The Jets began the free-agent frenzy by bolstering Sam Darnold’s enforcers up-front by trading for powerful Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele.
It is a good move — the Jets surrendered a fifth-round pick and acquired a sixth-rounder in the deal — because the mandate for GM Mike Maccagnan is to get Darnold to the next level and get the Jets to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 AFC Championship game.
It has a chance to be a grand-slam home run if Maccagnan can convince Le’Veon Bell to take the money and run behind this nasty Road Grader.
The money, of course, will be the determining factor, and Maccagnan has $83 million at his disposal, according to overthecap.com.
Now go get the Bell of the free-agent ball, and close that gap on the Patriots.
Bell has his detractors, and his baggage, and Maccagnan might have to lure him with a $15 million-per-year offer, but he would be the kind of weapon that would help coach Adam Gase accelerate Darnold’s development.
Front-load it knowing that Bell, 27, likely has two, maybe three elite seasons left.
Osemele, who is due to make $10.2 million and $11.7 million over the final two years of his contract, will replace James Carpenter.
He is a two-time Pro Bowler who turns 30 in June and is coming off a subpar season. His 97.6 pass-blocking efficiency from Pro Football Focus was his lowest figure since 2013.
It's time for Mike Maccagnan to deliver on plan he sold Jets
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan convinced CEO Christopher Johnson to…
The Jets were interested in him two years ago. Better late than never.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, clearing cap space only a day after breaking the bank for Antonio Brown, was asked about Osemele’s 2018 season at the NFL Scouting Combine: “Up and down a little bit, but he’s a starting left guard in the NFL, and there aren’t many guys around.”
When the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Osemele left the Ravens and signed a five-year, $58.5 million free-agent deal with the Raiders in 2016, QB Derek Carr gushed: “The first time I saw that guy, I couldn’t believe how big he was, not just how big he was because all offensive linemen are big, but that guy is jacked. … The guy is a freak of nature.”
Sounds like someone Darnold will love as a bodyguard, no?
Osemele started 51 games at three different positions on the Ravens offensive line. Former Ravens running back Justin Forsett raved about Osemele:
“He’s just one of those nasty offensive linemen. He tries to dominate every play. You’re going to see guys getting pancaked and he’s standing over them. He’s kind of that mouthpiece out there, that headhunter that you want on the offensive line.”
Sounds like someone Le’Veon Bell might enjoy running behind, no?