New York Jets' Insurance for Injury-Prone Tyron Smith?

The New York Jets' offensive line rebuild features two 33-year-old tackles, including former Dallas Cowboys' starter Tyron Smith, who missed 17 games in the past two years. Will the Jets draft an insurance policy?
Nov 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) in
Nov 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) in / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Mission Accomplished, almost.

"The primary objective of the offseason was fortifying the offensive line. That was Goal 1," said New York Jets' general manager Joe Douglas while addressing reporters at the league meetings last month in Orlando. "I feel good about what we were able to

accomplish there."

Douglas indeed did admirable work in acquiring three battle-tested starters to fill holes at left tackle, left guard and right tackle, but the job isn't done yet. The Jets need insurance, particularly on the outside.

Nov 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) in
Nov 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (77) in / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The team's marquee offseason move was signing longtime Dallas Cowboys bookend Tyron Smith, but it didn't come without risk. The 33-year-old veteran missed four games in 2023 due to injury and will likely require a customized maintenance plan featuring built-in off-days.

"We'll communicate with what they did in Dallas, and obviously with our doctors and our training staff and obviously with Tyron, and just make sure we come up with the best plan for him," said fourth-year head coach Robert Saleh.

Smith, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, has not played more than 13 regular season games in any season since 2015. He has missed 17 out of a possible 34 starts over the last two years.

Right tackle Morgan Moses was reliable during his first stint with the Jets, but he is also 33 years old and missed three starts in his last season as a Baltimore Raven.

In addition to a capable backup tackle, the Jets would be wise to create a succession plan for the two short-term fixes. It all leads to the debate over what New York should do with the No. 10 overall draft pick - select a potential franchise tackle or add a weapon, like Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

In terms of the current roster, 2023 fourth-round draft pick Carter Warren appears in line to serve as swing tackle.

"We feel really good about the guys who played a year ago as part of building our depth," said Saleh.

Warren made four starts at right tackle down the stretch as a rookie.

Meanwhile, Rodgers's friend David Bakhtiari is available after being released by the Green Bay Packers, but there has been no confirmed interest in the aging offensive tackle.


Published
Ralph Ventre

RALPH VENTRE

Ralph, a former college football conference administrator, brings 20 years of media experience to the New York Jets beat. Prior to concentrating on Gang Green, he covered the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision for NFL Draft Bible on FanNation. Ventre remains as an official voter for the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 and the annual legacy awards. The Fordham University graduate is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. The veteran sports media professional resides in his native state of New Jersey.