NY Jets made the right move signing Connor McGovern
By Michael Henken
The NY Jets agreed to terms on a deal with free-agent center Connor McGovern yesterday and it appears as if it was the right move to make.
Throughout the 2019 season, one of the biggest weaknesses for the NY Jets was the team’s offensive line, which is why rebuilding the unit has been such a priority during the offseason for general manager Joe Douglas.
The team, however, got off to a slow start on Monday when the legal tampering period began, as guard Joe Thuney, the consensus top target for the green and white, was franchise tagged by the New England Patriots.
Fellow offensive guard Graham Glasgow then signed with the Denver Broncos, while tackle Jack Conklin elected to sign on with the Cleveland Browns.
The Jets, meanwhile, came away with former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle George Fant, who actually saw most of his collegiate action take place on the basketball court at Western Kentucky.
In recent years, he’s turned into a quality backup lineman for Seattle and while the Jets believe he has potential, it’s unclear what exactly he can bring to the table.
On Tuesday, however, Douglas and company ramped things up a bit re-signing guard Alex Lewis, who the organization liked quite a bit after trading for him this past season.
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Then, the Jets made their first big splash, signing former Broncos center Connor McGovern to a three-year $27 million contract. And it’s this move that should provide Jets fans with some sense of joy early on in the offseason.
Perhaps the best center available on the open market, McGovern is still young at just 26 years of age and has proven to be a durable, consistent and versatile player, which is exactly what the Jets need upfront.
After being drafted by the Broncos out of Missouri in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-4, 305 pound McGovern saw no action his rookie season before starting five games in 2017 at right guard.
He then became the team’s starting right guard in 2018 and eventually moved to center to replace the injured Matt Paradis. And it’s at the center position where Connor McGovern has done some of his best work.
Over the last two seasons, McGovern has started 31 of 32 games, evidence of his reliability and durability. And not only that, but he’s coming off of his best season to date, as he finished 2019 with a 71.9 Pro Football Focus grade while allowing just one sack, three quarterback hits, and 11 hurries.
In addition, he was the lone center of 34 qualified candidates to go without a single penalty in 2019, per Michael Nania. To add to that, McGovern has been flagged just nine times over 2,510 snaps during his career according to The Athletic’s Connor Hughes.
Aside from his statistics and talent alone, however, McGovern appears to be a perfect fit for the Jets.
First off, the team has been in desperate need of a starting center for years now. After Nick Mangold — who long served as the team’s anchor upfront — retired in 2016, the Jets have tried to fill the void with multiple different players.
In 2017, Wesley Johnson struggled. Then in 2018, the team brought in Spencer Long, who was downright abysmal. In 2019, meanwhile, Ryan Kalil was persuaded to come out of retirement, though he too saw little success.
McGovern has the potential to finally give the Jets a quality and consistent option at the center position.
Also, McGovern is seen as a highly talented pass blocker. And while his run blocking could use some work, his skills in the passing game could be very beneficial to pass-heavy head coach Adam Gase and rising quarterback Sam Darnold.
Overall, the Jets still have plenty of work to do and the offensive line, in particular, is far from a finished product. Signing Connor McGovern, however, was not only the right move to make but a much-needed step in the right direction.