Hempstead, NY (Sports Network) - The New York Jets Friday signed free agent quarterback Ricky Ray. The Edmonton Eskimos' signal-caller was entering his option year and under the terms of the existing NFL/CFL agreement had until Sunday, February 29th to sign with an NFL club.
The 24-year-old Ray worked out for the Jets two weeks ago.
"The Eskimo players and coaches take pride in helping Ricky fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL," said Eskimos president and CEO Hugh Campbell. "Ricky Ray is a tremendous young man with a bright future and we wish him great success."
Last season for Edmonton, Ray completed 348-of-515 passes for 4,640 yards with 35 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. The Eskimos captured the 2003 Grey Cup with a 34-22 victory over Montreal in the championship game.
"Ricky Ray has started 37 professional football games and led his team to a CFL championship," said Jets general manager Terry Bradway. "He brings youth and adds depth to our quarterback position."
In other news, the Jets released cornerback Aaron Beasley and announced the retirement of guard Dave Szott.
Beasley, an eight-year veteran, started all 31 games he participated in for the Jets over the past two seasons and totaled 161 tackles with five interceptions.
Szott spent 14 seasons in the NFL, including the final two with the Jets. He signed with New York as a free agent on March 21, 2002, but missed the majority of the 2002 season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Szott started 15 games in 2003.
"We appreciate Dave's contributions to the New York Jets on the field and in the community," Bradway said. "Throughout his career, Dave has been a positive influence and a role model for the NFL. We wish him all the best with his future endeavors."