Reaching into the New York Jets mailbag for our question of the week:
— Fady (@FadyDizzle) March 18, 2016
@RichCimini: First, there are two things to know: After signing left tackle Russell Okung, the Denver Broncos are shopping Ryan Clady, who is coming off ACL surgery and has a $10.1 million cap charge. Meanwhile, left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is on slightly shaky ground with the Jets. On Friday, general manager Mike Maccagnan said he expects Ferguson to be on the opening-day roster, but he left some wiggle room, saying it's a fluid situation. Prior to this year, Ferguson's status never had been in question.
If the Jets make a move at left tackle, it would be for the same reasons the Broncos did -- to get younger and cheaper. Okung, 27, is about a year younger than Clady, who is three years younger than Ferguson. Okung is due to make $5 million in the upcoming season, Clady is at $9.5 million and Ferguson is at $10.1 million.
If the Jets are intent on replacing Ferguson, whose overall play slipped last season, why didn't they make a run at Okung? That's what leads me to believe they won't pursue a trade for Clady. Yes, they showed interest in free agent Kelvin Beachum, but he's only 26 years old. Like Clady, he's coming off a major knee injury. Beachum wound up signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The other concern with Clady, aside from his knee, is his price tag. He has two years and $19.5 million left on his contract, and the four-time Pro Bowler reportedly rebuffed the Broncos when they requested a pay cut. In other words, he still wants major bucks.
So I ask: Why would the Jets make a trade and pay big money for a older tackle (he'll be 30 for the season) 10 months removed from ACL surgery? It seems pointless. They already have an older tackle making serious money, and their guy -- Ferguson -- is one of the most durable players in recent NFL history. In 10 years, he hasn't missed a snap due to injury. When healthy, Clady is better than Ferguson, but Clady has been on injured reserve in two of the past three seasons.
If the Broncos can't trade Clady and release him, it might be worth a phone call for the Jets. He'd be worth considering if the medical checks out and he's willing to play for $5 million in 2016. At that price, they'd save $4.7 million on this year's cap in a Ferguson-for-Clady swap.
In the end, I think Ferguson will remain with the Jets, but he probably will have to take a pay cut. They don't see him as a $14.1 million player. They haven't approached him yet, but you have to figure it'll happen at some point. His Pro Bowl-level days are over, but he's still a winning player. If Ferguson gets cut, he'd probably get an immediate call from the New York Giants, who missed out on Okung.
Bottom line: I'd be surprised if the Jets to jump into the Clady sweepstakes -- if, in fact, there is a sweepstakes.