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Something's Not Adding Up With the Jets

The Jets have money under the cap and issues with depth.

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Aug 18, 2011  |  Updated 1:27 PM EDT
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Looking Back: New York Jets 2011-12 Season

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The Jets can't afford too many scenes like this.

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Robert Turner's broken leg shouldn't be such a big issue for the Jets.

Nothing against Turner, who has been solid whenever called upon, but an injury to a reserve offensive lineman is not the kind of thing that should seriously wound a team with championship aspirations. It does, though, because the Jets don't have another reserve lineman ready to step in and replace an injured starter.

Teams don't avoid those kinds of injuries all that often over the course of a season, so Turner's broken leg feels much bigger than most injuries to a backup. The depth issues don't stop there, though.

Mike DeVito, a career backup, and Muhammad Wilkerson, a rookie, are starting on the defensive line. The two top backups are another rookie, Kenrick Ellis, and a player coming off a devastating Achilles injury in Ropati Pitoitua.

There's promise in that group, but wouldn't it be nice to have a vet or two on hand to make sure that they are all ready for the roles that the Jets are simply handing them? The same could be said at linebacker, wide receiver and safety.

Depth is a problem all over the field, in short, and that leads you to think that this must be a case of not being able to afford everything. The Jets have expensive stars at several positions, so they must be lacking the cap space to round out the roster, right?

Nope. The Jets have more than $9 million in cap space available to them right now, a figure that would provide an experienced backup at almost every spot the Jets are lacking one.

The idea that they aren't spending the money out of an aversion to spending money doesn't really add up. Woody Johnson has always spent as much as possible to put a good team on the field and the combo of PSLs and season ticket money has the team well-stocked in the cash department.

That leaves us with a question but no answer for why the Jets haven't decided to plan for a rainy day. You need only look back to last season when the Packers placed player after player on injured reserve without missing a beat on the way to a Super Bowl title.

Perhaps they are just waiting for players to fall off of other rosters before making sure the team isn't too thin to make another deep playoff run. They signed former Bills first rounder Aaron Maybin on Wednesday, two days after he was cut by Buffalo for failing to live up to expectations in his first two seasons.

There's a pretty good chance that Maybin is nothing but Vernon Gholston with a different name -- he has no sacks in two seasons after coming into the NFL with a big pass rushing reputation from his days in the Big 10 -- but he's still a worthwhile flier for a team short on pass rushers. The team needs to make more moves like this to guarantee they field the best possible team all the way down the 53-man roster when the games start for real.

After all, saving all the money in the world won't do anything to buy the Jets sympathy if they fall short of the promised land.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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