No matter who is under center in a Jets uniform in 2021, they've got to be protected for New York's offense to return to respectability.
Therefore, with free agency looming, the Jets could seek to bolster their offensive line by signing a veteran to help up front.
In a piece highlighting the NFL's top 50 free agents this offseason, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler wrote that the Jets are the best match for veteran center Corey Linsley.
Linsley, 29, has been with the Green Bay Packers for seven seasons. The Ohio State product was taken by the Packers in the fifth round back in 2014. The veteran earned All-Pro honors for the first time in 2020, even if he only played in 13 games (the first time he didn't play in all 16 regular season games since 2016).
If general manager Joe Douglas, new head coach Robert Saleh and the rest of New York's coaching staff want to bring experience to this young roster, Linsley is familiar with playing for a perennial contender and can help mentor other members of Jets' offensive line (like left tackle Mekhi Becton who is set to enter his second season in the NFL).
"Connor McGovern wasn't great at center last season, and since his $8 million salary is guaranteed for 2021, the Jets can kick him to guard," Fowler wrote. "Linsley, one of the league's most consistent centers, gives New York a leader up front to help a young quarterback, whether Sam Darnold, a draft pick or a new option via trade."
Not too long ago, New York had another center from Ohio State snapping the football in green and white. The Jets picked Nick Mangold in the first round in 2006 and he went on to play center in New York for 11 years, making seven Pro Bowls.
In addition to Becton, and possibly Linsley, New York could add another lineman in the draft this spring. Oregon's left tackle Penei Sewell is believed to be the best available from this year's class and while Becton plays the same position, Douglas and his team could pick him second overall, moving one of the two over to right tackle.
- Report: Jets to Target Juju Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller in Free Agency
- Jets Trade Out of Second Pick With Panthers, Take Star Wideout in Mock Draft
- NFL Draft Insider Explains Why the Jets Will Take Oregon's Penei Sewell With No. 2 Overall Pick