However, if you’re looking for silver linings for Gang Green, you don’t have to look very far.
While the problems with the Jets’ anemic offense started primarily with their signal caller, you can’t blame the five guys up front for Mark Sanchez‘s struggles. Some analysts ranked them as one of the better units in the league.
Pro Bowl players like Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson have been household names for some time, but 25-year-old right tackle Austin Howard (above) quietly had a strong season in his first year as a starter.
It’s a little strange that a guy listed at 6’7, 333 pounds could get overlooked, but as the newcomer on a veteran offensive line, Howard’s play went mostly unnoticed, which is usually a good thing for an offensive lineman.
Now, according to reports, the Jets are internally discussing the type of contract they want to offer Howard, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Coming off his strong season, he’ll have his fair share of suitors.
A first-round tender this year would be a one-year, $2.86 million offer, while a second-round tender would be a $2.02 million one-year offer. I believe the Jets would be wise to instead offer Howard a multi-year deal.
It doesn’t have to be a big money deal. Something around the restricted free agent tender value, but for two or three years. It would give Howard some security, and also ensure that the Jets wouldn’t lose him to free agency.
Austin Howard wasn’t flashy last season, but he showed a lot of promise as a long-term option at the right tackle spot for years to come. Losing him to free agency now would only create another hole for the Jets to fill.
The Jets need help at plenty of other places. Creating a hole at right tackle would just be unnecessary.
While the Jets would have the right to match any offer sheet for Howard, the Jets should try to get a cap friendly deal done and avoid any potential poachers in free agency. It would be one less thing to worry about.