Jets Expected to Part Ways With 6-Year Starter in 2023

New York Jets huddle

Getty A group of New York Jets players huddling up ahead of an NFL play.

The New York Jets are likely cutting ties with a veteran starter in 2023.

Connor Hughes of SNY joined the Badlands Podcast and shared some insight on the future of center Connor McGovern:

“They’re probably going to need a center if they decide to let Connor McGovern go. The fact that Connor told us that his exit meetings did not include discussions of an extension probably told me eh he’s probably not long for Florham Park.”

Connor McGovern Was a Polarizing Player With Jets

The 29-year-old who will turn 30 ahead of the 2023 season is heading towards unrestricted free agency.

He just completed the final season of a three-year $27 million contract he signed back in 2020. While he was never considered among the best centers in football during his tenure with the Jets he did bring reliability to the position.

The former Missouri product has appeared in 48 out of 50 possible games during his brief Gang Green career.

McGovern’s first season was all over the place according to the fine folks over at PFF: 62.2 overall grade, 42.7 pass block grade, and a 70.5 run block grade.

However, he delivered very strong seasons over the last two years according to advanced analytics.

2022 PFF Grades

  • 69.6 overall
  • 69.5 pass block
  • 69.7 run block

2021 PFF Grades

  • 75.9 overall
  • 68.0 pass block
  • 78.9 run block

Market Is Expected to Develop Nicely for Jets Center Connor McGovern

Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic said McGovern is a “solid player” and he will “draw interest” if he reaches the open market.

Rosenblatt said that McGovern has likely played well enough during his Jets tenure to command a similar deal to the $27 million one he signed with the team in 2020.

Brad Spielberger of PFF apparently agreed with that notion saying, “[he] will look to get as close to that number once again.”

Spielberger’s recent projections placed the veteran pretty close to that retail price on a three-year deal for $22.5 million.

That would place McGovern at a $7.5 million per year evaluation which would make him the No. 11 highest-paid center in the NFL, per Over The Cap.

As is the case with any player the Jets choose to move on from, they then have to replace that player.

Quite frankly Gang Green fans have been spoiled at the center position over the last 20-plus years.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Mawae held down the fort from 1998 through 2005. In 2006 he passed the torch to Ring of Honor member Nick Mangold who set an equally high standard from 2006 through 2016.

After that epic run of elite center play for 18 years I’m sure Jets fans thought it would be this easy forever. However, the harsh reality set in as the Jets has been forced to play musical chairs at one of the game’s most underrated positions for six-plus seasons.

Gang Green has a few different options at their fingertips with the upcoming 2023 free agency class and of course the 2023 NFL draft as well.

Jets fans know how impactful good center play can be on an offense and they certainly know the other side of the coin with the impact of poor center play.

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