Defensive end Vernon Gholston’s tenure with the New York Jets may be coming to an end, general manager Mike Tannenbaum suggested, via Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger, on Friday.
“Certainly, he’s been given his fair share of opportunities,” Tannenbaum said of the sixth pick of the 2008 NFL Draft. “It could be time to move on, but obviously we’re not ready to say that yet.”
Signed to a five-year contract with a maximum value of $50 million, Gholston had 42 tackles (17 on special teams) in 45 games over the last three seasons. Gholston has zero sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, and just three tackles for a loss and one quarterback hit.
As Vrentas notes, Gholston agreed to a contract restructure last April, which lowered his base salaries in 2011 and 2012.
According to a league source, Gholston has nearly $6 million in roster bonuses the next two seasons ($2.565 in 2011, $3.34M in 2012). Through 2010 playing-time and/or qualifiers, those roster bonuses can increase, with 2011 roster bonus escalating to $9.195 million. With a cap number that is already at $6.273 million for 2011, such escalation to Gholston’s roster bonus would make the club’s decision much easier.
A new collective bargaining agreement is expected to include a salary cap. The Jets already have over $120 million in cap commitments in 2011, and with several key free agents (David Harris, Shaun Ellis, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Brad Smith) to re-sign, Tannenbaum will need to trim some fat.
Re-doing Mark Sanchez’s contract could offer some relief, but if Gholston’s roster bonus increases to over $9 million, it’s hard to envision the Jets doubling down on the Ohio State product.