Jets add depth to offensive line with tackle Clement
For the second time in less than a week, the New York Jets have addressed their need for experienced offensive linemen, reaching agreement with unrestricted free agent tackle Anthony Clement on what is believed to be a one-year contract for the league minimum base salary.
The addition of Clement, who appeared in 14 games for the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, follows last week's acquisition of former Buffalo Bills starting center Trey Teague. An eight-year veteran, Teague is expected to start for the Jets, who released six-time Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae last month.
Clement, 30, is also an eight-year veteran, having played his first seven seasons in Arizona before the Cardinals released him last spring. Where he figures into the Jets' plans remains to be seen. But given the dearth of experience on the team's blocking unit, and a dire need at tackle, there is a chance that Clement could compete in training camp for a starting job.
Before the acquisition of Clement, the Jets, who released starting right tackle Jason Fabini last month for salary cap reasons, had only three tackles on the roster. And only one of the three, two-year veteran Adrian Jones, who started all 16 games at left tackle in 2005, had ever appeared in a regular-season contest.
The Jets might address the tackle position in the draft, and there is speculation they will strongly consider top-rated prospect D'Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia with their first pick, the fourth overall in the lottery.
At worst, Clement represents a solid insurance policy, a veteran of 96 appearances and 75 starts, and an experienced blocker who has started in the past at both tackle spots. Clement started six games for the 49ers in 2005, all at left tackle.
A second-round choice of the Cardinals in the 1998 draft, Clement, a former Louisiana-Lafayette star, started all 16 games in 2000, 2001 and 2003, mostly at right tackle. He missed all but one game in 2002 because of an injury. Along with L.J. Shelton, he was supposed to be a bookend tackle for the Cardinals for many years, but neither player fit in with the plans of coach Dennis Green when he came aboard, and both were eventually released.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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