Over the next month, we're taking a brief and early look at some of the potential solutions that could provide offseason upgrades for the Jets in each position. Today, we begin with a look at the center position:
Last year's starter, Wesley Johnson, managed to win and retain the job, but ended up grading out as the worst center in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. It seems imperative to upgrade at this spot, with the hope that this might also have a knock-on effect to some of the other starting linemen, even where there are no changes.
Jonotthan Harrison and Dakota Dozier were the other options on the team last year, but Harrison failed to impress when filling in for the injured Johnson towards the end of the season and Dozier has always been more comfortable at guard.
None of the three are under contract for next season anyway, so the Jets have to do something, even if it's just resigning someone. Realistically, they need to do more though.
There are actually a ton of options on the free agent market. The number of free agents who started multiple games at center last year basically stretches into double figures.
You probably wouldn't hear anyone call any of these players great though and there are no big-money players hitting the market. In fact, the free agent center with the highest salary in 2017 was Johnson himself, with Harrison in sixth.
However, based on Johnson grading out as the worst center in the league, you could consider any of these players as a potential upgrade. So the Jets will perhaps target someone based on their age and scheme fit.
At the top end, based on how they performed last year, Ryan Jensen of Baltimore, former Chief Zach Fulton and Weston Richburg of the Giants could be possible - albeit expensive - targets.
John Sullivan also had a good year with the Rams, but he'd perhaps be a short-term fix as he'll be 33 in August. Two other older players who could be stop-gap options to pair with a high draft pick that could be groomed to replace them are ex-Jet Matt Slauson and former Viking Joe Berger. Both has played well at the center position within the last few seasons, although they spent most of last year at guard.
Players who fall into the "struggled, but not as badly as Wesley Johnson did" category include Travis Swanson, Daniel Kilgore and Spencer Long.
Of course, some of these players will get locked up before free agency, but the team should have a number of options to upgrade the position before the draft.
Speaking of the draft, there's a few interesting prospects here. The main name that gets brought up is Billy Price from Ohio State and he looks like he could be a decent starter but his film does little to convince that he could be a Nick Mangold-type to justify a high pick. Interestingly, CBS recently released a ranking with Price down at #85 and listed at guard.
Frank Ragnow from Arkansas has generally been more dominant than Price, although he missed the second half of last year with an injury. Maybe he can get into the first round if he proves his health at the combine.
Other possible day two picks include James Daniels from Iowa, Bradley Bozeman from Alabama and Shelton Coleman from Washington. Brian Allen from Michigan State and UCLA's Scott Quessenberry might be options in the later rounds.
How would you approach this position? Is there anyone out there you'd target who we didn't mention? Let's have your thoughts in the comments.