The Jets got some news Friday morning that will give them much-needed salary-cap relief.
The only problem is, for the first time in 10 years, they will need someone new to play left tackle.
Longtime standout left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson has decided to retire at age 32, a source confirmed. His decision will free up $9 million in cap space, and that windfall could help the Jets re-sign free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Jets had less than $1 million in cap space before Ferguson’s surprising decision.
However, the Jets also will need someone to man the position of left tackle, a job Ferguson had held down quite capably since he was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
The story was first reported by espn.com.
Ferguson recently was approached by the Jets about taking a pay cut, a source said. Ferguson made the Pro Bowl three consecutive years, from 2009-11, but his play slipped somewhat in 2015, although he still was solid.
Ferguson was incredibly durable. He started all 160 games during his NFL career, and only missed one snap, and that wasn’t due to injury.
However, he expressed concerns about the NFL’s concussion issue in a piece he wrote for si.com in December, saying he had felt “betrayed” by the league’s medical personnel about the potential for long-term problems due to concussions. Ferguson saw the movie “Concussion” before he wrote the story.
The Jets have the 20th overall pick in this month’s draft, and it’s possible that a quality left tackle could be available in that spot.