Jets News

“Out the Door”, or “Back for More”: OL Edition

By Alan Schechter
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September 16, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Time to play some more fantasy GM. So far we have covered the quarterbacks, the running backs, the wide receivers, and the tight ends.  Now it’s time to talk about, as Ray Lucas likes to call them, the “fatties up front”.  Let’s take a look at the offensive line, and see who will be “out the door”, and who will be “back for more” in 2013:

D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON:Here’s a guy on the “no-brainer” list. After a pretty rough go of it in 2011, Brick came back to put in a strong showing in 2012. He played like the consistent “blind side” left tackle that we have come to expect since he came into the league. If the team had fared better in 2012, we might have seen Ferguson make a return trip to the Pro Bowl. He would cost millions if he were cut, and is under contract through 2018. Not that any of that matters, though, because D’Brick will obviously be……

BACK FOR MORE

MATT SLAUSON/VLADIMIR DUCASSE: We will take these two guys together because by the end of the year, they were platooning at left guard as we all saw. Ducasse improved enough in the coaches’ eyes to deserve playing time, and to his credit, played better than we all expected when he was in there. However, you cannot go long term with a platoon on your offensive line, so the Jets have to make a decision here. Slauson is an unrestricted free agent, and is not very old at only 26 years of age. He won’t command a lot of money, so keeping him around wouldn’t be unreasonable. The decision has to be made as to whether or not the coaching staff feels that the team can move ahead with Vladimir Ducasse as the left guard. I believe they will, bringing Vladimir Ducasse………

BACK FOR MORE

and therefore, leaving Matt Slauson……….

OUT THE DOOR

NICK MANGOLD: Another charter member of the “no-brainer” category. There isn’t much to be said here, but he is a member of the offensive line so we have to talk about him. We know how much Nick Mangold means to the New York Jets. When he is out, the QB looks like he lost his best friend. The line plays terribly when he is out, and looks like it knows what it’s doing when he is in. Nick Mangold is obviously……….

BACK FOR MORE

Dec. 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets guard Brandon Moore (65) looks to make a block during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

BRANDON MOORE: Brandon is an unrestricted free agent, spending his entire career with the Jets since 2002. He has been a mainstay on the Jets offensive line since 2004, surviving 2 coaching changes and a heck of a lot of player changes around him. He has been the consistent rock on the Jets line for a decade. However, sometimes we have to make a clean break with older players, in the quest to get younger. He, like I said before, is a UFA, and would command a pretty good contract if he resigns. As we have seen with him, a quality guard can be signed as an undrafted free agent. The Jets don’t have to spend a high pick on a guard, but I think it’s time to find a young replacement for Moore. As sad as it will be to see him go, Brandon Moore will be………

OUT THE DOOR

AUSTIN HOWARD: He was a nice find at the end of the preseason, wasn’t he? After saying goodbye to our good friend Wayne Hunter, Howard stepped in and did a fine job. He became the immediate starter at right tackle, and kept that position for the entire 2012 season. He held his own in both the run and the passing game. Did Austin have some trouble? Sure, but that is to be expected from a young player. However, he never watched opponents run around him as Wayne Hunter did. He also was challenged by having each team’s top rusher going up against him, and he held his own. There is no reason not to bring in competition for Howard, but he should not be discarded either. He doesn’t make a lot of money and is only going to get better. Austin Howard will be…….

BACK FOR MORE

JASON SMITH: “Number 63 is reporting as eligible!” Sorry, had to get you in the Jason Smith mood. We know his story, he was acquired in return for Wayne Hunter, but didn’t have much of a role, other than in the jumbo package. In my opinion, they could teach a tight end to become that extra tackle in the jumbo package. However, Smith is worth over $2 million in dead money if he is released. Not that much, but in the end, I think Rex likes him in the jumbo packages, and Woody won’t want the dead money. Therefore, Jason Smith will be…………….

BACK FOR MORE

CALEB SCHLAUDERAFF: Not being active for any games in 2012 makes Caleb tough to evaluate, but we are going to do it anyway. Simply put, he hasn’t ever been healthy enough to show us that he is any good. The Jets would save a little bit of money if they release him ($475,000), and I believe that they will. Caleb Schlauderaff will be………..

OUT THE DOOR

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