With over $20 million dollars to cut to get within the salary cap the Jets began their expected roster purge today by letting go 7 players including several veterans with long term tenure on the team.
One veteran who will be around in 2006 is RB Curtis Martin, who the team annouced has restructured his contract to help the team get under the salary cap.
Cut were T Jason Fabini, FB Jerald Sowell, QB Jay Fiedler, DT Lance Legree, LB Barry Gardner and WR Harry Williams Jr. Also, to the surprise of no one, the team announced they would not exercise the remainder of CB Ty Law’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. The moves reportedly will cut over $16MM off the team's salary cap number.
There is a slight possibility that Fabini and Sowell could be re-signed at a later date at lower salaries but it’s more likely that all cut today have played their last games as NY Jets players. None of the cuts today come as a big surprise to anyone.
The Jets were not interested in keeping another QB with shoulder problems, so Fiedler’s fate was sealed long ago. The team will now undoubtedly be on the lookout for a healthy veteran to replace Fiedler, and the fate of Chad Pennington is yet to be decided. Pennington’s agent is reportedly meeting with the Jets at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine this week and so far, Pennington has refused to take a pay cut. This could lead to Pennington being possibly released before March 3, when he is due a $3MM roster bonus.
Rumblings from Hempstead have indicated that the Jets are becoming enamored with Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler, who’s stock has been soaring as of late. If Pennington is indeed released the Jets will likely be looking very hard at Cutler or even possibly USC’s Matt Leinart.
The team confirmed Martin's contract restructure and although the details were not available, sources confirm he took a pay cut and converted some of his salary into signing bonus which will be spread out over several years. The team is also reportedly trying to restructure deals with C Kevin Mawae and G Pete Kendall.
Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com often for more on this breaking story.