The New York Jets are getting closer to locking in a missing piece in the trenches.
According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, a “name to watch” for Gang Green in free agency is veteran offensive lineman Ben Jones. He said he is “hearing there is interest in a possible reunion.”
Ben Jones Could Provide the Jets Exactly What They’re Looking For
One of the biggest remaining holes on the Jets’ depth chart is at the center position.
Gang Green let Connor McGovern hit the open market and there hasn’t been much action in that conversation.
One name that could be plug-and-play is veteran Ben Jones.
He has spent his entire career with two teams in the Houston Texans and most recently the Titans. Over the last seven seasons, the former Georgia product has been a pillar of consistency.
Jones has only missed seven games (five of those coming last season) in 11 years. In 2022 he earned his first Pro Bowl nomination despite only appearing in 12 games.
The veteran big man battled through some concussion issues last season and speaking to some Titans contacts it appears retirement was a big point of discussion.
Despite those problems, Jones wants to continue his football career.
Prior to joining Gang Green, Carter was in Tennessee for the past five years where he overlapped with Jones.
Ben Jones put up some solid grades from the folks over at Pro Football Focus last season:
- 71.9 overall
- 68.4 pass block
- 73.7 run block
Jets Are Looking for a Clear Upgrade at Center
Over the last three seasons, the Jets have relied on Connor McGovern to be the center. Speaking purely from an attendance perspective, the big man was reliable appearing in 48 out of 50 possible games during that stretch of time.
However, the ceiling wasn’t very high.
This offseason Gang Green seriously flirted with then-free agent center Jake Brendel. According to Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic, the Jets offered him more money to come to New York but he decided to stay with the San Francisco 49ers.
Now there are these flirtations with Jones on the open market.
It appears the Jets-McGovern era is over barring a fallout with Jones which could leave New York with nowhere else to turn.
I got a chance to speak with the veteran center this offseason and he shared his desire to continue his career in New York. So far it doesn’t appear that the feeling is mutual between him and general manager Joe Douglas.
Jones is 33 years of age and he will turn 34 before the start of the 2023 season. It’s fair to question how much tread he has left on the tires.
That could lead the Jets to execute a two-pronged attack at the center spot this offseason. Bring in a veteran for the 2023 season and select a youngster in the 2023 NFL draft to develop and be ready when the moment strikes.