The New York Jets needed to upgrade their 2019 offensive line desperately. They addressed those needs with three early free agent signings to help bolster the trenches.
The New York Jets gave up a whopping 52 sacks last season, fourth-most in the league. Jets running backs combined to rush for just 1,257 yards on 3.3 yards-per-carry which ended up ranking 31st and 32nd in the NFL, respectively. It was clear that General Manager Joe Douglas needed to make some upgrades, and he has.
However, there are huge question marks surrounding all of these moves. The first signing was left tackle George Fant, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Seahawks.
His athleticism is undeniable, but his experience is sorely lacking. Fant was a former college basketball player who was sometimes used as a tight end in Pete Caroll’s offensive playbook, so there are some concerns about his ability to play as a full-time starting left tackle. Eventually, he could be a solid blindside protector for Sam Darnold.
Next, Gang Green picked up former Denver Broncos center Connor McGovern, signing him to a 3-year deal worth approximately $27 million. McGovern is a solid center, who had one of the best seasons of his career in 2019.
In 47 career games (36 starts), McGovern has committed just eight total penalties. That equates to just one penalty per every six games. In 2019, the former fifth-round pick (2016) from Mizzou didn’t commit a single penalty in 16 starts.
His presence upfront should be extremely beneficial for the run game. McGovern should also help Sam Darnold recognize certain blitzes. Douglas brought in a top center for less than $10M annually, which looks like an absolute steal.
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In their most recent O-line deal, the Jets re-signed guard Alex Lewis. Lewis wasn’t particularly spectacular this past year, but it’s clear that Douglas sees something in the 27-year old after trading for him last offseason. Lewis was thrust into the starting job after Kelechi Osemele went down with a shoulder injury. Perhaps a full offseason as the unquestioned starting guard will help Lewis take the next step in his development.
The New York Jets made one great signing and two high-risk, high-reward signings in the opening stage of free agency. If the offensive line can gel quickly and show clear improvement, a potential playoff push will become more likely.
How do you feel about the moves Gang Green made to fortify their offensive line? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media.