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New York Jets Make Shrew Move, Acquiring Offensive Tackle Jeff Otah from Carolina Panthers

The New York Jets made a bold but shrewd move on Monday, when they acquired talented but oft-injured offensive tackle Jeff Otah from the Carolina Panthers for an undisclosed conditional draft pick.

The 26-year-old Otah is entering his fifth NFL season, after the Panthers selected him with the 19th overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh.

The biggest knock on Otah is his health. The 6’6, 330 lb tackle has only played 29 total games over his first four seasons, and he only played in a total of four games combined in 2010 and 2011.

It’s his knees that have given him the most trouble in his career, and although many believe that Otah will be physically 100% by the start of training camp, the Panthers were obviously ready to move on without him.

Otah is in the last year of his rookie contract, so as a free agent to be, he’s got a lot to prove. If the deal is for just a conditional late round pick, it’s a low-risk, moderate- to high-reward move for Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets.

If he’s healthy, Jeff Otah will definitely give Wayne Hunter a run for his money as the Jets’ starting right tackle.

That may be a big if, but the Jets gave up practically nothing, and could potentially have something special here in 2012.

Former Jets right tackle Damien Woody, who knows a thing or two about having to prove himself in New York, offered words of encouragement via Twitter to the newest Jet.

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Woody came over to the Jets as a free agent from the Detroit Lions back in 2008, and many questioned whether or not he had anything left in the tank, being asked to play right tackle for the first time in his career.

As it turned out, Woody played outstanding football in his three-year Jets career, and the Jets have struggled to find a successor since his retirement after the 2010 season.

All in all, the Jeff Otah trade is definitely worth a flier for the Jets. I’m excited to see what he can do this preseason. He has a lot of potential to possibly step in and solidify the Jets offensive line.


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