This loss marked the 12th straight against the AFC East division, a statistic that must improve in 2022 if Gang Green wants to make the postseason for the first time since 2010-11. One way to do that is through free agency.
After releasing Shaq Lawson and Sharrod Neasman, general manager Joe Douglas currently has a little over $56.4 million in cap space according to Over the Cap. There are plenty of positions of need but one starting job that’s up for grabs is right guard.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif stole the job from Greg Van Roten after joining the Jets at the trade deadline but the former Super Bowl champion is an impending free agent. He addressed the media after what could have been his final performance in green and white.
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‘Everything Is on the Table’ for LDT
Heading into his age-31 campaign, Duvernay-Tardif’s contract is officially void. The veteran provided an upgrade on ‘GVR’ during his seven starts with the franchise — especially if you disregard his first game back after nearly a two-year hiatus.
Still, he’s nowhere close to an elite NFL guard. ‘LDT’ is a serviceable starter that shouldn’t break the bank which begs the question: Will Duvernay-Tardif return in 2022?
“Everything is on the table,” Duvernay-Tardif told the media after Week 18, per Connor Hughes. The guard has always split his football career with his passion for medicine and the licensed doctor noted that his endeavors outside the game could complicate his return — to the NFL, not just the Jets.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini followed up in a tweet: “Duvernay-Tardif, asked about free agency, says he needs to [get] clarity on certain deadlines regarding practicing medicine in Canada. Might face a July 1 deadline, which could impact football.”
It’s important to mention that LDT waived his no-trade clause to come to New York in the first place. Part of that was wanting to go somewhere he could start but the other theory is that he wanted to be somewhat close to Montreal, where the LDT Foundation is based.
That means the Jets may always be an alternative for Duvernay-Tardif if he chooses to continue his career, but don’t expect Douglas to hold his breath.
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Should the Jets Bring LDT Back?
According to Pro Football Focus, Duvernay-Tardif allowed 15 quarterback pressures in six games (Week 18 pending). That calculated out to an average of 0.0691 pressures per pass protection snaps.
For those wondering, Van Roten’s average QB pressure per pass protection snap was 0.0782. Now, seven of LDT’s pressures came in his first game back (Week 11), so that average drops to 0.046 if you wipe that outing from the record.
He was also a commodity in the run game, boosting the rushing attack based on yards per carry during his starts. Besting GVR isn’t all that challenging, however, and that should not be the determining factor in this decision.
I do believe that the front office should make an effort to bring back the ex-Kansas City Chiefs O-lineman but I don’t think they should plan on starting him in 2022.
At this point in his career, LDT makes an average first-teamer but an A-plus backup. This also fits better with his timeline. If he needs the summer to run his foundation and practice medicine, he could always return to the Jets in training camp — or even mid-season.
If he’s a reserve, this works. If he’s a projected starter, things get dicey.
It’ll be interesting to see which route the Jets front office chooses at right guard in the upcoming months but keeping LDT in the back pocket should be the priority. That gives the franchise the most options moving forward.