When asked about offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson and his future with the Jets, head coach Todd Bowles replied, "Right now, he's on our team," according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.
Bowles went on to give Ferguson a lukewarm assessment of his 2015 season, saying he had some good games and some not-so-good games.
With Ferguson set to have a $14.1 million cap charge this season, there is speculation that the Jets might cut the veteran lineman in order to save over $9 million.
Yikes. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of a mainstay of the offensive line for ten seasons. I appreciate the durability and reliability that D'Brickashaw has brought to the Jets offensive line over that time. Since he has played he's never missed a game due to injury ... which is incredible in a sport as violent as football. But over the ten years I've watched him I've always seen his level of excellence always tied to the play of the team's left guard. While he's one of the best Jets offensive lineman ever, he's never been an All-Pro and gone to just three Pro Bowls (2009-2011) in his tenure with the team.
This past season, Brick's play was particularly unsteady in the first year of the new regime of GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Bowles. Now, with a bloated cap number and a clear unwillingness to help the team out with a pay reduction in order to stay, the team has three courses of action as I see it.
First they could restructure a deal over the course of the next two or three years allowing Brick to earn all the salary he had coming to him in 2016 but also allowing the Jets to spread out the cap hit over a few seasons. Based on the tenor of Bowles comments, I don't see this as a likely outcome at all.
Second, the Jets could see who they come away from the 2016 NFL Draft with in April and then cut Ferguson should they believe they came away with two potential starters at any of the following positions: LT, RG, RT. If the Jets believe they have enough talent at two spots to make up for the loss of D'Brickashaw Ferguson at one spot, I could see this as a very likely outcome.
Third, the Jets could grit their teeth and allow Ferguson to be the starter at left tackle for one final year. In that case, then the Jets get a much cleaner cap cut in 2017 with less dead money before the start of free agency a year from now. While the Jets would save $9 million this year with almost half that in dead money, the cap savings becomes $13 million a season from now ... which is money the Jets could badly use to re-invest through free agency to find other talent -- likely on the offensive line.