The Jets exercised their options on two defensive starters on Tuesday, ensuring that defensive tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker Josh Martin will both be back for the 2018 season.
The Jets were facing a deadline of Tuesday on both players, but the decision likely wasn't difficult, especially with the team likely to have nearly $100 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason. McLendon is due a salary of $3.125 million this year and has a salary cap number of $4.25 million. Martin is due a salary of $1.8 million, with a cap number of $2.1 million.
The moves come one day after the Jets declined their 2018 option on tackle Ben Ijalana, making him an unrestricted free agent.
There did appear to be a small chance the Jets could do the same with McLendon, given that they could have cleared about $3.3 million off their cap by releasing him, and he did just turn 32 years old. But he is a strong force in the middle of a Jets defensive line that is about to lose Mo Wilkerson, whom the Jets are expected to release.
McLendon, who left the Steelers to sign a three-year, $12 million deal with the Jets in 2016, is also known as a hard worker and could be a good influence on the Jets' younger players.
The 26-year-old Martin, who signed a two-year, $4.3 million extension with the Jets last March, ended up starting eight of the final nine games in 2017.