Ben Ijalana

Jets Place OL Ben Ijalana On IR

The Jets have placed offensive lineman Ben Ijalana on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, according to a team announcement. To take his place on the roster, the Jets signed center Gino Gradkowski

Ijalana appeared in eleven games in 2017 but only played 56 offensive snaps after losing out on a starting job to Brandon Shell. However, in the previous season, he started 13 games and played 83% percent of the team’s snaps.

The injury is a tough blow, particularly when considering that left tackle Kelvin Beachum is out indefinitely with a foot injury. If Beachum misses games, the Jets will have to draw from a group of uninspiring tackles, including Brent Qvale and Antonio Garcia.

Gradkowski did not play in 2017, but he has 54 games of NFL experience under his belt with 20 starts. The bulk of his first-string experience came in 2013 when he started every game for the Ravens.

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Contract Details: Lions, Cassel, Titans

Contract

  • Matt Cassel‘s deal with the Lions is for the veteran’s minimum with $350K in guarantees, according to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News (on Twitter). So, even though there are guarantees, it’s not enough to suggest that the team is moving on from backup Jake Rudock. Rudock has a $630K salary with no guarantees, but they could conceivably roll with him over Cassel if he looks better this summer.
  • Bennie Logan‘s one-year deal with the Titans has $3.75MM guaranteed, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets. As previously reported, Logan can earn up to $5MM through incentives.
  • Tackle Ben Ijalana‘s one-year deal with Jets is worth $2.5MM, Rich Cimini of ESPN tweets. The total guarantee is $500K, via his signing bonus. Ijalana does not project to start for the Jets, but the team clearly values him more than the average backup.

Jets Re-Sign OT Ben Ijalana

The Jets have signed tackle Ben Ijalana to a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The news is a bit unexpected since the Jets declined his option for 2018 back in February

Had the Jets retained Ijalana under the terms of his old deal, they would have had to pay out a $500K bonus in order to trigger a $4.5MM base salary for 2018. He’s back now, under a cheaper deal.

Ijalana appeared in 11 games in 2017 but only played 56 offensive snaps after losing out on a starting job to Brandon Shell. However, in the previous season, he started 13 games and played 83% percent of the team’s snaps.

Ijalan offers experience at both left tackle and right tackle and projects to come off of the bench in support of Kelvin Beachum and Shell. For a complete look at the Jets’ depth chart, check out their page on Roster Resource.

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OT Ben Ijalana To Hit Free Agency

It appears that veteran offensive tackle Ben Ijalana will be able to test free agency, ESPN’s Rich Cimini reports. Ben Ijalana (Vertical)

The Jets had until today to exercise their $500,000 bonus on the offensive lineman that would’ve triggered a $4.5 MM base salary for the veteran tackle. By not picking up the option, the Jets will save roughly $4.672MM in cap space but incur $1.25MM in dead money. Cimini reports the team could bring him back as a free agent.

Ijalana appeared in 11 games in 2017 but only played 56 offensive snaps and 42 on special teams. In 2016, he started 13 games and played 83% percent of the team’s snaps. He lost out on a starting spot in 2017, however, to Brandon Shell.

A versatile lineman who can play both tackle spots, Ijalana is sure to command attention for a team looking to add depth to its offensive line in 2018.

 

Jets Unlikely To Pick Up Ben Ijalana’s Option

The Jets are unlikely to exercise offensive tackle Ben Ijalana‘s option for the 2018 season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Even so, New York could potentially re-sign Ijalana during free agency, per Rapoport.Ben Ijalana (Vertical)

Due to the structure of Ijalana’s two-year contract, the Jets must decide by today whether to pay a $500K bonus that would trigger the 2018 season of his deal. By not picking up the option, New York will save roughly $4.672MM in cap space but incur $1.25MM in dead money.

Ijalana, 28, started 13 games and played more than 83% of Gang Green’s offensive snaps in 2016, and even spent time at left tackle when called upon. While he wasn’t spectacular — Pro Football Focus graded him as the No. 60 tackle among 78 qualifiers — Ijalana provided depth and looked to be the frontrunner for the Jets’ starting right tackle position in 2017.

Instead, Brandon Shell took over at right tackle, relegating Ijalana to swing tackle duty. In all, Ijalana played only 56 offensive snaps and 42 special teams a season ago, making his $4.5MM salary for 2018 untenable. He’ll hit free agency, and given the dearth of tackles available on the open market, it’s not out of the question that Ijalana could compete for a starting job elsewhere.

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AFC Notes: Broncos, Jets, Chargers, Chiefs

John Bowlen, the younger brother of Broncos majority owner Pat Bowlen, is aiming to sell his minority stake (30-35%) in the club, sources tell Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. John Bowlen’s decision to sell wouldn’t necessarily affect the day-to-day operations of the Broncos, as Pat Bowlen — who stepped down as principal owner in 2014 due to Alzheimer’s disease — would still hold the majority of the team and be entitled to designate one of his children as his successor. But John Bowlen reportedly believes the Bronocs are “not being run the way Pat would have run it in many, many capacities” and wants a new owner in charge, per Jhabvala.

Here’s more from the AFC as Week 4 draws to a close:

  • Although the Jets re-signed offensive Ben Ijalana to a two-year deal this spring, they’ve barely used him through four weeks of the 2017, leading Rich Cimini of ESPN.com to wonder if Gang Green could place Ijalana on the trade block. An acquiring club would only be responsible for the rest of Ijalana’s $1MM base salary this season plus $4.75MM (all non-guaranteed) in 2018. New York, meanwhile, would take on $2.5MM in dead money over the next two seasons by dealing Ijalana. Now in his age-28 campaign, Ijalana started 13 games in 2016 and is capable of playing either left or right tackle, but he’s played only five offensive snaps this season.
  • Under the terms of his four-year deal with the Chargers, edge rusher Melvin Ingram can collect a $1MM bonus if registers 12.5 sacks or earns a Pro Bowl nod, tweets veteran NFL reporter Adam Caplan. Through four games, Ingram has already posted 5.5 sacks (though he didn’t manage any against the Eagles today), so he should have a good shot at collecting that bonus. Ingram is Pro Football Focus‘ No. 9-rated edge defender thus far in 2017.
  • Rookie running back Kareem Hunt was advised to return to college following the 2015 season before entering the draft and being selected by the Chiefs in the third round in 2017, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes. Hunt, of course, leads the NFL in rushing yards through three games and would arguably be the favorite for MVP if the season ended today. As La Canfora details, Hunt re-tooled his body prior to his senior season at Toledo and posted more than 1,800 yards from scrimmage in his final collegiate campaign.
  • The Ravens had planned to promote fullback Ricky Ortiz from their practice squad and integrate him as a large part of their offensive gameplan in Week 4, but an Ortiz injury prevented that transaction from going through, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Baltimore doesn’t currently have a fullback on its roster, but it did use Kyle Juszczyk enough in 2016 that he became the NFL’s highest-paid FB with the 49ers. Ortiz is a 2017 undrafted free agent out of Oregon State.

Jets Notes: QBs, McCown, Catanzaro, Ijalana

The Jets will stage a competition at quarterback in 2017, and Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg will all be given a chance to win the job, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters, including Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). McCown signed a one-year deal that comes with $6MM guaranteed and $7MM available via incentives, so the 37-year-old has to be considered the favorite in any sort of battle. But Hackenberg, specifically, could be handed a shot to play in 2017 after being selected in the second round of last year’s draft.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Bowles would not rule out the possibility of the Jets drafting a quarterback with the sixth overall pick, and as such, is open to keeping four signal-callers on the roster for the second consecutive season, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY and Connor Hughes of NJ.com (Twitter links). Gang Green has been lined to the majority of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft — including Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer, and could conceivably land one at No. 6. The Jets have no interest in adding another veteran QB, however.
  • New York will add competition “from somewhere” for new kicker Chandler Catanzaro, Bowles said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Without specifics, that means the Jets could add another kicker in free agency, the draft, or in undrafted free agency. Catanzaro, who signed a one-year deal with $250K guaranteed after being cut loose by Arizona, converted only 75% of his field goal attempts in 2016.
  • After not employing a fullback in 2016 under former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, the Jets may sign an FB this offseason, per Bowles (Twitter link via Cimini). New play-caller John Morton may want a fullback, as the Saints (Morton’s former employer) used one on roughly a quarter of their plays. New York recently met with free agent fullback Will Johnson.
  • Offensive lineman Ben Ijalana‘s two-year deal is worth $10.25MM and contains $3MM guaranteed, tweets Cimini. Ijalana, who will play right tackle opposite Kelvin Beachum, will count for $4.25MM on the Jets’ 2017 salary cap before the club decides on a 2018 option worth $6MM.

Jets To Re-Sign OL Ben Ijalana

The Jets are retaining OL Ben Ijalana, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). It will be a two-year, $11MM deal.

Ijalana offers versatility on the offensive line and he stepped up to play left tackle when called upon in 2016. He’s not exactly a world-beater, however. Ijalana got a 47.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus, ranking him as the No. 60 tackle in the NFL last year out of 78 qualified players.

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Jets Rumors: Marshall, Ijalana, Glennon

Here’s a look at Gang Green:

  • Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy, Manish Mehta of the Daily News writes. The team has since confirmed the news. Marshall tested positive for Adderall and will not appeal the suspension. The four-game ban is an unfortunate development for the Jets as they increase their focus on younger players. “We feel really good about our young receivers,” Maccagnan said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine. “The one thing with our roster right now… everybody’s aware that we’re making some changes in terms of our veteran players. These are all decisions we’re making going forward to try to build this team. We’ll let the young guys come up and hopefully establish themselves as good players going forward.” Marshall finished last season with 14 catches for 162 yards and two scores in ten games. He also returned 13 kickoffs for 324 yards and 18 punt returns for 100 yards.
  • The Jets not expected to re-sign tackle Ben Ijalana before free agency begins, Darryl Slater of NJ.com writes. The Jets have been in touch with his camp about a new deal, but they’ll likely wait and see how this week plays out before submitting a serious offer. Last year, Ijalana played on a one-year, $846K deal with $150K guaranteed.
  • Will the Jets pursue Mike Glennon this week? The latest word is that their reported interest in the quarterback is “overblown.”
  • The Jets are one of six teams with interest in wide receiver Andre Holmes.

Latest On Jets’ Offseason Blueprint

The Jets are without a surefire quarterback option and are up against the cap going into the 2017 league year. But Gang Green looks to be attempting to keep some key role players.

Career swing tackle Ben Ijalana stepped into the Jets’ starting lineup last season after Ryan Clady went down, and the team is looking to retain the veteran, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports. The Jets are also interested in re-signing UFA outside linebackers Josh Martin and Mike Catapano, per Cimini.

Martin may be a more pressing target than Catapano, with Cimini reporting the team is trying to reach an agreement with the special-teamer. The reporter adds that the former UDFA might want to test the market, though, in hopes of being able to compete for a linebacker job elsewhere.

New York could be without both starting tackles from the 2016 season. The team already passed on Ryan Clady‘s option and is expected to cut Breno Giacomini, who joined Clady on IR by season’s end. Ijalana cost just $840K on a one-year deal last year, but after making 13 starts should be more expensive due to demand, Cimini notes.

The Jets jettisoning Giacomini would save them $4.5MM but deprive them of their only tackle with significant starting experience. The 13 starts the 27-year-old Ijalana made double as the only ones in his six-year career, but the team is devoid of options heading into free agency. Clady could loom as a fallback option after the draft if the Jets are unable to land a suitable replacement, but it would be on a much cheaper deal. And it’s possible the 30-year-old Clady could be a mid-level target for another team, the now-injury-prone left tackle being a two-time first-team All-Pro.

Even after moving on from Clady, the Jets are projected to have less than $2MM in cap space. And they will likely add a veteran quarterback, being linked to Mike Glennon and Jay Cutler, so the team will have to create some additional cap space. But the free agents the team plans to retain won’t cost much.

Neither Martin nor Catapano will require a significant financial commitment, with both being career backups. Both finished up their four-year rookie contracts last season. The Jets still have Jordan Jenkins and Lorenzo Mauldin under contract. Fellow linebacker Bruce Carter also looms as a UFA, but Cimini notes there’s no urgency to get a deal done since Carter is likely looking at a veteran-minimum deal. The former Cowboys starter is entering his age-29 season.

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