The NY Jets could be on the verge of a huge free-agent splash as it’s been reported that star offensive tackle Jack Conklin is expected to sign with Gang Green.
The NY Jets have made their intentions clear as they plan to do everything they can to upgrade the offensive line in the offseason. The free agency period will be key to doing so and one player who will undoubtedly be on their radar is offensive tackle Jack Conklin.
Conklin has spent the last four seasons anchoring the right side of the Tennessee Titans’ offensive line and now he’s set to hit free agency. And if recent reports are to be believed, he could be heading to East Rutherford.
On Sunday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that at least “one NFL team has been informed that Conklin plans to sign with the Jets when free agency opens on March 18th.”
He then reiterates that it is just a report, not a contractual agreement. It is worth noting that the legal tampering period doesn’t begin until March 16th meaning that reports of actual signings won’t start to be leaked until then.
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But if true, this would be the massive free-agent splash that the Jets are in need of.
Conklin is widely regarded as one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL and at just 25-years-old, he may be the most prized non-quarterback on the market.
The Michigan State product was originally selected eighth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Titans and he went on to have an absolutely phenomenal rookie season earning All-Pro honors at just 22-years-old.
Not Pro Bowl, All-Pro. There’s a big difference.
And while he hasn’t quite reached that same level of play, he’s consistently been ranked among the top 10-15 offensive tackles in football over his subsequent three seasons.
Just this past year, Conklin earned a very solid Pro Football Focus grade of 78.0 which was one of the best at his position. More notably, however, is the discrepancy between his run-blocking and pass-blocking grades.
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Conklin hosts a career 94.5 run-blocking grade per PFF which is elite for the position. However, his pass-blocking grade is well below-average at just 53.4. That is a figure that should be concerning, but given his age and stout run-blocking, you could argue that he more than makes up for it.
The four-year pro will cost the Jets quite a large chunk of money, however. Spotrac currently projects his market value at $15 million per season which would give him the fifth-highest average annual value in the NFL.
That said, expect that figure to rise and perhaps compete with Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson for the highest average salary among offensive linemen at near $18 million per season.
That’s the price you have to pay for an incredibly young, top-tier free agent playing a premier position.
This isn’t a situation that arises often. The Titans are in quite the cap bind and are already paying fellow standout offensive tackle Taylor Lewan $16 million per season. They couldn’t afford to pay Conklin which is why they declined his fifth-year option in the first place.
It’s not every year that a player as valuable as Jack Conklin hits the open market. And if early reports are to be believed, the Jets could be on the verge of making perhaps the biggest splash of free agency.