The Jets have to make a decision by tomorrow. If Ryan Clady is still on the roster, the team will owe him a $1 million bonus.
There have been a number of conflicting reports on his status, but Mike Garofolo’s report from last week is accurate.
Jets still have a decision to make on LT Ryan Clady next week re: option for '17 that triggers a $1m roster bonus. Same as initial contract.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 7, 2017
Clady’s current cap number for 2017 is $10 million. Of course, $1 million is not big money for an NFL team. The Jets could always pay Clady the bonus and still cut him at a later date.
That ultimately doesn’t give the team the flexibility you might imagine. You might say that it’s worth holding onto Clady until the Jets see whether they can find an upgrade. The problem is that is only a strategy if you’re actually willing to keep Clady at $10 million as a fallback option. That is not much of an option. Clady has only been healthy enough to play 27 games over the last four seasons. It would be tough to swallow paying an above median salary at his position for an aging player who hasn’t shown an ability to stay on the field. If the Jets are really in a rebuild, that would be a particularly tough pill to swallow.
We have talked about the salary cap flexibility the Jets should have. While the team will still have some room to maneuver either way, the $10 million many of us assumed was coming from cutting Clady was no small deal. Yes, he could still be cut, but as long as he is on the team, he is occupying that cap hit.
The Jets might not ultimately need to decide whether they are keeping Clady for 2017 by tomorrow, but this is not a situation where the team will have the luxury of waiting all offseason to make a decision. He will either have to be cut, his deal will need to be restructured, or the team will need decide to carry him at the full $10 million over the next few weeks.