FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Nick Mangold’s season officially is over, and now his future with the franchise is in jeopardy.
After Mangold’s visit with foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson on Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Jets placed the center on injured reserve. It’s unclear if Mangold, one of the most dependable and durable offensive linemen in team history, has played his final game in a Jets uniform.
Mangold, who will turn 33 in January, is under contract next season but carries a $9.075-million salary-cap hit in 2017 (he’s owed a $6.075-million salary, plus a $2.4- million roster bonus, a $500,000 workout bonus and an additional $100,000 payout). But if the Jets choose to release him, they’ll save the full amount.
Coach Todd Bowles confirmed Mangold’s visit with Anderson. The news that the Jets have shut him down for the season didn’t come until after Bowles’ news conference ended Thursday.
“He’s hurting pretty good, so he’ll go get some more opinions on it,” Bowles told reporters before the team officially announced the move. “Depending on what the doctors say, I’m sure [surgery] could be [an option].”
The Jets began the season without their ironman left tackle, Freeport’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who retired in March at the age of 32. Now the Jets will close out the year without another decorated offensive lineman.
The Jes selected Mangold 29th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft, 25 spots after drafting Ferguson. Mangold — a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection (2009 and ’10) — missed only four games in his first 10 seasons, but his 11th year has been plagued by a balky ankle.
Mangold initially suffered the injury on Oct. 23 against the Ravens and missed four games before playing in the Jets’ 41-10 loss to the Colts on Monday night. He was forced to leave the game early after aggravating the injury and was back in a walking boot on Wednesday.
He’ll be replaced full-time by 25-year-old Wes Johnson, who started all four games that Mangold didn’t play.
“Obviously, for him to come back after having not played in a while, then come back and get hurt, I’m pretty sure it hurt the guy,” Bowles said during a conference call Tuesday. “He’s trying to play, trying to do everything he can, just a bad, unfortunate situation.”
With Mangold now on IR, the Jets promoted safety Doug Middleton to the active roster and signed former Chargers fullback Chris Swain to the practice squad.
Middleton signed as an undrafted free agent during the offseason and recorded 14 tackles in the preseason. He was one of the final roster cuts Sept. 3 and was signed to the practice squad the next day.
Swain, an undrafted free agent out of Navy, had seven carries for 16 yards and a touchdown plus one catch for 11 yards in the preseason for the Chargers.