NY Jets reportedly targeting top offensive linemen in free agency

NY Jets (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

With the NFL’s legal tampering period set to begin next week, the NY Jets will soon begin to target some of the top available offensive linemen.

It’s no secret that the NY Jets will be looking to rebuild the team’s offensive line this season.

After all, the unit, which was depleted by injuries and far below average in terms of performance in 2019, hasn’t been able to consistently protect quarterback Sam Darnold, which is of the utmost importance moving forward.

As far as how the Jets will go about accomplishing this task, both free agency and the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft will be considered.

And with the new league year set to begin next Wednesday, the team has already begun to hone in on some potential options in free agency, per The Athletic’s Connor Hughes.

Joe Thuney & Graham Glasgow are obviously atop the #Jets wishlist once the legal tampering period begins Monday. Another name I’d keep an eye on: Carolina’s Greg Van Roten.

Jets have done their homework on him, I’m told. Makes sense, too. He’s likely in that $8-$10m APY range.

Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) March 10, 2020

Starting off with Joe Thuney, the former third-round pick out of NC State has spent his entire career with the New England Patriots.

Playing guard, the 27-year-old is still relatively young and is incredibly reliable and consistent up front. He’s started 16 games in each of the last four years and last season, he allowed 16 total pressures and only one sack in 620 pass-blocking snaps.

Graham Glasgow, another former third-round pick who played his collegiate ball at Michigan, is also just 27 years of age, meaning he likely has quite a few strong years left in him as well.

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While Thuney may be a bit more gifted, the Jets don’t just need one guard and Glasgow is quite versatile, as he’s able to play both the guard and center positions.

In addition, the former Lions lineman is just as reliable and consistent, missing just two games over the last four years and finishing the 2019 season with zero sacks allowed, five quarterback hits, and 20 quarterback hurries.

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He seems to be on an upward trajectory and would certainly be an improvement over what the Jets currently have.

The last player mentioned by Hughes that may be of interest to the Jets, Greg Van Roten, is a bit older than the previous two options at 30-years-old, but he’s developed nicely into a starting-caliber guard during his time with the Panthers.

Van Roten has dealt with some injuries in the past, but he started 16 games in 2018 and 11 in 2019, finishing last season only allowing 17 quarterback pressures, one sack, three hits, and 13 hurries.

Should the Jets come up short on Thuney, Glasgow, or both, Van Roten could prove to be an upgrade for the team at the right price.

As previously mentioned, the 2020 NFL Draft could also be a place the green and white look for offensive linemen, as this year’s class is stacked at the top with talented players up front.

How free agency turns out for the team, however, will likely determine the route they go in the draft.

For example, if the Jets come out of free agency signing multiple linemen, the team could look to turn its attention towards wide receivers Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb in the draft in order to fill another void.

Or, the team could look to continue to bolster its unit up front by hoping one of the draft’s top lineman such as Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas or Mekhi Becton fall to the team at No. 11.

Either way, one thing is clear and that is that the Jets must improve the offensive line. There are no if, and or buts. It must be done.

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And that task will begin next week when free agency begins.