After testing free agent waters, Clement stays with Jets

The New York Jets on Monday retained offensive tackle Anthony Clement, a nine-year veteran who exceeded expectations in 2006, and who spent the last two weeks exploring his options in the unrestricted free agent market.

Anthony Clement Clement

Details of the contract were not immediately available.

Clement, 30, signed a one-year deal with the Jets last spring as an unrestricted free agent, when he was coming off a disappointing 2005 campaign in San Francisco. At the time, he was regarded by the New York coaches primarily as an insurance policy at tackle, a proven veteran to hold down the No. 3 job at the position.

But the former Southwestern Louisiana standout won the starting job at right tackle in camp, solidified the position, and started all 16 games. It represented an excellent comeback season for Clement, given that he had started only 13 games combined in 2004-2005, and was seen around the NFL as a player in decline.

Although he has played some on the left side during his career, the veteran is a prototype strongside tackle, and the Jets certainly got the most out of him in 2006. He and then-rookie D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the first-round draft choice who started all 16 games at left tackle, brought stability to a revamped unit.

Originally a second-round choice of Arizona in the 1998 draft, Clement played seven years for the Cardinals before signing with the 49ers in 2005. He has started 14 or more games five times in his career. Clement has 112 appearances with 91 starts.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.