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Ryan Clady, draft prospects among Jets' options at left tackle


For 10 years, the New York Jets never had to worry about the left-tackle position. It belonged to D'Brickashaw Ferguson. End of discussion.

Not anymore.

Ferguson's stunning retirement on Friday creates a gaping hole on the offensive line. The Jets weren't blindsided by the news, so they've had time to plot a succession plan. Some options:

TRADE

Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos -- The Broncos have been trying to trade him for a few weeks. Clady is a four-time Pro Bowl selection, only 29, but he has missed 30 of the last 48 games due to injury. He sat out last season after tearing an ACL in the spring. He has two years and $19.5 million left on his contract. The Broncos failed in their attempt to re-work his contract, so they signed two tackles and put Clady on the block. Any team that trades for him almost certainly would want to renegotiate his contract.

DRAFT

Taylor Decker, Ohio State – He’s generally regarded as the fourth-best tackle prospect, but the first three probably will be off the board before the Jets’ pick (20th). Some scouts believe Decker would be better on the right side.

Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M – His stock is rising. Ifedi has great size and tremendous physical talent, but he’s raw and needs developing.

Jason Spriggs, Indiana – He’s another very athletic left tackle. Not too many mock drafts have him going in the first round; he’d probably be a reach at 20.

FREE AGENCY

Will Beatty -- He was cut by the New York Giants in February. Beatty has a lot of starting experiences, but he has been undermined by injuries -- a torn pectoral muscle and a rotator-cuff injury that required surgery last season.

Jake Long -- The former No. 1 overall pick (2008) was a terrific player in his prime, but knee injuries have taken their toll. He played only four games last season with the Atlanta Falcons.

Ben Ijalana -- Ring a bell? He was Ferguson's backup the last three seasons, which means he never stepped foot on the field. The former second-round pick (Indianapolis Colts) is only 26. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine the Jets handing the starting job to him.