotment was estimated slightly on the high side and salaries removed might be greater than the minimum so $2.5-$2.9 million is a good approximation of salary cap space needed to fit the Jets draft class. 

After adding the rookies the Jets will have about $9 million in unused cap space but when the season starts the entire 53-man roster and practice squad is added to the salary cap calculations, about a $1.6 million decrease in cap space.  These start up cost must be budgeted for and the team will need some working capital for unexpected expenses during the season, mostly replacements due to injury. 

General Manager John Idzik has set a budget which allows adding the draft class, handling addition costs and left room to potentially sign a few more players.  Hopefully there will be some carryover money for 2014 as well. 


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