Joe Douglas Secures Depth on Jets OL With Key Restructure

Alex Lewis Jets

Getty New York Jets offensive guard Alex Lewis celebrating after a huge play.

In the middle of OTAs New York Jets general manager, Joe Douglas pulled off a savvy move to secure depth on the offensive line.

Gang Green has reworked the contract of veteran guard Alex Lewis. He was previously set to make $5.8 million in 2021, that number has shrunk to $3 million, per ESPN NFL insider Field Yates.

Also as part of the restructure the Jets eliminated the final year of his contract in 2022. That means Lewis is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next season.

Why It Was a Smart Move by Joe D

A lot of Jets fans were calling for Lewis’ head after the season after a lackluster 2020 campaign.

Gang Green could’ve simply moved on and saved the cash this offseason, but they didn’t do that. Why?

As poorly as Lewis played last year, he still has a ton of experience.

During his two years in Baltimore, he started in 18 games. Sprinkle in the additional 21 games during his tenure with the Jets and you have a seasoned veteran. The one thing you can’t teach is experience, you either have it or you don’t.

“He allowed 24 pressures over 349 snaps in pass protection, a rate of 6.9% that ranked fourth-worst out of 66 qualified guards,” per Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor.

That poor play matched with his original $5.8 million cap hit wasn’t a winning formula.

Although having that player as depth and competition for the open right guard spot made a ton of sense.

Lewis will now join an intense competition to fill the final open hole on the depth chart at RG:

  • Greg Van Roten
  • Dan Feeney
  • Tristen Hoge
  • Cameron Clark

The other starting spots on the green and white are all but locked up with Mekhi Becton at left tackle, Alijah Vera-Tucker at left guard, Connor McGovern at center, and George Fant locked in at right tackle.

Joe Douglas Is Hoping for the Best and Expecting the Worst

The Jets hope they don’t experience any injuries this year and everything is hunky-dory, but it’s Douglas’ job to expect the worst. You have to assume injuries are going to happen and you have to be prepared for those situations.

The green and white enter the 2021 season with a ton of question marks on the interior of the offensive line. Not only that but beyond the starters on the offensive line there isn’t a ton of depth. If Becton or AVT or McGovern go down, this Jets team is in a rough spot.

The offensive line is the gateway to success or failure.

If the trenches are blowing open holes in the run game and standing strong in pass protection any quarterback can have success.

That’ll be a key for the 2021 Jets because they have a rookie quarterback operating back there.

Inevitably players are going to get hurt, it’s the nature of the sport, but when those injuries happen it’s important for capable players to step up to the plate. Lewis may have been a questionable everyday starter in 2020, but he’s a reliable veteran spot starter that should make Zach Wilson’s life a bit easier if and when he’s called upon.