August 3, 2021

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Connor McGovern can stabilize a crippling Jets…

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Connor McGovern can stabilize a crippling Jets...

As the Jets get close to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.

No. 8: Connor McGovern

Last year’s ranking: Unranked (not on team)

Position: C

Age on Opening Day: 27

How acquired: Signed a three-year, $27 million deal as an unrestricted free agent on March 30

Years left on contract: 3

2020 Salary Cap figure: $7.3 million

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Looking back at 2019

McGovern started 16 games for the Broncos at center. He played every offensive snap for Denver.

McGovern had his best year as a pro as a key piece of the Broncos offensive line. He showed remarkable discipline, committing no penalties all season.

PFF graded McGovern as the 10th best center out of 34 who qualified. He was fifth in pass blocking, allowing one sack.

New York Jets Connor McGovern
Connor McGovernIcon Sportswire via Getty Images

Outlook for 2020

Of all the Jets’ free agent signings, McGovern looks like the one they were the most excited about if you look at the contracts. Most of the Jets’ free agent deals were for one year or were one-year deals dressed up as more. McGovern has guaranteed money in 2021, so this was more than a one-year trial.

McGovern has the potential to stabilize a position the Jets have struggled at since releasing Nick Mangold after the 2016 season. They have mowed through several options and last year they had two of the worst-rated centers by PFF in Ryan Kalil (32 out of 34) and Jonotthan Harrison (34).

McGovern played very well last season in his first full year at center. Before that he had played guard and then moved to center in 2018 late in the season to replace an injured Matt Paradis.

The Jets desperately needed to upgrade on the offensive line and McGovern appears to be a major upgrade at center. He fits the mold of what GM Joe Douglas was looking for – an ascending player who could be signed for a reasonable price. The Jets now need to hope that what McGovern showed in 2019 was a sign of things to come and not just an anomaly.

McGovern will also be asked to help bring quarterback Sam Darnold along. The center-quarterback relationship is always a key one in an offense and Darnold has not had a strong presence at center for an extended time during his career.

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