NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- On one hand, the Jets will have a lot of money to play with. On the other, they're losing their standout starting left tackle forever.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, a stalwart on the offensive line for 10 seasons, was expected to retire from the NFL on Friday.
The fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, Ferguson, 32, made the Pro Bowl three times after starring in college at the University of Virginia, where he earned All-America honors as a senior.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder was always tasked with protecting the blind side of Jets quarterbacks. Though his game dipped a bit last season, he was expected to continue to be a mainstay on the line, though the Jets reportedly did recently ask him to restructure his contract. His $14.1 million salary cap hit was the highest in the NFL at his position.
Ferguson's abrupt retirement will give the Jets an additional $9.1 million in their quest to re-sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been at odds with New York for weeks while testing free agency. However, the Jets are also now faced with plugging a massive hole on their line, something that will not be easily remedied.
Ferguson started every game over the last 10 seasons, 167 in a row, including the postseason, and missed just one snap -- when then-coach Eric Mangini pulled the entire offensive line on a trick play in the 2008 season finale against Miami. He also incredibly never missed a practice or appeared on the team's weekly injury report.
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