Jets to sign free-agent tackles Stephon Heyer, Ray Willis Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 12:46 PM Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 12:54 PM
By Jenny Vrentas/The Star-Ledger
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John Munson/The Star-LedgerTony Sparano is getting some additional veteran depth on his offensive line.
The Jets had not addressed their tackle position so far this offseason, but they will sign two veteran free agents today, Stephon Heyer and Ray Willis, a person with knowledge of the impending signings confirmed. That person requested anonymity because the Jets have not announced the moves.
Heyer and Willis have 61 NFL starts between the two of them, adding veteran experience to a Jets offensive line that lacked depth last season. Sports Business Journal first reported the impending signings.
Heyer is a six-year veteran who originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Redskins. He started all 16 games for the Redskins at right tackle in 2009. After four seasons in Washington, he spent last season with Oakland, starting two games.
Willis is a seventh-year pro who was a fourth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2005. He started 26 games for Seattle from 2008-09 at right guard and right tackle. He missed the 2010 season with a knee injury, and then spent the 2011 training camp with the Dolphins and Tony Sparano before joining the Saints midseason.
Wayne Hunter is the Jets' incumbent starting right tackle, though he joked that his spot on the team is "as clear as mud."
General manager Mike Tannenbaum said earlier this offseason that Hunter is "competing for a position here," but offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was much stronger in his support of Hunter
DeGuglielmo said earlier this month that Hunter is the Jets' starting right tackle "until they ship him out of this building or until they shoot me dead in my office." Vlad Ducasse, the Jets' 2010 second-round pick, is behind Hunter.