The New York Jets already shaky offensive line has gotten some bad news today, as guard Willie Colon will need to have his knee scoped. Obviously there are still three months to recover before the start of the season, and this is a minor procedure to clean things out. However, this is the kind of news that the Jets really didn’t need, and they have to hope that Colon will recover quickly.
Colon was the Jets’ best run blocker last season, and he provides the kind of road grader Rex Ryan loves at the right guard spot. Colon is also one of the leaders of the team, and his intangibles are just as valuable as his play. With him out, the Jets’ guard situation is a major problem, as Brian Winters was a disaster last season as a rookie and Colon is 31 years old and injury prone. The Jets failed to address the problem in free agency, and the only thing they did in the draft was spend a fourth round pick on Dakota Dozier, who will convert to guard from tackle.
Last year’s fifth round pick, Oday Aboushi, replaced Colon in the starting lineup at guard in OTAs for the Jets, so it looks like he is the first fallback option. Aboushi is a tackle by trade and didn’t play a single snap last season, so the Jets can’t feel great about having him as a starter. Dozier isn’t even remotely close to ready, even if he is probably the Jets’ long term replacement for Colon. With two highly questionable young players as their best alternatives, the Jets might want to consider looking for a veteran option who can provide some depth and hold down the fort if necessary.
The best guard available on the free agent market is actually Richie Incognito, but the Jets would be wise to stay very far away from him. Other veteran options include Davin Joseph, Wade Smith, Travelle Wharton and Daryn Colledge, and signing one of those players would make a lot of sense. Each of those players would provide veteran depth as well as insurance in case Winters struggles or Colon gets hurt.
Hopefully for Colon and the Jets, this procedure will turn out to be just as minor as it’s supposed to be and Colon will be back in the lineup in no time. However, with his extensive injury history, Winters’ rookie struggles, and the question marks as backups, it is time for John Idzik to bring in a veteran. The Jets have enough things to worry about on their roster, and the last thing they need is to add offensive line to that list.