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2013 New York Jets: Alternative Solutions at Offensive Guard

By Alan Schechter
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Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets guard Matt Slauson (68) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28-9. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

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

One of the biggest issues facing the New York Jets in 2013, although it’s not a “talked about” position, is offensive guard. Both of the Jets starting guards, Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore, are unrestricted free agents. The Jets have a lot of problems with regards to the salary cap as we all know, so keeping both of these guys is not a guarantee. So again, we will be looking at some changes along the offensive line. Let’s first talk about who is more likely to be gone.

It would be nice to say that we could keep Brandon Moore, as he graded out (per PFF) as the fourth best guard in the sport, with a rating of 21.3. The problem is the money. Brandon Moore’s contract that just expired averaged $4 million per year. It is not likely that a guy like him is going to sign for less than that, which will be a problem for the Jets.

Matt Slauson, on the other hand, only had a contract without $1.05 million per year. As hard as it is for us to admit as Jets fans, Vladimir Ducasse is improving with every snap that he is in for. Vladimir played noticeably better, and earned the praise of his coaches, and splitting playing time with Matt Slauson. Bringing back Slauson at a reasonable rate may be a better financial arrangement for the Jets, rather than paying out of their ears for Brandon Moore.

There has been a lot of talk, including with our college writers on this website, about taking Chance Warmack, guard, with their ninth pick in the draft overall.  The pick would certainly make sense as he is a terrific football player.  However, to me, 9th is a little bit high to pick a guard, when there are players available at other needs for the team, such as stand up edge pass rushers.  I am not so sure that I would take a guard with the ninth pick.

So , I have a couple of alternatives, that shouldn’t cost a lot, via free agency, to fill the hole instead.  Turn the page and take a look.

Nov 25, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers guard Louis Vasquez (65) warms-up before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

LOUIS VASQUEZ

Louis is one of two free agents that the Jets should look into. He has been in the league only 4 years, and at age 25, is just venturing into his prime now. Getting younger is never a bad idea as well. Although he graded out overall lower than Brandon Moore, with only a 12.8 rating, he was actually better than Brandon Moore in pass blocking. Vasquez actually graded out in the top 10 in pass blocking with a rating of 8.6, while Brandon Moore was in the top 20, but significantly lower at 5.6. We saw Greg McElroy and Mark Sanchez spending a lot of time running for their lives, so improvement in pass blocking would be nice.

Louis also out-blocked Moore in the screen game, with a rating of 3.0 to Moore’s 1.0. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the Jets run an effective screen pass? The only difference was in run blocking, where Moore put up a 12.8 vs. Vasquez at -2.0. However, he is young, and can get better. His contract was only worth $821,125 per year as well, so he could be signed at an affordable rate. The Jets should look into this guy.

Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre (67) during the game against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28-9. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

ANDY LEVITRE

Here’s another guy that would look good in green, Andy Levitre. He had one heck of a year for the Buffalo Bills, grading out overall just behind Brandon Moore with a 17.3 rating, and performing in almost the same number of snaps (1039 for Levitre, 1086 for Moore). As a pass blocker, he blew Moore away, leading the league with a rating of 16.1. He was also a better screen blocker with a ranking of 2.0.

Again, the difference was in the run blocking, Moore with a 12.8, Levitre with a -0.7. However, Levitre is young. He has also only been in the league for 4 years, and is 26 years old. He is just entering the prime of his career, and can certainly improve as a run blocker. Financially speaking, his previous contract was worth $910,000 per year. He is worth a look.

Just a couple of alternatives to the guard situation.

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