The Jets have no money, and still want to sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. D'Brickashaw Ferguson has the highest cap hit of any offensive lineman in football this year, and hasn't played well enough to earn that honor in years, so the Jets are asking him to take a pay cut to help pay for their quarterback.
Ferguson is due to make $10.375 million in base salary and bonuses this year and has a cap hit of $14.107 million and according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News the Jets are looking to "free up about $4-5 million" of Ferguson's salary. The Jets could cut Ferguson and free up $9.093 million in cap space but they would need to pay out $5.014 million in dead money and would then have an immediate need at left tackle.
Ferguson could, of course, tell the Jets to kick rocks but at 32-years-old his play has slipped to the point where accepting a pay cut with the Jets will still most likely pay him more money than he could get elsewhere. The possibility of the Jets trying to reduce Ferguson's salary has been talked about all offseason and with the Jets having the least amount of available salary cap in the league, hovering just over $500,000 before they officially sign kick returner Jeremy Ross, a Ferguson release or pay cut is the best way to free up the most money in one move other than trading Muhammad Wilkerson, which the Jets are still trying to do but probably won't be able to until the draft.
Everyone knows the Jets still want to bring back Fitzpatrick and eventually, once he accepts he has no better options, Fitzpatrick will want to return as well but when the two sides are ready to come together the Jets will need to have enough money to pay him and convincing Ferguson to take a pay cut would be a great first step to get that done.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)