It still seems unlikely that Ryan Clady will return as the Jets' left tackle next season, but the team has bought itself a little extra time to make that decision.
The Jets and Clady recently restructured his contract, eliminating a $2.5 million roster bonus he was due next month and rolling that non-guaranteed amount into his 2017 salary, which is now scheduled to be $10 million, according to NFLPA records.
It's a minor tweak, as first reported by ESPN, but it means the Jets have a little extra time to evaluate Clady's health and their own roster and salary cap situation.
Previously, the Jets would've had to make the decision in the next few weeks, before the bonus was due. Now they won't owe him any of his money until the start of the regular season, so they can make the decision whenever they want.
The move, which was reportedly made in mid-December, makes sense for both sides. The 30-year-old Clady played in only nine games last season due to a torn rotator cuff. He's missed a total of 21 games with injuries over the last three years.
The Jets are still expected to be looking for two tackles this offseason, with Ben Ijalana -- Clady's replacement -- an unrestricted free agent and right tackle Breno Giacomini, coming off a back injury, a potential salary cap cut. With center Nick Mangold a potential cap cut too, the Jets figure to bring back restricted free agent center Wes Johnson. Left guard James Carpenter is under contract and the team recently re-signed right guard Brian Winters to a four-year, $29 million deal.
The Jets will likely need to cut several veteran players to get under the 2017 salary cap once it's set and to give them some flexibility to fill their many needs. Those needs include the potentially expensive need of a starting quarterback, too.