The NY Jets STILL have interest in signing Pro Bowl center Ben Jones
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets may have re-signed last year's starting center, Connor McGovern, and drafted his eventual replacement, Joe Tippmann, but believe it or not, the team is reportedly still interested in signing Pro Bowler Ben Jones.
General manager Joe Douglas was asked following Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft if Jones was still an option for the Jets after adding Tippmann in the draft. Somewhat surprisingly, Douglas didn't rule it out.
The Jets' GM insisted that he liked the team's offensive line room now but that he wouldn't close any doors. That's not all, however. This isn't just GM speak.
SNY's Connor Hughes reported later that night that the Jets are "still in pursuit of Ben Jones." Hughes suggested that the Jets are looking to load up on offensive line depth and that Tippmann might be seen as an insurance policy behind McGovern and, quite possibly, Jones.
Could the NY Jets actually still sign Ben Jones?
The Jets have had interest in signing Jones since he was released by the Tennessee Titans in March. The 2022 Pro Bowler has 151 career starts under his belt and has long been one of the most unheralded players in the NFL.
Jones would undoubtedly be an exciting addition, and his ties to new Jets offensive line coach Keith Carter could be an appealing recruiting pitch, but it's worth wondering what his role might actually be.
Jones is absolutely an above-average starting center, likely a top-10 center in football. The Jets already re-signed McGovern, who is, at worst, an average starting center. They also added Tippmann, a potential Day 1 starter, in the draft.
Is there a such thing as too much offensive line depth? Possibly.
The Jets are six-deep at offensive tackle following the addition of Billy Turner on Monday. They have six NFL-caliber centers/guards on their roster. There's no way the Jets carry 12 offensive linemen on their active roster.
Of course, many of these players are contingency plans. The Jets are expecting injuries to occur, and after the ridiculous string of injury misfortune the unit suffered last season, that's fair.
Still, it's also fair to wonder why Jones would choose to sign with the Jets unless he's guaranteed a starting job. The Jets' offensive line is loaded with depth, and the team would probably be better off using their remaining cap space to address positions like defensive tackle or safety.
It feels like Jones is probably more of an extra contingency plan for the Jets. If he's still unsigned in July or August and the Jets suffer an unfortunate, perhaps they revisit the conversation.
Either way, the Jets still have interest. The Ben Jones pipedream isn't dead just yet.