FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — D’Brickashaw Ferguson knew the “pay cut” question was coming.
And, according to him, it had no bearing on his decision to retire from the NFL at age 32.
“I wasn’t surprised that was going to take place [based on how his contract was structured],” he said Thursday at his retirement news conference, when asked about the Jets wanting him to take less money for the upcoming season.
The 10-year veteran was due a base salary of $8.625 million in 2016, plus several bonuses that resulted in a $14.1-million cap hit — the highest of any NFL offensive lineman.
Ferguson’s workout bonus of $750,000 was due in June and he was scheduled to earn a $1-million roster bonus at the end of training camp. But by retiring, the Jets saved $9.1 million.
Last week, the Jets traded a fifth-round draft pick to Denver in exchange for the Broncos’ oft-injured left tackle Ryan Clady and a seventh-rounder.
Last month, the Jets brought in former Steelers tackle Kelvin Beachum for a visit before he ultimately signed with Jacksonville.
Ferguson admitted he was a little hurt by reports the Jets had been exploring other options.
“It was difficult,” he said. “I was taken aback. I wasn’t used to that . . . But at the same rate . . . this happens in football.”
He said his decision to retire was not a direct result of a pay cut or concerns over long-term brain damage but rather his own performance level.
Said Ferguson: “I also recognized that playing this game at a high level, it’s not easy. When that continues to get harder and harder and harder, you also have to ask yourself: How long can I continue to do this?”