Well, I know I was wondering about possible contingencies if Austin Howard were to sign elsewhere. Well, apparently the Jets do have a plan out there, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN:
Possible fallback option if Austin Howard leaves: Saints RT Zach Strief. The Jets already have made an inquiry, per source. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 11, 2014
Zach Strief is an interesting choice. Drafted by the Saints in 2006, Strief has been in 109 games with the team, starting 45 of them. Since 2011, Strief has started 38 out of 38 games at right tackle.
Our buddies at Pro Football Focus had Strief ranked as the seventh ranked tackle in the league with an overall grade of 26.5. His pass blocking grade ranked him third overall with a 21.7 mark.
The biggest drawback is Strief’s age. He is 30 years old compared to Austin Howard who is only 26. The team is looking to get younger, so this would obviously be a step in the wrong direction.
But, sometimes a veteran is how it needs to go.