Why the One Year Extension for Ropati Pitoitua
I had received two or three emails asking why the Jets extended DE Ropati Pitoitua now and if there was any meaning behind it. My guess is this was just done to make Pitoitua, who the Jets seem to really like, a bit more secure about his future and to make up for the fact that he spent the 2010 season on injured reserve.
Everyone saw Pitoitua get injured during Hard Knocks last season, where he was one of the main characters that looked to be a breakthrough player. The injury cost him $155,000 in salary last year due to his full base salary being tied to being a member of the 53 man active roster. In addition, the injury did not allow him to earn a credited season towards his minimum salary scale, so when the new CBA was signed and everyone that began playing in 2009 saw their salaries increase to $525,000, Pitoitua’s remained at $480,000, so the total cost of injury was $200,000 assuming he would have remained on the roster in 2010 and 2011, which is probably a safe assumption.
So why give a $1.3 million dollar extension rather than just waiting things out to see how he plays? Pitoitua was set to be a restricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2011 season and the Jets would have likely tagged him at the lowest tender, $1.2 million. So essentially the Jets gave Ropati an extra 100K to sign the deal now, in many ways a “thank you” for putting in the hard work on his own to recover and be ready for the start of the 2011 NFL season, and make up his lost wages from the injury suffered last offseason.
In the grand scheme of things an extra few thousand in cap charges, and all it amounts to is an extra 75K in 2011 and 25K in 2012, means nothing. They have him a large workout bonus ensuring either an early contractual release to benefit the player or the presence of Pitoitua in the offseason program, never a guarantee for a RFA. Such a gesture sends a nice signal to the rest of the NFL, the rest of the Jets team, and the NFL agents who represent all those undrafted and low tier players looking for a home. Those are the kind of players the Jets will be hoping to attract to the team and have contribute in the future to fill in the gaps around the higher priced stars.