NY Jets: Team must address offensive line issues

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets tackle Breno Giacomini (68) against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets tackle Breno Giacomini (68) against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

For the NY Jets heading into the off-season, they must address their offensive line issues if they are to push the envelope in 2016.

It is no secret that the Jets’ offensive line is aging and in need of replacements. Jet fans have been calling for offensive line depth for several years now, but their efforts have failed them in recent years. The last Jets’ general manager tried to bring in new blood, but the results have been disappointing to say the least. Brian Winters and Dakota Dozier were both hyped by the former coaching staff, but now seem destined for the bench or the scrap heap due to less than spectacular play.

The Jets have a growing need along the offensive line, and apparently Mike Maccagnan has taken notice. You can tell he likes our offensive line, but you can never believe anything that comes out of a general manager’s mouth in the off-season. Maccagnan will address the Jets needs along the line this year, in fact he’s already working behind the scenes to bring prospects in.

Since the Jets season ended on a devastating loss to the Buffalo Bills, Maccagnan has reportedly been on the road, visiting college all-star games looking for potential talent. He’s also been busy, along with his scouting department, watching the wire for available talent. In fact, since early January, Maccagnan has signed four offensive lineman to future/reserve contracts, in an attempt to bring additional competition to this summer’s camp.

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Jarvis Harrison will be back with the team after spending 2015 on the Jets’ practice squad.

Harrison was chosen by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, after having played his college football for the Texas A&M Aggies. Harrison stands 6’4″ and weighs in at 330 pounds plus he is just 24 years old. The Jets are hoping he can show development this off-season, and can make a push for a role at guard this summer.

Lawrence Okoye was also signed to a future reserve contract in recent days. Okoye was signed to the Jets’ practice squad in November. Okoye is a former British discus thrower and junior rugby player. Okoye stands 6’6″ tall and weighs 304 pounds. He never played football before announcing his intention to enter the 2013 draft where he went undrafted.

He was signed by the San Fransisco 49ers and spent 2013 on injured reserve after a camp injury. He returned in 2014 and spent the year on their practice squad. In 2015, Okoye was cut at the end of camp and was signed by the Arizona Cardinals. Okoye bounced on and off the the Cardinals’ practice squad before being signed by the Jets.

A newcomer to the Jets’ roster, Craig Watts, was signed by the Jets to a future reserve contract in early January. Watts stands 6’3″ tall and is listed at 335 pounds as he’s just 24 years old. Watts played his college ball at Texas A&M and went undrafted following the 2014 draft.

Watts was signed by the San Diego Chargers following the draft and reportedly impressed in camp, he was ultimately placed on their practice squad where he finished out the season. Watts returned to the Chargers in 2015 and spent time on both their practice squad and their active roster.

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

He was cut for the final time by the Chargers in late December, before signing with the Jets in early January. With a perceived weakness at guard, Watts will get his chance to compete this summer with the Jets.

The final signing from Maccagnan this January, came in the form of tackle Jesse Davis. Davis stands 6’6″ and is listed as 309 pounds. Davis was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Seahawks following the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent summer camp with the Seahawks, before being cut by the team in late August. He was out of the NFL for the 2015 regular season before the Jets signed him to a futrue reserve deal. Davis is again, just 24 years old.

It’s anyone’s guess what the Jets will do along the line this off-season. Maccagnan and his scouting team will surely be looking over the available free agents, that might upgrade this unit, as well as looking at talent in the draft. The Jets have some needs to fill along this line, and Jet fans can rest assured that Maccagnan is going to do his best to upgrade this unit. The early signings are just the first indicators that the Jets plan to do something to fix the problems, and likely more are ahead of us.

The free agent market might hold some interest for the Jets, but with a perceived tight cap space, the Jets likely won’t be targeting any top tier talent this year along the line. Instead, I believe they will turn to the draft, which offers a decent crop of offensive line prospects to improve with. I personally would like to see the Jets draft Taylor Decker, but that story is for another day.

More jets: NY Jets 2015 Report Card: Defensive Line

Maccagnan and staff are on the job, and from early indicators, they have identified their needs and are working to get them fixed. It promises to be an interesting watch as the off-season gets ready to kick off in earnest.

How do you see the Jet offensive line? How would you go about upgrading this line? Please let me know in a comment below, and help us Talk Jet Football!!