The hiring of Joe Douglas as the next general manager of the New York Jets in the summer of 2019 provided desperate fans with the hope of a brighter future. This past off-season’s free agency was the first major test to the Jets’ new front office.
While the team was thin at cornerback and lacked a solid edge rusher, their main issue centered around their atrocious offensive line.
In 2019, the Jets quarterbacks got sacked an average of 3.2 times a game and 52 times overall which was 29th in the NFL, only less than the Texans, Panthers, and Dolphins. Joe Douglas recognized this need and designated it as a priority, heading into free agency.
Though Douglas did not land either of his top 2 targets (Jack Conklin and Joe Thuney), he continued to sign a variety of capable blockers.
His first acquisition was Connor McGovern, who he signed to a 3 year 27 million dollar deal. McGovern is a center who previously played for the Denver Broncos.
In 2019, McGovern played every single snap and committed 0 penalties while only allowing 1 sack. McGovern is expected to slide in as the Jets starting center in 2020.
Another addition Douglas made to their line was Greg Van Roten, a former Panthers guard who signed a 3 year 10.5 million dollar contract. In 2019, he played 11 games and committed 2 penalties while allowing 2 sacks.
Greg Van Roten’s stats and playing might take a hit after suffering a season-ending toe injury in week 12 of last season. He has fully recovered however and is prepared to start for the Jets in week 1 at guard.
Douglas went on to sign tackle George Fant and center Josh Andrews, as well as resign guard Alex Lewis to contribute to the o-line rebuild.
While Douglas did fill out the holes in the Jets offensive line, he failed to land a second tackle. After missing out on Jack Conklin to the Browns, Douglas was unable to sign available tackles such as Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Castonzo, or Jason Peters.
This forced the Jets to draft tackle Mekhi Becton with the 11th overall pick rather than using it to acquire a much-needed receiver.
All in all, while Douglas started the Jets offensive line rebuild during free agency, there is still a long way to go. The Jets will be forced to develop their young blockers as well as help the linemen work together.
Though the Jets have ways to go before they can call their protection one of the top in the league, Douglas established himself as a solid general manager, and their offensive line certainly did improve.
Photo Credit: NY Daily News