New York Jets

Possible Offensive Line Options for the New York Jets heading into the 2021 Free Agency

We all know that the Jets offensive line is a work-in-progress. This OL had a major shakeup last offseason when Joe Douglas tore it apart and rebuilt it. He added the likes of rookie LT Mekhi Becton in the Draft and he added George Fant, Connor McGovern, and Greg Van Roten through free agency. He all knew that it was a decent OL and Douglas did the best he can since ownership limited how much money he can use. This year we have an estimated $70M available in cap space and there are some beasts available. With that there also multiple lineman available in the NFL Draft. The most necessary gap we need to fill is the guards position. Alex Lewis and Van Roten are NOT long-term solutions, at all. However, there are 3 elite solutions the Jets can acquire this offseason to bolster up the Guard position. Let’s dig in:

Patriots Guard, Joe Thuney

The long-time Patriot Guard, Joe Thuney is finally set to hit the market. The Patriots and Thuney are reported to be “nowhere close” on a deal and the franchise tag isn’t happening. When you think about it, it’s not a huge loss for the Patriots since they have a great history of drafting elite guards and their rookie guard Michael Onwenu has had a breakout season. So this isn’t a huge loss for them but it would be a spectacular gain for the NY Jets. Every single young LT needs a veteran and elite LG. For example, when D’Brickashaw Fergunson came into the picture the Jets had an incredible plan and signed Alan Faneca. This helps the young LT to identify defenders and make switches when necessary and read the defense. Brick blossomed into a great tackle for the Jets so it worked out. Let’s hope this could work for our newest young LT, Mekhi Becton. However, Thuney has been putting up productive numbers. PFF rated gave him a 74.2 grade which is actually pretty good, it’s not far from his previous grades. He only allowed 2 sacks this year and only committed 3 penalties, so he’s a pretty disciplined lineman. He also played in all 16 games this season and played in 97% of offensive snaps this year. Health on the OL was a big problem for the Jets this season, we had countless injures occur to each position on the line. On another note, last year when he was supposed to hit the market it was reported that the Jets were on it. Douglas really wanted him but then the Pats tagged him and he became unavailable. Now, you’ve got to think that since he’s actually available Douglas would be all over this. I sure hope he is. Getting Thuney would be huge!

Measurements and Information:
– Height 6′ 5″
– Weight 287 lbs
– Age 28

Contract Prediction: I can see Thuney getting his big bag and signing a 4 year deal worth $60 wherever he signs. That’ll make him the highest paid guard over Brandon Brooks (PHI) and Zack Martin (DAL) that are currently being paid $14M. He’d be the highest paid before Scherff signs.

Packers C/G, Corey Linsley

The Jets should be interested in Linsley…. again. The last time Linsley was set to hit free agency in 2017 the Jets apparently were targeting him, that is until he signed an extension with Green Bay to protect Rodgers. Linsley’s talent speaks for itself. He was an All-Pro this past year and had an incredible season. He gave up just one sack and committed ZERO penalties. PFF graded him with a 89.9 grade. He had a bounce-back season after a questionable 2019 season. Although he was elected to the All-Pro he did miss 3 games this season, this was the first time in 3 years he didn’t have a full 16 game season. He played in 71% of offensive snaps in 2020. He had a knee injury that sent him to the IR, but he came back and played better than ever. The injury didn’t phase him and he played the rest of the season. PFF graded him with a 60.9 in the postseason which confuses me because he gave up ZERO sacks and committed ZERO penalties. Adding Linsley to the OL would be incredible. Of course we already have a center but we can easily move McGovern to Guard and if that doesn’t work we can just let him go in 2022 when he’s set to hit FA. Linsley has been a good and consistent lineman in his career, and this year he took it to another level. The knee injury could be a worry but when there is a great lineman on the market you get him. He is also familiar with the new zone blocking scheme that the Jets will be running under the Shanahan/LaFleur offense.

Measurements and Information:
– Height 6′ 3″
– Weight 298 lbs
– Age 29

Contract Prediction: I could see Linsley signing a three year deal worth $40.5M. That’ll make him the highest paid center (as he deserves to be), over Ryan Kelly.

WFT Guard, Brandon Scherff

We all know who the Scherff is. He has probably been the best guard in football over the last 4-5 years. He was given a franchise tag by the Washington Football Team this past year and it doesn’t seem like they plan to give him a long-term extension. Which is questionable considering they have a great guard in their hands, however he is set to hit the market. The Scherff is a 4x Pro-Bowler and 1x All-Pro. PFF graded him 84.1, which is really good. He did allow 3 sacks and comitted 2 penalties. One really big time issue I have is the lack of play. Over his last three season he’s played 46 out of 64 possible games, that is 71.875% of games played. He played 13 games this season, 857 offensive snaps, and played 79% of snaps this year. The Jets already have injury issues on the line. I would obviously be ecstatic if the Jets were to sign Scherff, I would be worried due to his recent injury history but he is a great guard and we need one.

Measurements and Information:
– Height 6′ 5″
– Weight 315 lbs
– Age 29

Contract Prediction: I could see Scherff signing a four year deal worth $64M. That’ll make him the highest paid guard, over (POSSIBLY) Joe Thuney.

My Dream Scenario:

LT- Mekhi Becton (PFF grade in 2020: 74.3, good)
LG- Joe Thuney (PFF grade in 2020: 74.2, good)
C- Corey Linsley (PFF grade in 2020: 89.9, terrific)
RG- Connor McGovern (PFF grade in 2020: 62.6, solid)
RT- George Fant (PFF grade in 2020: 61.8, solid)

This is what we would love and need to have. I think everyone can agree that the Jets need to at least pick up one of these terrific options for the offensive line in the Free Agency market. Getting Thuney and Linsley would be out of this world. Not only is Thuney a great mentor for a young LT like Becton but he can fit into the new zone blocking scheme the Jets OLine will run. Becton may have a tough time fitting in because in he’s not exactly the ideal “zone-blocking scheme” OLineman. However, I’m sure he’s going to train his body for stability, balance, and agility this offseason so he’ll be fine. Having an All-Pro center is always a great thing and being able to move the McGovernator to the guard position may be the best thing for us. Fant at RT is perfectly fine by me because he had a solid season and I don’t think he was trying. By the time he started “struggling” we were winless and there was nothing to play for. This OLine’s potential is through the ROOF! Any QB that is guarded by the type OLine will be safer than any QB in the league.

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