NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It didn’t take the Jets long to find a replacement for retiring left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
A day after news broke that Ferguson is calling it a career, New York agreed to trade a fifth-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for tackle Ryan Clady and a seventh-round pick, according to multiple reports.
Clady, 29, is a four-time Pro Bowler but has battled significant injuries in recent years. He played in just two games in 2013 due to a season-ending Lisfranc injury and missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a May practice.
Clady was due to make $9.5 million this season and $10 million in 2017. But he has adjusted his contract to facilitate the trade, NFL Media reported.
Ferguson abruptly informed the Jets this week that he was retiring. He was scheduled to count $14.1 million against the team’s salary cap this season, and had been approached about potentially taking a pay cut to help give the Jets relief as they try to re-sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If Ferguson refused a pay cut, there was a possibility he would have been released.
Instead, Ferguson’s retirement created nearly $9.1 million in salary cap space,. The Jets had only about $500,000 under the cap, lowest among all NFL teams.
Ferguson, 32, started every game over the last 10 seasons, 167 in a row, including the postseason, and missed just one snap.
In a letter to fans posted on the Jets’ website Saturday, Ferguson said his contract situation was not the reason he chose to retire.
“I am sure some of you might be pondering: Why now?” He wrote. “Well, my goal coming into this league was to become the best player I could be. I never wanted to define myself by the size of a potential contract, but rather by my ability to compete with the best that the game could offer. Though I was successful in accomplishing that feat largely throughout my career, the difficulty in playing at such a level began to increase.
“I also recognized a desire in myself to pursue other goals in life, and because there isn’t always a discernable point in professional sports where one must retire, the decision becomes a very personal one that all athletes must decide on their own.”
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