3 Veteran Names Trending in Jets Ongoing Search at Right Guard

James Daniels

Getty Chicago Bears guard James Daniels is among three veteran names that keep coming up in Jets' free agency conversations on the offensive line.

With the NFL combine behind us, we now have a clearer picture of the draft and certain prospects in particular.

For example, Ikem Ekwonu appears to be a top-three overall selection — potentially No. 1 — which would likely end the New York Jets’ chances of selecting the versatile offensive lineman.

That type of expectation could dramatically shift offseason plans for GM Joe Douglas, let’s say Ekwonu was the prospect they had in mind at right guard. Instead, it appears the Jets could look to correct the interior O-line position in free agency.

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Lots of Smoke Surrounding McGovern

To our surprise, uSTADIUM has been adamant that sources tell them the Jets could move on from center Connor McGovern this spring, despite the fact that he’s coming off a career campaign in 2021.

“[The] Jets are looking to add more toughness to the OL,” uSTADIUM followed up on March 6. “Have some skilled players there but want some more bullies. Ryan Jensen in FA and Trevor Penning in the draft are two names who’d bring that. The [organization] wasn’t thrilled with how a few times some of the guys left the QB out to dry.”

The sports news site is referring to moments throughout the year where rookie Zach Wilson took a beating on either a late hit or an illegal tackle. Veterans like McGovern and Greg Van Roten were criticized by fans for not standing up for their quarterback.

Based on that rumor and a recent report from Connor Hughes that he’d “expect the Jets to be heavily involved in the free-agent market for interior offensive and defensive line,” three potential replacements at center and/or right guard keep coming up in conversation with Gang Green — the aforementioned Jensen, Laken Tomlinson, and James Daniels.

The two latter names are guards, while the former is a center by trade. Of course, McGovern has guard versatility himself and could shift to the right side in the event the Jets sign or draft a new point-man.

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3 Veterans Gaining Steam

Our very own Heavy on Jets reporter Paul Esden Jr. recently confirmed the Jets supposed interest in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl champion, Jensen, through ESPN.

SNY analyst and ex-Jets D-lineman Leger Douzable also claimed that “JD [Douglas] loves Ryan Jensen” on February 24. The 30-year old would certainly push McGovern over to guard if he remains on the roster.

Don’t forget Tomlinson and Daniels, who could provide an easier transition.

Jets X-Factor highlighted Daniels as a “worthy target for New York.” They scouted “run-blocking as his greatest appeal,” particularly athletic-based zone-blocking. It’s no coincidence that the Jets operate an outside-zone system.

Then again, if we’re talking about scheme fits, who better than Tomlinson? — who made a name for himself in the exact same system out in San Francisco. Jets OL coach and run game coordinator John Benton could help lure the former Lions’ first-round pick over from the west coast.

The only issue here is that the Niners FA plays left guard, which is occupied by Alijah Vera-Tucker. ESPN has connected the Jets to Tomlinson in free agency.

Aside from Douglas and the Jets brass, no one knows which free agent will get the first call on the offensive line — or any position for that matter. All we can do is follow the breadcrumbs and these three names continue to come up in NYJ circles.

After the combine, uSTADIUM capped the week with one final thought. They stated: “Asked about the interest we reported last week in the interior offensive line in free agency and was told ‘we feel good we’ll get one of these done.'”

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