After an up-and-down first season in green and white, the Jets believe that McGovern could fare better in the team's new system. That is, if he isn't traded.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently named McGovern a "surprise summer trade candidate" which certainly should raise a few eyebrows.
McGovern's name hasn't exactly been tied to any trade rumors and it certainly seems unlikely that the Jets deal their starting center, Especially without a clear backup.
Nonetheless, Benjamin explained his logic with the following rationale.
"GM Joe Douglas is all about building from the trenches first, and with new QB Zach Wilson in tow, keeping the pocket clean is of the utmost importance. He also just gave the ex-Broncos veteran a three-year, $27M deal in 2020. This offseason, however, he invested a ton in Alijah Vera-Tucker, who has center experience; and added guard Dan Feeney for over $4M. By trading McGovern ahead of a make-or-break year, Douglas could recoup $8M immediately."- Cody Benjamin
The NY Jets are highly unlikely to trade Connor McGovern.
There's a lot to unpack here, but it seems highly improbable that the Jets would trade McGovern. While Benjamin makes a sound point from a financial perspective, his explanation ignores one key element.
Who would start at center if the Jets were to trade McGovern?
The author insists that rookie first-round pick Alijah Vera-Tucker has experience playing center and implies he could play the position in the NFL.
One problem, though — there's no record of Vera-Tucker playing center at any level of football. Not high school and certainly not college.
Vera-Tucker was an All-American tackle in high school and split time at guard and tackle while at USC. He never played a game at center in college, not even as a reserve.
And even if he did have experience playing the position, there's been no indication that the team is even considering playing him there.
Feeney is likely the de facto backup center right now, but by no means should he be counted on as a starting option. While McGovern had his struggles last season, Feeney has been ranked among the worst players at his position over the last three years.
Out of 36 qualified centers in 2020, Feeney ranked 35th with an abysmal 48.2 Pro Football Focus grade. He hasn't received a PFF grade north of 52.0 since his rookie season.
It would make little sense for the Jets to trade McGovern and downgrade significantly at the position just to save a little money that they don't even need.
Not to mention the importance of offensive line chemistry and keeping rookie quarterback Zach Wilson upright.
The Jets aren't going to trade Connor McGovern. And if they actually did, they better have a much more reasonable backup plan than the one presented here.