Zach Wilson, Connor McGovern, NY Jets, Injury
Zach Wilson, Connor McGovern, New York Jets, Getty Images

Connor McGovern gets the news on Week 16 knee injury

Near the end of the New York Jets‘ eventual 26-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, starting center Connor McGovern suffered a knee injury and left the game.

It was confirmed today by head coach Robert Saleh that McGovern’s season is done with an MCL injury, ending a solid year for McGovern. Thankfully, however, he avoided an ACL tear.

McGovern and tight end Trevon Wesco have been placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons.

After a shaky start to his Jets career in 2020, McGovern has been one of the better centers in the NFL this season. On the year, McGovern is tied for seventh among centers in Pro Football Focus’ grading system with an overall grade of 75.8, a career-high. His 78.7 run-blocking grade is also a career-high.

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McGovern signed with the Jets on a lucrative three-year, $27 million contract in general manager Joe Douglas‘ first free agency period. He has played well but hasn’t quite been the elite pass protector that he was signed to be. McGovern ranked as a top-five pass-blocker for Denver in 2019.

With McGovern set to have a $10.3 million cap hit next season (fourth among centers), the Jets will likely consider their alternatives. The Jets can cut him and save $9 million while taking on only $1.3 million in dead money.

One of the best alternatives is Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, who is set to be one of the first offensive linemen taken in the 2022 NFL draft. The dominant center is having one of the best seasons by a college lineman in years and is PFF’s sixth-rated overall prospect. He’s a potential target if the Jets trade back or possibly even with the Seahawks’ first-round pick.

Outside of Linderbaum, however, options are limited. There are a handful of decent centers in free agency but they have concerns of their own.

Dan Feeney, who started all 16 games at center for the Chargers last season, replaced McGovern at center following his exit against Jacksonville and will likely start in his place over the final two games of the regular season.

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