The New York Jets will need to put together a new offensive line in 2024 after the debacle of the 2023 season. This season proved that you can’t hide from your weaknesses in the NFL, they will come back to haunt you. The errors of Joe Douglas are numerous. He gets a C for effort, as he tried some different things over his tenure, but he gets an F for how he allowed the offensive line to fall to such depths.
If you remember I screamed how Joe allowed Morgan Moses to walk in free agency. The Jets starting offensive tackles at the time were Mekhi Becton (missed all but half a game the prior season) and George Fant (played in half of his possible career games due to injury). These two should not have been counted on. It’s not like Moses wanted to leave. He loved playing for the Jets, but they never offered him a contract. He signed an incredibly cheap deal with the Baltimore Ravens for $15 million over 3 years, which is pennies for a starting NFL tackle. Morgan is still a quality tackle at age 32. That was a huge mistake by Joe to let Morgan walk. It borders on idiocy. I mean he was in your building and wanted to stay at a bargain price. What more do you want? I know it was said that Moses wanted to be assured he would be a starter, but I find that hard to believe. All positions in the NFL are up for grabs to the best talent. Why would a team looking to win hide a better player on the bench? NFL players understand that the “best players play,” so to say that a player demands to start is a little far-fetched. There are cases where teams will bench a player if they are looking to tank for draft position, but they don’t do that at the start of a season.
It’s important to remember that Aaron Rodgers can retire at any time. He has expressed the desire to continue his career in New York, but if he sees an offensive line like the one he saw this year, a line that allowed him three snaps before he was injured on the fourth, he might just say “no thanks” and retire. That would have all kinds of salary cap consequences with the additional question of who would be the Jets’ starting quarterback?
If Rodgers decides to retire the Jets brain trust (and I use that term very comically) might decide to pull the plug on the Joe Douglas experience. Why wouldn’t they? The Jets would be a team in salary cap hell with no viable quarterback and a terrible offensive line. No quality player would sign with the Jets under those circumstances in free agency even if the Jets had the cap space.
It’s a nightmare scenario, but it could become reality unless the Jets do something that far exceeds what they have done in the past. If Joe Douglas had even done a mediocre job with the offensive line the Jets could be in playoff position. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
What is the way forward?
It’s hard to tell what players might be available for the Jets in free agency, but of course they have limited cap space anyway. The best place to start is internally. Determine who you should keep and who is expendable. The most successful teams do a great job of “self scouting,” which is looking at your team with unbiased eyes to see where you are lacking or who can be counted on to develop in the future. Every NFL team does that. The best teams usually do the best job of it.
Think about it. You have a 53 man roster. Only 47 suit up on game day. Your depth chart can get razor thin at times due to injuries, so you need quality backups. You are also trying to do this while carrying rookies who might not be ready to fill in. It’s a major dilemma when you have multiple injuries within a few weeks of a season. Every game counts, so a loss or a win in mid-season could be huge.
Let’s take a look at Jets Center Connor McGovern
Connor McGovern signed a very lucrative $27 million contract with $18 million guaranteed as a free agent with the Jets in 2020. After that contract expired, McGovern re-signed with the Jets in 2023 for $1.9 million as a backup center.
McGovern has been dreadful this year in a spot start role. He is not worth signing as a viable player, unless you’re the Jets. It’s not like McGovern has no value to the Jets, he does offer some value in 2024.
I don’t really like McGovern as a player. He was an average player for many years. Now he has been injured quite a bit, so he is no longer the same player. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any value to a team like the Jets.
Why would the Jets keep McGovern in 2024?
The reason you give McGovern a minimum salary contract in 2024 is that the Jets can get a discount with the veteran salary benefit. If a player signs a contract that qualifies for the veteran salary benefit, they will be paid the minimum base salary based on their credited seasons, but the salary cap hit will only be for that of a player with two credited seasons. The remaining money that is paid the player is considered a “benefit” and does not count on the salary cap. So the Jets get a salary cap discount on a veteran’s salary.
The Jets would have Joe Tippmann as the starting center, but he is coming off a rookie season where he has had some problems. Those problems can be corrected, especially with the help of a veteran center who has been through the battles before. McGovern would also be an asset in the offensive line room. Just because a guy is no longer a viable NFL starting player doesn’t mean he can’t be of help to younger players. Those players would respect him as a wise peer, valuing his veteran insight.
McGovern would also be a valuable bench player who would be an asset on game day. He can play multiple positions on the interior, including center. He could make all the line calls if needed. For a team in need of cap relief McGovern would be someone the Jets could secure at a reasonable price as a backup you hope you never have to use. This is basically the best option the Jets have to have some sort of bench when the team has little in the way of assets in the early part of the draft or cap space.
So the question is simple.
Do the Jets bring back McGovern in 2024 or not?
Should the Jets Bring Back Connor McGovern?
This poll is closed
1) Yes at a the Veteran Minimum
2) No the Jest need to clean house on the offensive line.
3) Bring him to camp with a non-guaranteed contract
4) Who is Connor McGovern?