The New York Jets had until today to decide whether to make a roster bonus payment of $1 million to left tackle Ryan Clady. The Jets declined to do so and will not pick up his option for the 2017 season.
Ryan Clady is now a free agent. By cutting ties with Clady the Jets clear $10 million in cap space for the 2017 season. Prior to this move the Jets were well over the expected 2017 salary cap. Cuts of one or more players prior to the start of the 2017 league year were required to get under the cap. Now the Jets can afford, if they so choose, to wait on any other roster cuts right up until the start of the new league year, and theoretically beyond. No doubt more cuts will eventually emerge, but there is no longer a hard deadline of March 9 to get under the 2017 salary cap.
Clady turns 31 years old in September. He has been hampered by injuries in recent seasons, ranging from a foot fracture to a torn ACL to this season's torn rotator cuff.
The loss of Clady creates an opening at left tackle for the Jets. With a draft class somewhat lacking in left tackle prospects it will be interesting to see how that position is filled. The Jets might try to bring Clady back on a more team friendly deal, or they might bring back free agent Ben Ijalana who filled in for Clady the last half of the 2016 season. Free agent options are not particularly appealing, though there are a few who might make competent stopgaps at the position.