QB Mark Sanchez celebrates not dying during the Hunter Era with RT Wayne Hunter.
In easily the biggest news of training camp, RT Wayne Hunter has been benched. Austin Howard will take his place, and Hunter will return to his previous position as the sixth offensive lineman and jumbo tight end, where he excelled in 2010.
Let me be clear; Austin Howard did not earn this position. Wayne Hunter simply lost it, reinforced with his atrocious play last weekend against the New York Giants. In that sense, it is good that the team has finally been forced to act with regard to Hunter's play. In addition, it is good that he is returning to the position that he is best at, the jumbo tight end role. In that role, he will help run block, but not pass protect as much.
Of course, it is bad news because the team simply does not have anyone capable of filling in. If Howard was good enough to replace Hunter, he would have done so months ago, and the Jets wouldn't be forced to act so late. The team will now look to trade for a starting right tackle. The rumor is they have been in talks with at least one NFC team. Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, jumped in on Twitter to say that the trade winds were brewing, although it is not clear if he was referring to the Jets or his own team. Importantly, the Jets will absolutely not cut Hunter. He is good in the jumbo TE role, and his over $2 million contract is fully guaranteed.
Expect a trade within the next few days, and pray to the heavens that Austin Howard steps up his game this weekend against the Carolina Panthers and actually proves he deserves the position.
Update: The current rumor is that the Jets have inquired with the Colts about RT Winston Justice. Once we know more we'll have it for you.
Update 2: The Jets have recently worked out retired Chargers RT Marcus McNeill, however nothing is imminent.