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Jets Still Have Chance to add OT Depth via Free Agency


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While some Jets fans have taken the time in recent weeks to pre-emptively voice their future displeasure should the Jets pass on an offensive tackle with the tenth pick in the NFL draft, it’s worth noting that there are still some viable depth options available in free agency.

In fact, it’s possible that the Jets, and most other NFL teams, have allowed the free agent waters to settle as they focus on the draft and look to dip back in to the market once they see how things unfold in Detroit later this month.

With the additions of Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses this off-season, Gang Green is set with their starters on the left and right side respectively.  But should either be lost to injury, who steps in?

Well, first of all there’s second-year tackle Carter Warren.  A player who seems to have been been counted out by many fans since the day he was drafted.  But still a player the Jets are reportedly high on internally.

Outside of Warren, here’s a list of current veteran free agents the Jets could pursue at the conclusion of the draft.

Donovan Smith: If Smith was good enough to start at left tackle for the 2023 Super Bowl champs, surely he’s good enough to back a backup for the Jets, right?  And even better, the New York native has said publicly that he grew up  a Jets fan and would be interested in coming home.

Cam Fleming: We mentioned Fleming a few weeks back and the former Denver Bronco is still on the market. He started fifteen games at both left and right tackle two seasons ago for current offensive coordinator Nate Hackett.  Fleming allowed 7 sacks on 605 pass block reps according to PFF, an average of 1 sack for every 86 drop backs.  This of course was with a very lost and confused Russell Wilson under center.  With Aaron Rodgers as his trigger man, you would expect that number to improve.

Charles Leno: A 2022 starter with the Commanders, Leno is currently recovering from off-season hip surgery.  He has been non-committal in regards to whether or not he’ll play in 2023, but the Jets should, at the very least, pick up the phone and see if they can entice Leno to come back as a backup.

He did say in a recent interview that playing in 2023 would come down to finding the right fit where he’s happy and motivated.  Perhaps a chance to play with a future Hall of Fame QB on a team currently seen as one of the top clubs in the AFC would do the trick?

David Bakhtiari: While a case can be made for pursuing Bakhtiari, and equally strong case can be made against it.  If the Jets could land the oft-injured star tackle for a bargain price to be a backup, it would be worth exploring.  However, carrying two of the  most injury prone tackles in the NFL (Smith and Bakhtiari) does carry a lot of risk.

 

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1 hour ago, JetNation said:

Charles Leno: A 2022 starter with the Commanders, Leno is currently recovering from off-season hip surgery.  He has been non-committal in regards to whether or not he’ll play in 2023, but the Jets should, at the very least, pick up the phone and see if they can entice Leno to come back as a backup.

He did say in a recent interview that playing in 2023 would come down to finding the right fit where he’s happy and motivated.  Perhaps a chance to play with a future Hall of Fame QB on a team currently seen as one of the top clubs in the AFC would do the trick?

Are we talking 2023 or 2024 with Leno’s availability?

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40 minutes ago, Joejet said:

Are we talking 2023 or 2024 with Leno’s availability?

2024.  Apparently my internal clock is slightly off today.  Had to sign for a delivery earlier today and almost wrote 2017.

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39 minutes ago, AFJF said:

2024.  Apparently my internal clock is slightly off today.  Had to sign for a delivery earlier today and almost wrote 2017.

I wasn’t sure because of the 2022 surgery.

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None of these guys have interest in being a backup.

  • Donovan Smith had that "interest" in February when the Jets had no starting tackles under contract.
  • The "right fit" for Leno wouldn't be a demotion to being a backup, unless he's expressed this much.
  • Bakhtiari is a top-tier LT when healthy, and he knows it. So he's either healthy, in which case a backup gig is an insult, or he isn't healthy, in which case he's not suitable for a backup role either.
  • Of the four listed, Fleming would be the only serious idea to be a swing tackle. Also meh, but then so are most swing tackles anyway.

The firwt three - at least at this point in the off-season - are unrealistic fan desires and nothing more, as there are still starting gigs out there with teams that maybe are just waiting out the calendar to not lose a comp pick.

  • Pittsburgh needs a RT or LT, depending where they see Jones this year.
  • Super Bowl champs KC needs a LT.
  • Tennessee will likely draft one, but really they need two tackles.
  • Dallas needs a RT, assuming Tyler Smith goes back to LT.
  • Who knows what the Giants are thinking with Evan Neal, but he sucks and is mental.
  • WFT needs a LT, and it's likely where Leno goes back to once he's healed.
  • SF could use a major RT upgrade.
  • Miami has the same LT concerns as the Jets. Plus it's sunny down there all winter & there's no state income tax (like Dallas above).

Plus Pittsburgh, KC, Washington, and Miami play their home games on natural turf. That's not nothing to some players, especially older veterans in their 30s (Bakhtiari in particular).

Why pass up those opportunities to be a backup on a butt-of-joke team, with arguably the game's most currently despised OLC, and whose linemen annually drop like it's the intended outcome?

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3 hours ago, #27TheDominator said:

Steelers fans estimating that Becton could be had for 1 year/$5M

If Becton signs for that kind of deal, it really tells you how bad the stench was over at 1 Jets Drive...

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2 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

None of these guys have interest in being a backup.

  • Donovan Smith had that "interest" in February when the Jets had no starting tackles under contract.
  • The "right fit" for Leno wouldn't be a demotion to being a backup, unless he's expressed this much.
  • Bakhtiari is a top-tier LT when healthy, and he knows it. So he's either healthy, in which case a backup gig is an insult, or he isn't healthy, in which case he's not suitable for a backup role either.
  • Of the four listed, Fleming would be the only serious idea to be a swing tackle. Also meh, but then so are most swing tackles anyway.

The firwt three - at least at this point in the off-season - are unrealistic fan desires and nothing more, as there are still starting gigs out there with teams that maybe are just waiting out the calendar to not lose a comp pick.

  • Pittsburgh needs a RT or LT, depending where they see Jones this year.
  • Super Bowl champs KC needs a LT.
  • Tennessee will likely draft one, but really they need two tackles.
  • Dallas needs a RT, assuming Tyler Smith goes back to LT.
  • Who knows what the Giants are thinking with Evan Neal, but he sucks and is mental.
  • WFT needs a LT, and it's likely where Leno goes back to once he's healed.
  • SF could use a major RT upgrade.
  • Miami has the same LT concerns as the Jets. Plus it's sunny down there all winter & there's no state income tax (like Dallas above).

Plus Pittsburgh, KC, Washington, and Miami play their home games on natural turf. That's not nothing to some players, especially older veterans in their 30s (Bakhtiari in particular).

Why pass up those opportunities to be a backup on a butt-of-joke team, with arguably the game's most currently despised OLC, and whose linemen annually drop like it's the intended outcome?

I've been assured many times over that Tyron Smith will start week 1 and go in IR at halftime.

 

If all of the fans know this, surely guys looking for starting jobs are also aware.

 

And some of these guys may want to play with a HoF QB on a loaded offense which many of the teams listed do not have.

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6 hours ago, AFJF said:

I've been assured many times over that Tyron Smith will start week 1 and go in IR at halftime.

 

If all of the fans know this, surely guys looking for starting jobs are also aware.

 

And some of these guys may want to play with a HoF QB on a loaded offense which many of the teams listed do not have.

Smith is definitely going to get injured, imo, but it's a question of whether he'll play closer to 20-25% or 75-80% of the snaps. If it's the latter, then it's a backup role. 

No career-long starter wants to be a backup to accelerate his career into being only that, just so he can shake hands with Aaron Rodgers more frequently. 

There are at least 5 teams with actual starter openings, not even counting any injuries that come up between minicamp and sometime in August.

I don't have any knowledge of what these guys are thinking individually, but there's extremely little reason for any of them to rush to sign with the Jets within the upcoming 3 months, just to be a backup tackle while still easily better than many starters. 

It's unrealistic. They're "looking" for jobs and are also aware that a number of teams due compensatory picks don't want to surrender them when there's no need/rush. 

A backup role with the Jets is an objectively worse job than a starting job on a number of other teams (which, by definition, includes every team since no one else has been on the Jets' current, league-leading playoffs drought). None of these guys want that - and further deeming themselves no longer starting talents - just to be Rodgers's teammate for 4 months in his 40s. 

It's ridiculous to say these guys are available to the Jets. They were so available to the Jets in MARCH - when they had NO starting tackles on the roster - that Douglas felt the need to surrender a draft pick to acquire a RT who's still recovering from last year's injury. That was with Aaron Rodgers, too. If they didn't want to sign on then, they're that much less likely to want to sign on now. 

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5 minutes ago, Rich Thornburgh said:

Bakhtiari as a depth guy makes a lot of sense. Problem is im pretty sure Aaron is advising him to squeeze out as much money as possible from the jets

What gives you that impression? 

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