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NY Jets: Initial grade and analysis for the Dan Feeney signing

NY Jets, Dan Feeney Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets, Dan Feeney Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Jets went into the offseason looking to bolster their offensive line. And on Thursday, they at least added a little depth in the form of Dan Feeney.

Feeney spent the first four seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Chargers serving as a durable and versatile starter along the offensive line.

But given his struggles in Los Angeles, that likely isn’t the role he’s going to be asked to fill with the Jets. Instead, the Jets will look for Feeney to serve as a reliable backup at multiple spots along the offensive line.

Think of this as the Josh Andrews signing of the offseason or as their replacement for Pat Elflein after the former Jets’ guard signed on with the Carolina Panthers earlier in the week.

Dan Feeney provides offensive line depth for the NY Jets

A third-round pick of the Chargers in the 2017 NFL Draft, Feeney stepped into a starting role in his rookie season after former Jets’ draft pick, Matt Slauson, went down with an injury.

And given that he was just a mid-round rookie thrust into a starting role, he played quite well down the stretch for the Chargers. Feeney earned a respectable 60.8 Pro Football Focus grade that ranked 44th out of all guards in the NFL.

It was enough to earn him a full-time promotion the following season after the departure of Slauson. However, Feeney would never match that same level of production again.

Feeney’s play slipped in 2018 and 2019 as he ranked 70th (out of 77 qualifiers) and 66th (out of 83 qualifiers) at his position in each of the next two seasons. He wasn’t exactly a starting-caliber player — but at least he was durable.

And on a beat-up Chargers offensive line, that was enough to keep him in the starting lineup.

Feeney once again started all 16 games in 2020 marking 57 consecutive starts dating back to his rookie season. This time, Feeney shifted over to center following an injury to Mike Pouncey in training camp.

The 26-year-old’s two best traits are durability and versatility. He’s started 57 career games and never sat out due to injury over the course of his entire NFL career.

And given his starting experience at both guard and center, it’s safe to say that general manager Joe Douglas was intrigued by his versatility.

Moreover, Feeney found his most success in Los Angeles when asked to pull and get out into the second level on screens. He struggled mightily in pass protection, but he’s a fairly athletic lineman who is best when blocking in space.

That makes him a perfect fit for new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s zone-blocking scheme that emphasizes athleticism and lateral mobility along the offensive line.

If Feeney is asked to be a start (highly unlikely given his $3.5 million salary), the Jets might be in trouble. But assuming this is just a move to solidify their offensive line depth, then it’s a worthwhile addition.

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Dan Feeney is a below-average player, but his durability, versatility, and schematic fit make this signing sensible.

Grade: C+

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