Moeller: Thomas Off to Good Start With Swift, Thrifty Actions to Shape Roster

One week into free agency, Joe Thomas showed his hand for the future.

Thomas didn’t write the big checks to the big names such as Robbie Anderson and Jadeveon Clowney –at least so far – both of whom arguably who could help the team.

Instead, Thomas did address team needs with a mixture of steady contributors, some recognized second-teamers, and some off-season performers.

He has assembled a group of capable players who can fill the necessary holes.

Thomas has quantity and not necessarily quality. He has plenty of hamburgers maybe among a steak.

He did apparently make a splash with former Broncos center Connor McGovern, who should anchor a refurbished front line.

Thomas re-inked guard left guard Alex Lewis and brought in Seattle’s George Fant as a possible solution at left tackle. Greg Van Roten missed 11 games as a starter at left guard for Carolina last season after a full slate in 2018. Fant, 27, can use his 6-5, 320-pound frame to his advantage, yet he started 24 games over four years. Lately, Thomas added Rams’ backup lineman Josh Andrews for depth.

The bigger question now is what to do with guard Brian Winters, who has battled injuries the past few seasons, but was a mainstay for quite some time. Releasing Winters would free approximately $7 million for their cap.

However, the bigger questions will be how to mesh this new group and find a cohesive chemistry by September. Look for the Jets to draft an offensive tackle with their fourth pick.

Don’t look for the Jets to trade for Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, who would be an instant problem solver. Washington’s asking price of a second or even a first-round pick is too high, but releasing Winters does give the Jets the money to sign Williams.

Thomas did fill the void nicely of the loss of Anderson with Tampa’s Breshad Perriman, who can be a viable deep threat.

Defensively, Thomas will have one of the deepest linebackers corps, as he reunited Jordan Jenkins, Neville Hewitt, James Burgess and brought in former Raven Patrick Onwuasor, who has battled through recent injuries.

Add C.J. Mosely and Avery Williamson, both of whom missed last season, to the mix, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has plenty to work with and contrive.

Thomas is hopeful to find a gem in former Colt cornerback Pierre Desir, who was unexpectedly released by his former team after his performance slightly slipped last season. Brian Poole, who had a solid season filling in the gaps, is back along with Bless Austin as possible projected starters.

Even though the projected top cornerbacks are off the market, the Jets could still land another starter.

Ex-Jet Morris Claiborne, ex-Giant and Bear Prince Amukamara, and ex-bengal Darquese Dennard could be solutions among a still large crop.

Thomas didn’t lose much when a deal for former Ram safety Marqui Christian fell through, as it looked Like the Jets would overpay him.

The Jets’ final phase will revolve around the secondary and possibly at running back.

Jets’ fans can take some solace on Thomas’ picks on the surface. Give him a B+ for his efforts.

We won’t know until August if Thomas has aced this stage.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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