The New York Jets are making improving the offensive line their top priority this offseason. Jack Conklin is at the top of their wishlist.
Conklin primarily plays right tackle, where the Jets played rookie Chuma Edoga in 2019. Edoga also saw time at left tackle but struggled mightily. General manager Joe Douglas has no connection to Edoga, as he didn’t draft him. He should have no problem replacing the young offensive lineman.
It’s possible that Douglas looks to replace the entire offensive line. It was arguably the worst group in football. Adding a stout blocker like Conklin would be a great start to rebuilding.
The only issue is that Conklin is a stronger run blocker than pass blocker. That worked with the Titans in 2019, but it might not work with the Jets.
The Titans had an offensive gameplan built around running the football. Derrick Henry had a breakout year running behind Conklin, but he also averaged a league-high 20 rushing attempts per game. Le’Veon Bell averaged just 16 rushing attempts per game.
Jets head coach Adam Gase‘s offensive system is built on throwing the ball. Conklin might not be the best fit for that. He would certainly be a massive upgrade at right tackle, but he’ll also cost over $15 million a year.
When a team looks to build towards their future, they usually look to find players who fit a system, not the other way around. That’s especially true when giving out a contract with league-high salaries.
Whatever the Jets do this offseason to fix their offensive line, they have to get it right. Quarterback Sam Darnold needs a competent offensive line in front of him if he’s going to have any chance to succeed in his third season.