The only two elite interior offensive linemen on the free agent market will not be playing for the New York Jets in 2021.
One of the biggest goals for the New York Jets entering the 2021 offseason was to improve the interior offensive line after a 2020 season in which their interior trio allowed the most pressures in the NFL.
Just five hours into free agency, that mission has taken a major hit. The unanimous top-two free agents on the interior offensive line market – New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney and Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley – are already headed elsewhere.
Thuney is off to Kansas City on a five-year, $80 million deal.
For the #Chiefs and Joe Thuney, it’s a 5-year deal worth $80M, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2021
New #Chiefs guard Joe Thuney’s five-year, $80 million contract includes $32.5M fully guaranteed at signing over the first two years, plus an injury guarantee that converts to full in 2022, per source. That brings the practical guarantee at signing to a whipping $48 million. 💰💰
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 15, 2021
Linsley is heading to Los Angeles, where he’ll be tasked with snapping the ball to Justin Herbert.
The #Chargers are signing C Corey Linsley to a five-year, $62.5 million deal, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. He is the new highest-paid center in the league and will get $26 million over the first two years.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 15, 2021
Here is a look at how the guard and center markets looked heading into free agency. Thuney and Linsley were the clear top dogs at each spot.
The Jets are left with a limited number of avenues to improve their offensive line in free agency. There are a handful of decent-to-solid starters available, but not many, and most of them are either too old or too unproven to be considered surefire upgrades.
It’s time for Joe Douglas to get creative in his journey to rebuilding the Jets’ offensive line.
Wanted to cut Alex Lewis a month ago, now he may be the top Guard. Jets were never n it with Thuney, massive deal with a Super Bowl Team. Linsley interest , was IMHO a smokescreen. LaFLEUR looking for OG’s that can run, there are none out there. Lewis & GVR are hold the fort guys until the draft comes through. Ugh.
Well, should be lots of money to roll over to 2022 if JD can’t find any WRs or edge rushers who will play for us.
Ideally the OL strikeout should allow them to allocate plenty of money on EDGE this year.
Hoping for Lawson and Dupree, not too enthused about Henrickson. Need 2 WR and at least 1 CB, so something like Golladay, Samuel and Griffin. Also, while I am sure we can bring in some promising OL prospects with our 23 and 34 overall picks, I’m not enthused about starting rookies at both G spots. Would be a very young, inexperienced line if we do. Was really hoping we could land one of the top OL FAs.
Pretty big hit not to land one of them. A decent fallback that nobody has really talked about is our old friend Oday Aboushi. He put up great grades/numbers in both pass and run game at RG last year, and Brandon Thorn (biggest OL expert on Twitter) really liked his progress as well.
I always liked Oday and would welcome him back, but am not convinced he fits the profile of what LaFleur will want at G (fleet-footed, good open-field iso blocker). I am for now consoling myself that Thuney didn’t fit that description, and that McGovern at G wouldn’t either (explaining why we didn’t go after Linsley). I know they want really athletic guys all over the line, but not sure where they’re going to find them.
Hate to say Same Old Jets, but Same Old Jets. Literally.