Jets Predicted to ‘Throw the Bag’ at Rival OL in Free Agency

The New York Jets could raid a rival’s coffers to fill a big need this offseason.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report predicted that the green and white will “throw the bag” at New England Patriots offensive lineman Trent Brown in free agency.

“Finding good offensive linemen on the free-agent market isn’t always easy. That should make Brown even more valuable to teams as he goes into the open market on the strength of a good season,” Ballentine explained in a column posted on Wednesday, January 31.

“A team with a better shot of contending is bound to throw the bag at Brown. The New York Jets have to get aggressive to fix their offensive line. Their cap situation doesn’t look great right now, but Over The Cap estimates they have the potential to get to around $45.4 million in room, which would give them enough to offer him a tempting deal.”

Brown Would Fill a Big Jets Void and Hurt a Rival Simultaneously

There is nothing better than improving your own roster and hurting a division rival at the same time. The Jets would have that opportunity if they stole Brown away in free agency this offseason.

Brown, 30, has spent four of his nine seasons in the National Football League with the Patriots in two separate stints.

This past season the 6-foot-8, 370-pound lineman protected the blindside for whoever was playing quarterback in New England.

Although throughout his career, Brown has displayed the versatility of playing multiple positions on the offensive line. Brown has registered over 2,848 snaps at left tackle and over 3,090 snaps at right tackle during his NFL career, per Pro Football Focus.

Most recently he has been exclusively playing on the blindside. Over the last two seasons, he has only gotten reps at left tackle, per PFF.

Brown is coming off of a career season earning career-high PFF grades with an overall 80.2 and an 80.7 run block grade. His pass block grade, 72.8, wasn’t a career-high but was still solid.

Brown is coming off of a two-year deal for $13 million with the Patriots, but he is due for a pay raise.

Brad Spielberger of PFF projects that Brown will sign a two-year deal for $15 million. That $7.5 million annual salary would place him No. 19 among the highest-paid left tackles in football, per Over The Cap. That same figure would place him slightly higher among right tackles in the NFL at No. 14, per OTC.

There Is a Big Fat Warning Label With Brown in Free Agency

Whether the Jets brought Brown in at left or right tackle, they could use him at either spot. The starting tackle tandem from Week 1 of 2023 are both set to become free agents in Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton.

Speaking of Becton, Brown has some of those same vibes that could scare off the Jets.

Spielberger noted that Brown has had “clauses in recent contracts rewarding him for keeping his weight down.”

Mike Reiss of ESPN revealed the full details in a column discussing the contract.

385 pounds or less on the first day of the offseason program — $150,000
375 pounds or less on June 1 — $75,000
365 pounds or less on July 15 — $75,000
365 pounds or less each Thursday during the season — $25,000 per week

“The 6-foot-8 Brown is one of the NFL’s largest players and one of the main things to deduce from the contract is that the team views him at his best at 365 pounds. He is listed at 380 pounds on the official roster,” Reiss explained.

In addition to the weight clauses in Brown’s contract with the Patriots, it also included massive playing time incentive bonuses.

The Jets just dealt with a player for the last four years who had a variety of weight issues that plagued his playing time and performance. Now the significant difference between Becton and Brown is the resumes.

Becton has shown flashes while Brown has shown he can stay fully healthy across multiple seasons. Brown has three full seasons under his belt where he didn’t miss a game in his career. Becton doesn’t have a single year where he was able to accomplish that.

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