The Jets have asked LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson to take a pay cut, in part to clear space to help them re-sign free agent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
The pay cut for Ferguson would be "significant," according to Mehta, who notes that the Jets "made it clear" to Ferguson that him accepting the pay cut would help them retain Fitzpatrick.
Ferguson, 32, is set to count $14.1 million against the cap this coming season.
The Jets have been at a stalemate with Fitzpatrick since last month, with their contract offer said to be far too low.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles have both said the team wants to retain Fitzpatrick.
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I think this is something that was inevitable, regardless of whether the Jets needed the cap space for any specific reason. I wouldn't be surprised if the team framed the request as being something necessary to enable them to be able to re-sign Fitzpatrick, but -- as I've discussed before -- that wouldn't be their only means of creating the necessary cap space. This has more to do with maximizing their value for money throughout the roster at a time when every dollar counts.
Ferguson has been a great Jet over the years, but the team can justify the request on the basis that they could potentially find someone to replicate his 2015 performance for less than they are currently committed to pay him (over $10 million, including bonuses).
Also, it would be difficult for Ferguson to command the same kind of money on the open market if they released him, so unless he wants to retire, taking a pay cut does actually make financial sense. It's encouraging that the Daily News report suggests Ferguson would be amenable to such a move.
This does raise a couple of interesting questions. First of all, what constitutes a "significant pay cut?" Secondly, and more importantly, if they've told Ferguson they'll use the money they'd save to re-sign Fitzpatrick, does this mean such a deal is close?