The New York Jets will take the field in Week 1 viewed as one of the best teams in the NFL. If there’s one thing that could derail expectations in New York, though, it’s the offensive line that has been the source of conversation all summer.
It became apparent both during the preseason and in training camp that the Jets had issues upfront. After acquiring Aaron Rodgers and taking an all-in approach with free-agent signings and contract extensions, the Jets can’t afford to have a glaring Achilles heel that could derail their season.
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According to Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline, many around the NFL reportedly believe there’s a chance the Jets trade from their depth on the defensive line later this year to help address their weakness along the offensive line. Furthermore, there are some questions around the NFL about how long Duane Brown can play in 2023.
Brown, who turned 38 years old on August 30, is the Jets’ starting left tackle entering the season. A five-time Pro Bowl selection since entering the league in 2008, Brown has already played 215 regular-season games in his career and been on the field for 14,000 snaps.
While he started a majority of the Jets’ games last season, Brown’s effectiveness dropped off considerably. The 6-foot-4 left tackle allowed 23 pressures in 450 pass-blocking snaps. While he earned a 72.3 PFF grade in pass protection, he rated as one of the worst run-blocking tackles in the NFL.
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It’s been apparent since training camp that New York’s offensive line is its biggest area of concern heading into the regular season. While Mekhi Becton locked down the starting job at right tackle, expectations inside the Jets’ organization are still reportedly low.
It’s why trading from a position of strength makes so much sense for New York. Not only do the Jets have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, they also have one of the deepest fronts. Solomon Thomas, Will McDonald IV, Jermaine Johnson and Quinton Jefferson could start for multiple NFL teams and there are several clubs who would love to add more quality disruptors at the line of scrimmage.
For now, nothing is imminent. The Jets will use the first month of the season to evaluate their offensive linemen, determining if an upgrade is needed or if the group will improve over time. If it’s the former, New York’s aggressive moves earlier this offseason demonstrate there will be an all-out effort to improve.