Earlier today we talked about the Jets needing to find a replacement for Ryan Clady at left tackle as the main priority for the offensive line this off-season. However according to a report by Jason La Canfora, that may be unnecessary.
Jets retain interest in LT Ryan Clady at the right price but not inclined to keep him on roster at $10m due in '17. Could stay on diff deal— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 10, 2017
Now this is surprising and completely unsurprising at the same time.
Clady managed to get through just 8 games with the Jets last year before breaking down with a rotator cuff injury. It was just the latest injury in a career plagued by them. Remember before joining the Jets, Clady had missed 30 games for the Bronco's over a three year period. With the offensive lineman turning 31 this year I wouldn't bank on his injury woes going away.
Aside from the injury, you have to consider his play. Pro Football Focus graded him as the leagues's 62nd best tackle out of the 78 lineman that qualified.
So with all of the above evidence, why is it not surprising to hear the Jets are interested in maintaining him? Well for one thing, we don't have a ready replacement on the roster. There are no starting left tackle candidates. The free agent class which is headlined by the likes of Matt Kalil, Riley Reiff and the 35 year old Andrew Whitworth is extremely light on talent. So it's not like we have an abundance of options. Especially considering that there are no real can't miss tackles in the 2017 draft...at least not on the face of it.
However the Jets surely will not consider bringing him back at his current $10 million salary, the restructuring of Clady's contract last month did little to change things. The Jets owe Clady a $1 million roster bonus later this month, so you'd imagine they'd need to renegotiate a decrease in his salary before then. Alternatively, some have suggested the Jets will pay him the $1 million and then try and renegotiate his 2017 salary, which is extremely risky.
There is a big decision to be made with Clady, but I can't see any way the Jets retain him for a $10 million cap hit in 2017.