The New York Jets found themselves in quite a salary cap quandary after years of less-than-frugal spending, over-the-hill veterans reaching the bloated back-ends of their deals and, of course, Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez. This has led to a wholesale dismantling of the team on both offense and defense along with shopping Darrelle Revis like there is no tomorrow.
There were many elements of the Jets that absolutely needed to be fixed by general manager John Idzik pronto, and a number of other areas that are just a casualty of salary-cap constraints aligning with vision for the future. The destruction of a very good offensive line unit might fall in the latter category, and the first to break up the band was Matt Slauson by signing with the Chicago Bears. Brandon Moore — known extremely well for “The Butt Fumble” thanks to Sanchez — also hit the free agent market and looks certain to end up elsewhere.
These two guards, combined with center Nick Mangold, left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and — at least the last couple years — the rotating disaster at right tackle, have formed the core of an offensive line that’s kept Sanchez more upright than he could be. Yet the quarterback, the slow-footed Shonn Greene, the lack of receivers who can actually get open quickly and a tight end who offers nothing in the blocking department in Dustin Keller together made this unit appear underwhelming to some.
Last season Pro Football Focus ranked this line top-11 in run blocking, pass protection and avoidance of penalties — and now the Jets move forward without their starting guards.