Jets waive O’Connell, Clemens safe with new deal

Kevin O’Connell is out, and Kellen Clemens is safe.

The New York Jets waived O’Connell on Tuesday, clearing the way

for Clemens to make the team as the No. 3 quarterback.

Clemens signed a new deal Tuesday morning, restructuring his

$1.1 million tender and taking a pay cut while securing his spot on

the roster. He said he was given permission to speak with other

teams about a trade during the last week, but decided to stay with

the Jets despite some opportunities elsewhere.

”I feel good with where I’m at,” said Clemens, who declined to

go into specifics about his new one-year contract.

The Jets also claimed linebacker Ricky Foley, a former CFL star,

off waivers from Seattle to put them at the 75-player roster

limit.

Coach Rex Ryan said Monday that Clemens, entering his fifth

season, had a ”pretty strong chance” of making the opening day

roster. He reiterated that Tuesday, saying Clemens had outperformed

O’Connell this summer despite ”Hard Knocks” showing an ”X” next

to Clemens’ name on a depth chart in last week’s episode.

”The only way Kellen Clemens was not going to be on this team

was if somebody was going to give him a chance to be a starting

quarterback,” Ryan said. ”I would’ve traded him, and I told

Kellen that before.”

Clemens said he might have still been cut if he hadn’t agreed to

take a lesser salary.

”That’s the way the roster thing was,” Ryan said. ”That’s the

truth. Well, that would be a way, obviously, that he would be cut

if he doesn’t take it. Absolutely, because you can’t have all of

your quarterbacks at X-amount of dollars.”

O’Connell was acquired last September from Detroit in a trade

and was competing with Clemens for the No. 3 job behind starter

Mark Sanchez and backup Mark Brunell.

Ryan said the Jets decided to let go of O’Connell now rather

than after the preseason finale at Philadelphia on Thursday night

because they’re already starting to prepare for the regular-season

opener against Baltimore.

”So, the more things we put in, we don’t need that information

going out,” Ryan said. ”It also gives him an opportunity because

there are some teams looking for a quarterback.”

O’Connell was a third-round draft pick by New England out of San

Diego State in 2008. He was cut last offseason and claimed off

waivers by Detroit.