In nothing short of a shocking move, starting New York Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson announced his retirement today at 32 years old. The 10 year veteran had never missed a start for the Jets since being selected in the first round by them back in 2006. What does it mean for the team going forward?
First off, Ferguson is one of the best offensive linemen in team history. He will go into the Ring of Honor one day. Despite declined play the past two years, he spent the bulk of his career as one of the best tackles in football and was remarkably consistent and reliable. The Jets will miss him both on and off the field, as he has been one of the team’s leaders since being drafted.In the immediate future, the Jets have a major, major problem at offensive tackle. It is not a hyperbole to say they currently have the worst offensive tackle depth chart in the NFL. As of today, their starters would be Breno Giacomini and Brent Qvale with Sean Hickey and Jesse Davis as backups. Hickey and Davis have never made a 53 man NFL roster. Qvale has never played a meaningful NFL snap. Giacomini is a below average starting right tackle. There is much work to be done if the Jets want to be competitive next year.
Ferguson retiring will free up a chunk of cap space but the free agent market is thin at this point. The Jets may look to trade for a veteran while further prioritizing a tackle with their draft picks. The freed up money could also be used to bring a resolution to the hole at quarterback, lack of depth at linebacker and tight end.
The Jets had three major dominoes that still needed to fall one way or the other this offseason: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Ryan Fitzpatrick. One is down. Two to go. Mike Maccagnan had a stellar debut season as GM but the degree of difficulty just shot up through the roof.
–Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com