Connor McGovern deserves some more appreciation from New York Jets supporters
Earlier this week, NFL.com released a list detailing one underappreciated player from each franchise. The list takes into consideration their impact and their salary for 2021.
John Franklin-Myers was selected as the New York Jets‘ representative, and considering he earned a four-year, $55 million extension midway through the 2021 season, I’m not sure how underappreciated he really is.
This got me thinking about who I’d select as the Jets’ most underappreciated player.
Here are a few stats for Connor McGovern and his rank among the 33 centers in the league who played at least 500 snaps in 2021:
- PFF Overall Grade: 75.9 (8th)
- PFF Run-Blocking Grade: 78.9 (8th)
- Zone Run-Blocking Grade: 87.1 (4th)
- PFF Pass-Blocking Grade: 68.0 (14th)
- Pass-Blocking Efficiency: 98.1 (18th)
From a run-blocking perspective, McGovern was outstanding, especially when asked to work within the zone-running system preferred by Mike LaFleur and the Jets.
The pass-blocking was a little more problematic but consider this: he was working in a new system, with a rookie quarterback, a rookie left guard, and Greg Van Roten at tight guard. It’s not an easy situation for anyone to work with.
Towards the end of the season, McGovern’s pass protection improved. Over his final seven games he allowed just a single sack. You’ll remember that Zach Wilson looked more comfortable towards the end of the year and the Jets upgraded from Van Roten to Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard.
This year, McGovern will be working between Alijah Vera-Tucker, who will be looking to make a big improvement in his own pass protection, and prized free-agent signing Laken Tomlinson. The expectation here is that as a result of those upgrades, Connor will have a better year himself.
The only aspect that would give me hesitation in categorically naming him the most underappreciated Jet is his contract situation. McGovern is entering the final year of his contract in 2022 which will pay him $10.3 million, the third-highest salary in 2022 for centers. Only Corey Linsley of the Chargers and Rodney Hudson of the Cardinals will take home a higher salary.
The simple truth is that McGovern is much better than a lot of fans give him credit for, and I was probably guilty of being too harsh on McGovern at the start of the 2021 season.