The Jets want 10-year veteran D’Brickashaw Ferguson to take a pay cut to help the team bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Jets hope that D’Brickashaw Ferguson can do them a solid to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Daily News has learned that the team has asked the three-time Pro Bowl left tackle to take a significant pay cut to free up money to help re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ferguson, who has never missed a snap due to injury in his 10-year career, is scheduled to count $ 14.1 million against the 2016 salary cap, but the organization would like cap relief for plenty of reasons, including increasing their financial flexibility to get back their starting quarterback, according to sources.
In fact, the brain trust has made it clear to Ferguson that a pay reduction would help the team bring back Fitzpatrick, who has been at an impasse with the club for more than a month after receiving a low-ball offer.
The Jets discussed their plans with Ferguson last week at the team facility, according to sources. The exact amount of the pay cut remains unclear, but the team would almost certainly prefer to free up about $ 4-$ 5 million. Ferguson, who was working out at One Jets Drive when the team approached him, is scheduled to earn $ 10.375 million in cash (base salary and bonuses) this season.
Ferguson, 32, could also decline an unreasonable pay cut request and force a release if he wanted to go elsewhere, but the sense is that he’d be amenable to playing on a fair reduced salary, according to sources. The third option is retirement.
“Right now, D’Brickashaw is under contract,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said a few weeks ago. “Our thought is that he would be (on the roster)… We’re trying to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization – both short and long term – so right now I would say he would be on our roster going forward, but we’ll see how this thing unfolds.”
Todd Bowles also had a recent cryptic take about his veteran left tackle.
“Going forward, we’ll see how it goes,” Bowles said of Ferguson. “Right now, he’s on our team.”
Fitzpatrick and the Jets are at an impasse in contract negotiations.
The Jets flirted with free-agent Kelvin Beachum before the left tackle signed with Jacksonville. The Jets, frankly, don’t have any real alternatives to Ferguson. So, decision makers conveyed to Ferguson last week that they would like him to stick around and help build a winning team. They’re hopeful that a reasonable middle ground can be reached. The Jets do not want to release him.
The Jets’ pow-wow with Ferguson came after their inexplicable radio silence for months after the season ended. The silent treatment was peculiar for one of the most respected players in the Woody Johnson era.
Ferguson has played 10,357 out of a possible 10,358 snaps in 170 career games. He has never missed a game or appeared on the injury report. His declining skills, however, made a pay reduction inevitable.
Ferguson has two years left on a blockbuster 8-year, $ 73.6 million contract. He is scheduled to earn $ 8.65 million in base salary, $ 1 million roster bonus and $ 750,000 workout bonus in 2016. The Jets would save $ 9.1 million by cutting Ferguson, but they have told him that is not their intention.
The Jets have a league-low $ 565,000 in cap space, according to NFLPA records, but would get a much bigger cushion by slashing Ferguson’s salary. It would also give them a few extra million to put toward Fitzpatrick, who is obviously the team’s best quarterback option for 2016.
The Jets have taken a hard-line stance with Fitzpatrick by offering a less-than-market value deal relative to other starting quarterbacks. However, Fitzpatrick has not found a more lucrative option elsewhere, leaving both sides in a painstaking stare down for a month. Nobody has blinked thus far, but a reunion seems inevitable.
If the Jets are reasonable with Ferguson, they could have their left tackle and quarterback back in the fold.
LIKE A ROSS: The Jets will sign wide receiver/returner Jeremy Ross pending a physical, according to a source. The Raiders didn’t give Ross a restricted free agent tender last month.