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.