The Jets found themselves in a salary cap squeeze earlier this offseason, a state of affairs that led them to drop several veteran players from the roster while watching others leave the team to sign elsewhere as free agents.
Things have stabilized a bit for the Jets since then and they look even more stable now that tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson has agreed to restructure his contract for the 2013 season. Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports reports that Ferguson has converted all but $840,000 of his base salary for the 2013 season into a signing bonus to free up $5.128 million in cap space for next season.
Ferguson was set to make a base salary of $7.25 million, but the $6.41 million moved to a signing bonus will now be pro-rated over the life of the contract. His cap numbers will rise in each of the next four seasons, topping out a cap charge of $14.307 million in 2017. It’s the second straight year that Ferguson has restructured as a way to help the Jets clear space under the cap.
It’s reasonable to wonder if the Jets are clearing cap space in order to make themselves better equipped to absorb the cap hit that would come from cutting quarterback Mark Sanchez in addition to the one they took from trading Darrelle Revis. The Jets are reportedly interested in trading up in the second round, with speculation about their motives focused on quarterbacks like Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib. If they did draft a new quarterback, Sanchez could become expendable even with a huge cap hit made somewhat easier to swallow after Ferguson restructured his deal.