Should the NY Jets sign this recently-released former Pro Bowl OL?

Does Cody Whitehair make sense for the Jets?

Cody Whitehair
Cody Whitehair / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Jets will be in the market for offensive line help this offseason, and given the current state of the unit, the team is expected to leave no stone unturned in search of reinforcements.

That could bring the team to explore the recently released Cody Whitehair as a potential target. The longtime Chicago Bears lineman was released by the team on Thursday, ending his eight-year tenure with the organization.

Whitehair is a former Pro Bowler who has long been one of the better centers in the NFL. He has over 115 career starts under his belt and has experience playing all three interior offensive line positions.

That alone makes him an intriguing option for a Jets team that is searching for all the offensive line help they can get. But there's a reason Whitehair was released — he was quite bad in 2024.

The NY Jets can probably do better than Cody Whitehair

Whitehair moved to guard full-time in 2021 before shifting back to center this past season. The move proved to be a disaster, as the veteran lineman was benched following a barrage of bad snaps. Snapping wasn't the only issue, however.

Whitehair finished with an abysmal 45.0 Pro Football Focus grade — far and away the worst grade of his career — which ranked 73rd out of just 79 qualified guards. His 42.4 PFF run-block grade ranked 75h among qualifiers.

Injuries have partially contributed to Whitehair's decline. Although he appeared in all 17 games this past season, he played through a hand injury and missed five games the year prior. He turns 32 years old before the start of next season and is clearly on the decline.

Whitehair's interior versatility makes him an interesting target, especially if the Jets move on from Laken Tomlinson or move Alijah Vera-Tucker to right tackle, but his age, injuries, and declining performance make him a risky proposition.

The Jets would probably be better off targeting other players in free agency or even in the 2024 NFL Draft. Whitehair has had a successful NFL career, but he's little more than a name at this stage.

There will be some appealing cap casualties in the coming weeks. Whitehair is not at the top of that list.

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