The biggest swing NY Jets could take at OL in free agency

The Jets could swing big on this free-agent OL

Mike Onwenu
Mike Onwenu / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The NY Jets are expected to be very active in the offensive line market this offseason, with the potential to add as many as three new starters in free agency.

While the Jets won't be able to make three splash signings, it's possible they explore the top end of the market for one high-profile addition. In terms of this year's free-agent crop of offensive linemen, it doesn't get much more high-profile than Mike Onwenu.

The former New England Patriots sixth-round pick is expected to be among the most coveted free agents at any position this offseason. At just 26 years old, Onwenu brings versatility, durability, and high-caliber offensive line play to the table.

If the Jets are going to make a splash free-agent signing for their offensive line, they aren't going to do much better than this.

Mike Onwenu would be a stellar addition to the NY Jets offensive line

Onwenu is probably the cleanest offensive line target in free agency this offseason. In many ways, he's an anomaly as far as free agents go. He doesn't have any notable red flags that could scare teams away.

It's rare to find a young, durable, and high-caliber offensive lineman available on the open market. Onwenu has no injury concerns to speak of, has consistently performed at a high level, and has played extensively at three different positions.

Onwenu has received significant playing time at left guard, right guard, and right tackle, most recently filling in as the Patriots' starting right tackle for most of 2023. He's essentially been their version of Alijah Vera-Tucker over the last four years, except without the injury concerns.

The former Michigan standout has missed just three games in four years, appearing in 15 or more games in every season. That level of durability should make him a hot commodity on the open market.

Onwenu has an outstanding career pressure rate allowed of just 3.2 percent and has never surrendered more than three sacks in a season. He's also been penalized just 10 times in 64 career games played.

The Detroit native was one of just 11 tackles in football last season to rank top-20 in both Pro Football Focus pass-block and run-block grades. He excels as both a pass protector and a run blocker.

All of this is why Onwenu's market is expected to be robust this offseason. PFF projects his contract at roughly four years, $58 million, or $14.5 million per season. It's very possible his market balloons north of that projection as well.

The Jets aren't going to be able to swing big on many free agents this offseason, but it would make sense if this was the position they prioritized spending on. Fixing the offensive line remains the Jets' most pressing matter entering free agency.

If the Jets want to swing for the fences on a free-agent offensive lineman, stealing Mike Onwenu away from their division rival is the route they should take.