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What Jets can do with a fortune still to spend

Even after re-signing Josh McCown to a one-year, $10 million deal and plucking running back Isaiah Crowell off the market, the Jets still have money to spend and no Kirk Cousins to spend it on.

So where can the Jets spend that money now? Well, despite the feeling from fans the Jets are doing nothing at the start of free agency, there are still plenty of players available. Here is a look at what general manager Mike Maccagnan could do to spend some of that money:

4. Land Lewis: The Jets would prefer to draft a running back, but Dion Lewis is a back who intrigues them. He would go for about $5 million a year.

Making those moves gets you down to a little more than $20 million a year, leaving you money to make a few smaller moves, sign your draft picks and have some money left over for the season.

See, Maccagnan, it’s easy to spend Christopher and Woody Johnson’s money.

The Jets have about $90 million in cap space and could have thrown him the most money. But Cousins may have preferred playing for a ready-made Super Bowl contender in the Vikings, who advanced to the NFC Championship game with Case Keenum last season. Keenum was the first quarterback domino to fall with him agreeing to sign with the Broncos early Tuesday.

There are a number of fallbacks for the Jets, including Teddy Bridgewater and bringing back Josh McCown. The team also could use the No. 6 pick in the draft to find its franchise quarterback.

The Bears declined Fuller’s fifth-year option for 2018 based on his 2016 knee injury, but on Tuesday they decided to use the transition tag to maintain some control over his movement. The Bears can match any offer he might receive. The tag itself is worth $12.97 million. This is all based on Fuller’s successful return in 2017 to start all 16 games.

The understudy to starter Zach Ertz has enough versatility as a blocker and as a receiver — he has caught 60 passes in the past two seasons — to merit a starting job elsewhere. During the 2017 regular season, one out of every five of his receptions went for a touchdown. He also threw a pretty cool touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII.

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If Saquon Barkley goes first, Giants are in the draft’s catbird seat

If the Browns do fall in love with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and take him first overall, the happiest man in the league might be Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman.

Last year, the 49ers chiseled a third, a fourth and a future third-rounder from the Bears to move down one spot, so the Bears could take Mitchell Trubisky. The year before, the Eagles gave the Browns five picks in the effort to acquire Carson Wentz and a fourth-rounder. That package included their first, third, and fourth-rounders in 2016 as well as their 2017 first-rounder and 2018 second-rounder.

The key for Gettleman will be how far down the line to go. To put the kind of team around Manning to justify keeping him, they’d need to add some top-shelf talent, which means he can’t drop too far down the order. If they can gain assets and still add a game-changer such as defensive end Bradley Chubb or guard Quenton Nelson, Gettleman would have to be intrigued.

Believe this: NFL owners cannot wait for the moment when agents are rendered irrelevant. Owners already have slick, charismatic, skillful negotiators, who justify their salaries in part by keeping players from getting as much as they can. With no agents, players negotiating their own deals will have the bad deals negotiated by other players crammed down their throats, with teams eventually having a full roster of players at bargain-basement price.

What about the salary cap, you ask? Won’t that ensure players get theirs with or without agents? Far more important than the cap is the floor. With an 11-percent spread available, owners will have an easier time getting the players they want for 89 cents on the dollar, with the other 11 cents becoming raw profit.

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Benson Mayowa visiting the Colts

The Cardinals addressed needs at quarterback and on the offensive line, but after John Brown and Jaron Brown signed with Baltimore and Seattle, respectively, the Cardinals are thin on receivers behind Larry Fitzgerald. The only other receivers who saw somewhat regular action last season still on the roster are J.J. Nelson and Chad Williams. Arizona, while having been active in free agency, should still have enough cap room to find another receiver or two, perhaps one who can be a No. 2 or the heir apparent to Fitzgerald. — Josh Weinfuss

By not trading Foles before the date on which the roster bonus became due, the Eagles will pay the money — thereby reducing by $3 million his total compensation package for 2018. His salary, per NFLPA records, remains at $4 million. (It’s possible his playoff performance unlocked a $500,000 salary escalator.)

The fact that the Eagles will pay the bonus to Foles doesn’t automatically take him off the trade market. However, it could make the Eagles want a little bit more in exchange for Foles, given that they’ve already paid him $3 million.

Foles would surely want a new deal, if he’s eventually traded to a new team. Given the rash of free-agent quarterback signings in recent days (and the lack of obvious starting quarterback openings), there’s currently no obvious seat for Foles. Which means that the Eagles may have to wait for another Bridgewater-style stroke of bad luck for another team — and good luck for the Eagles — in order to flip Foles for picks like they did two years ago, when trading Sam Bradford after paying him an $11 million signing bonus on a two-year deal.

Given last year’s injury to Carson Wentz, the best move for the Eagles could be to keep Foles. But Foles, who played a key role in delivering the city its first ever Super Bowl championship, could be interested in getting a chance to start elsewhere now.

The next order of business is developing a comfort level with the man not known as McHomes.

Comfort level is extremely high, Reid said. Does that mean I am not going to grind on him? It is all roses right now. That he isn’t going to hit a rough spot here or there during the season? Well, it happens. It happens to every quarterback in the National Football League. But he is wired the right way, I know that. Now he just has to go do it. Everything else is speculation to this point. We feel like we have narrowed that down a little bit to where we are comfortable with it. Now it is just a matter of us doing a good job coaching and him, doing a good job playing and the guys around him doing their thing and we roll.

Assisting the comfort level is the fact that Mahomes started the last game of the 2017 regular season.

I had the honor of working with Patrick this past season, in particular, in a closer relationship for the Denver game, Reid said. Almost like a dress rehearsal not knowing that we were going to make this move with Alex [Smith]. Definitely knew that Matt Nagy was probably going to be out the door as a coach.

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