Once again a GREAT analysis by the best Jets contract guru on the web. http://nyjetscap.com/2011_Post/toneholmescut.php The Jets Options With Santonio Holmes Everyone knows what happened with Santonio Holmes against the Miami Dolphins. He has been rumored to be a problem all season long and now it is at the point where the Jets may have to consider moving on from Holmes just 1 year into his $45 million dollar contract with $24 million in guarantees that he signed last year. The question of course is can they do it? His cap charge for 2012 is $9.25 million. The lowest cap charge that the Jets could take for Holmes in 2012 is $5 million if he is cut. That is the amount remaining of his prorated signing bonus. However, Holmes has $7.75 million in fully guaranteed salary for the 2012 NFL season. If the Jets cut him all of that guarantee accelerates onto the cap, making the charge to cut him jump to $12.75 million. That would make the Jets $3.5 million worse in terms of cap space than if he remained on the team. Based on information from a league source Holmes’ contract does contain offset provisions. What this means is that the Jets receive a credit for money paid to Holmes by another team in the event Holmes is cut. It would be likely that Holmes would obtain at least $7.75 million as a free agent next year. But the time that it takes for another team to sign Holmes is time the Jets will be forced to sit and wait with the huge cap charge on the books limiting their possibilities in free agency and leeway with the cap. This was something most fans were familiar with when Alan Faneca was released. His contract did not contain this offset, allowing him to “double dip” and earn salary both from the Jets and Arizona Cardinals in 2009. But there is another huge factor in play here that will force the Jets hand into an early decision. Holmes has another $7.5 million in guarantees that he can unlock in his contract by being on the roster in early February. I dont know the exact date, but it should be the second week of the month. That means if they cut him after that date the dead cap charge grows from $12.75 to $20.25 million in 2012. That is a large amount of money that a team would have to pay him to offset the salary owed to him by the Jets. It would cripple the team. So it’s a huge gamble either way. Holmes cap charge is $12.5 million in 2013. If he is cut that year his dead cap would be $12 million with the Jets having to hope another team is willing to pay him at least $7.75 million. There are some other ways they can minimize the charges that year by making him a June 1st cut and paying dead cap charges in 2014 as well as 2013, so there is more flexibility, but if Holmes spends 2012 sulking and catching 50 passes for 600 yards his value will plummet and he may not even make the full $7.75 million offset the Jets need to minimize the dead money charges, not to mention cash payouts they owe him. The Jets best bet is probably to look at the teams that were interested in him last season as a free agent and see if they can trade him. I doubt he would get more than a conditional 3rd round pick, but much like the Kerry Rhodes move this is addition by subtraction. All the guarantees transfer with the contract when he is traded. They can make that move at any point during the year and just have that $5 million in dead cap money with no threat of future payments to him. A $5 million cap charge creates an additional $4.25 million in cap room for the Jets to play with in 2012, a pretty nice chunk of change. They could even wait until after June to make the move leaving the Jets with only $1.5 million in dead cap in 2012 and $3.75 million in dead cap in 2013, when the cap figures to be higher anyway. Under that scenario they have an extra $7.75 million in cap room, but it would not help them in free agency in 2012 due to the timing of it. So there are a lot of factors in play here and the Jets definitely have a big decision to make, and only a few weeks to decide the course of action they intend to take. But if they can trade him it’s a pretty shrewd move for the team. It would mean that the Jets took a 1 year $8.25 million gamble on a player that didn’t pay off. Most are just going to focus on the $45 and $24 million as a sign of a bad deal, but it’s the structures of these deals that tell the real story and the Jets did this one to at least give them an opportunity to escape in the event something like this happened. Hopefully they escape it.