Normally I don't follow other teams offseason transactions with posts, but this is a development that favors the New York Jets and is worth discussing. The New England Patriots have reportedly lost a major cog in their offensive line as left tackle Matt Light will retire from the NFL at the age of 33. Florio broke the news, and since then both NFL league sources and SBN sister blog Pats Pulpit have confirmed the story.
Some of you who keep your ear to the ground for murmurs around the AFC East might not be surprised to read this as rumors have been floating around the league about Light's possible exodus from the game at least on-field for a while. Still, the impact on the field is undeniable. Light was named to the Pro Bowl in one capacity or another 4 times, and was with the Patriots ever since they selected him in the 2nd round (48th overall) in 2001. This run includes starts in 5 AFC Championship wins and 3 Super Bowl victories. After the first two games of 2001, Light started in every single game he played in, including not missing any time in 8 of his 10 veteran seasons.
Gregg Rosenthal had this to say about the Patriots contingency plans:
They are expected to move last year's first-round pick, Nate Solder, to left tackle, with second-year pro Marcus Cannon at right tackle until Sebastian Vollmer can prove himself healthy. New pickup Robert Gallery will provide depth at guard, and starter Brian Waters could wind up getting some of the money that the Patriots will save with Light coming off the books.
The implications for the Jets disruption of the Patriots line and backfield are tremendous. If Gang Green selects a pass rusher that can immediately contribute in the 2012 draft (and I realize this is a big if), this could easily impact the outcome of Jets-Patriots games. The Patriots have been planning for this, and nobody fills a need as effectively as the Pats, but with the departure of Light comes significant health and depth questions regarding their O line.
Just a little good news to help you along in your day. Do you think Matt Light retiring will improve the Jets chances this year, or was it just inevitable that our rival get younger on the line?