NY Jets 'hope to sign' Pro Bowl center Ben Jones in free agency
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets are still in search of their starting center as we enter the month of April. The team has a plan, however, as the Jets reportedly "hope to sign" Pro Bowl center Ben Jones, per ESPN's Rich Cimini.
The Jets have been active in the center market this offseason, reportedly striking out on guys like Jake Brendel and Graham Glasgow. Connor McGovern remains a free agent, although Cimini notes that he's nothing more than a contingency plan at this point.
The Jets want Jones. He seems to be their top target.
The team has added some interior depth pieces to their offensive line in the form of veterans Wes Schweitzer and Trystan Colon, but neither should be considered a legitimate starting-caliber option.
Jones would not only give the Jets a viable starter, but he would provide a legitimate upgrade over McGovern — perhaps the last true upgrade remaining, aside from the 2023 NFL Draft.
Ben Jones would be a massive addition for the NY Jets
Jones has long been one of the NFL's most underrated offensive linemen. A highly regarded locker-room leader and fan favorite in Tennessee, Jones made his first Pro Bowl in 2022, although the honor was long overdue.
The 11-year NFL veteran has been ranked inside the top nine centers in the NFL by Pro Football Focus in each of the last four seasons and inside the top 11 centers in each of the last six seasons.
Jones has been the model of consistency and stability over the last decade. He's only allowed two sacks on a whopping 1,557 pass-block snaps over the last three years and, prior to the 2022 season, Jones had missed just one game in 10 NFL seasons.
The 33-year-old was limited to 12 games in 2022 due to concussions, but his track record of durability speaks for itself. Jones is exactly what the Jets need in the middle of their offensive line.
There are options the Jets could explore in the 2023 NFL Draft, most notably Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz, who the team has reportedly done their homework on. That said, signing Jones doesn't prevent the Jets from drafting his eventual replacement.
The Jets were in on a number of high-profile veteran players such as Calais Campbell and Fletcher Cox, but they weren't able to close the deal. The hope is that their pursuit of Jones doesn't follow the same trajectory.
The Jets want Ben Jones. Now, let's see if the two sides can come to an agreement.