The Jets still own a decent amount of cap space. Could they target an offensive tackle after not adding one via the draft?
Since that didn’t become the case, the team is currently set to enter the 2021 season with Mekhi Becton (which was expected), George Fant, and Chuma Edoga as a reserve option.
However, that doesn’t mean they can’t still use some of their notable cap space (nearly $28 million as of Tuesday afternoon) on a veteran tackle to provide reliable depth behind both Becton and Fant.
There’s a multitude of options for Gang Green and general manager Joe Douglas — each of the following individuals possesses starting experience in this league and could be serviceable in the event an injury occurs.
Cameron Fleming has experience taking the field on the highest stage of the sport — he started in Super Bowl 52 for the division-rival Patriots and has additionally started games for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
Actually, amid the COVID-19 opt-out of Nate Solder, Fleming started all 16 regular-season matchups for Big Blue last season. No, he wasn’t overly consistent, but Cameron wouldn’t be taking on as significant a role with the Jets and would at least be bringing experience to the building.
Fleming wouldn’t be an expensive option either — given he’s still on the market, he may be willing to sign a cheap deal like he did with the Giants last year. Prior to the 2020 season, Big Blue inked Fleming to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Just like Fleming, Ricky Wagner has started a number of games for multiple organizations in this league — 47 for the Ravens, 40 for the Lions, and most recently, nine for the Packers.
Although he’s aging (and is now on the wrong side of 30 years old), Wagner can still bring talent to an offensive line room. With Green Bay last year, Ricky recorded a solid 77.0 Pro Football Focus grade through 610 offensive snaps.
Wagner’s most recent contract with the Packers carried an average salary of $5.5 million, and considering the bulk of the 2021 free agency period and the draft are in the past, the Jets could certainly acquire him for less.
Maybe a one-year contract worth around $3 million could work?
Dennis Kelly just started 16 games for the Titans last season, so it’s not like he wouldn’t be ready to go if the Jets called upon him amid an unfortunate injury to a starter.
He doesn’t carry the starting experience Wagner may possess, but 104 career appearances in the NFL is a strong argument for why Kelly would be a decent option for this role (remember, the Jets would only be requiring someone that’s at least serviceable on the field).
Kelly could cost the organization around the same amount as Wagner — his previous contract with Tennessee possessed an average salary of $5.75 million.
The Jets would also be smart to keep the contract to a one-year deal if they were to bring Dennis to Florham Park.