The New York Jets are going to have a big hole to fill this offseason, as offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is retiring, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. The move comes after a distinguished ten-year career, but based on subsequent reports, it sounds like the team was aware this was a distinct possibility.
Ferguson's retirement clears $9 million in cap space. The Jets had been discussing a pay cut with Ferguson, but things seemed to go nowhere. His decision to retire clears that all up fairly emphatically. The Jets have the left tackle issue, but they also have an important boost in cap space. Prior to Ferguson's release, the NFLPA listed the Jets as have a shade under $2.5 million.
The big offseason personnel issue for the Jets has been Ryan Fitzpatrick. The two sides cannot come to an agreement on a contract, and Fitzpatrick remains a free agent. There was a brief flirtation with the Denver Broncos, but nothing came of that. If the Jets are able to get Fitzpatrick re-signed, that seemingly removes the last remaining possible trade destination. There could be a surprise, but the only other likely landing spots for Kaepernick would likely require him to be released. The 49ers could decide to eat the money and wait for offsets, but they seem too stubborn for that.
Aside from just Fitzpatrick, this could open the door for the Jets to try and acquire Ryan Clady via trade. The Broncos seem likely to deal Clady following the addition of two offensive tackles this offseason. They might need to deal Clady to make room for a potential Colin Kaepernick addition, so this is certainly something to keep an eye on.