A day after the news broke that D'Brickashaw Ferguson was retiring, the Jets agreed to acquire four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Ryan Clady from the Denver Broncos, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Schefter reported the Jets would send Denver its fifth-round pick, while the Broncos included their seventh-round choice along with Clady, who reportedly visited the Jets Friday
Clady, 29, missed last season with a torn ACL and has been out 30 of the Broncos' past 48 games because of injuries. He has two years and $19.5 million left on his contract, which Denver was unable to rework.
Clady has agreed to adjust the deal, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who reported the first year has a $6 million base value ($7.5 million with incentives) with $3 million guaranteed. He has one option year for $10 million escalating to $13 million, giving Clady a two-year max value of $20.5 million.
The cap number will be less than $6 million if any or all of the guaranteed money is a signing bonus or any or all of the non-guaranteed money is dependent on playing time.
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The Jets moved fast to fill their left tackle spot and didn't have to give up much to do it. That said, Clady - a former first round pick - has had injury problems over the past few years and will be 30 on opening day. Clady played just two games in 2013 before suffering a season ending Lisfanc injury and then missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. Ironically, the Broncos reached the Super Bowl in each of those seasons.
With two years left on the five-year, $52 million deal he signed with the Broncos, Clady was due to earn $9.5 million this year and $10 million next year. None of that was guaranteed though, so it will be interesting to see exactly what the revised contract looks like. It would make sense for the Jets to build in some kind of injury protection because any playing time incentives will not count against the 2016 cap.
In his last full season (2014) Clady gave up just three sacks and was penalized six times as he was named to his fourth Pro Bowl. However, he was nowhere near as consistently dominant in the running game as he had been in the past.
The Jets did it again. In 2015, facing serious concerns at receiver, the Jets picked up Brandon Marshall from the Chicago Bears before the NFL Draft in a bid to strengthen the position group. Now they traded for a former Pro Bowler who has fallen on hard times due to injury, but who has the experience and production that the Jets need to stabilize their offensive line. The Jets must have gotten some good reports on Clady's recovery from his ACL tear, otherwise I don't believe they would have made the deal in the first place.
Trading for Clady is a start at addressing the hole that Ferguson left in an otherwise lackluster unit and gives the Jets more flexibility in how they approach April's draft. Having said that, trading for Clady doesn't mean that the Jets are free to whistle past the graveyard again at adding players to their offensive line group early in the 2016 NFL Draft