The New York Jets needed to sign guard Brian Winters and they accomplished that goal a few months before they had too.
Initiate slow golf clap for the New York Jets. There’s not much to be happy about following the first 5-11 season in Jets history, but this merits joyous bursts of energy.
Before the Jets can make any sexy quarterback moves, they had to resurrect an offensive line that has been eroding for years. The Jets depth has been garbage for years and even now has limited depth.
So, to lock up the most important free agent piece of your impending class in mid-January deserves an A-plus. It was first misreported that Brian Winters signed a four-year $8m contract, which got me clicking my heels like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Despite the much larger numbers that came out, it’s still a major win for gang green.
The deal averages $7.25 million per season with $15 million guaranteed (10th largest for a guard). According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the Jets and Winters negotiated off of two guard contracts in Jeff Allen and J.R. Sweezy to come up with this deal.
This is a deal that makes sense for both sides. Winters is coming off of a torn rotator cuff that’ll keep him on the shelf for the next five and a half months. He felt like his free agency status and potential earnings would be hindered by the uneasiness of injuries.
This is completely understandable for a player who has never played in a full 16 game season in his NFL career. But also from the Jets perspective, Winters (26 years old) is a young core piece of a position of need.
The Jets only two players on their offensive line that are guaranteed to come back in 2017 is Winters and left guard James Carpenter. The rest of the line is very much in question.
Now anything and everything the Jets do is gravy. This was the move they had to make and while there are certainly other moves that need to be made.
Linebacker, cornerback, and obviously quarterback are just three of these particular spots, to just name a few. But the tackle spots need to be addressed. Ryan Clady is going to be released, Breno Giacomini is going to be released and Nick Mangold very well could be if he doesn’t restructure.
Brandon Shell is a promising second-year player with a lot of upside. But, currently, they have no possibilities at left tackle unless they re-sign Ben Ijalana. Ijalana has upside, but is more of a backup swing tackle.
Look for the Jets to address the position early and often in the NFL Draft. Here’s one last nugget to chew on. Look at what the Tennessee Titans did last offseason. The Titans turned the No. 1 pick last year into two ones this year. They also got a promising young right tackle last year by trading back.
The Jets would do themselves wonders if they could trade back to the middle of the first round. Collect an extra first next year or several mid-round picks to rebuild this roster. This was an excellent first step, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.