Jets right tackle Brandon Shell has a chance to earn himself a lucrative contract based on his play next season. However, he’ll first have to prove that he’s fully recovered from a knee injury. As Brian Costello of the New York Post writes, the 27-year-old underwent surgery on his left knee this past offseason.
The exact injury hasn’t been reported, but we learned back in December that it had nothing to do with the lineman’s ACL or MCL. It also sounds like the operation was a success, as Costello writes that Shell was practicing fully during OTAs and didn’t show any issues with his knee.
If Shell is indeed healthy, it’d be ideal timing. After all, the 2016 fifth-rounder is set to hit free agency following the 2019 campaign. While Shell has started 29 of his 34 career games (including 16 starts over the past two seasons), he’s now playing for a new head coach and GM. As Costello writes, 2019 will be Shell’s opportunity to show both Adam Gase and Joe Douglas that he should be considered a foundational piece of the Jets’ offensive line.
While Shell didn’t have a standout 2018 season protecting rookie Sam Darnold, he showed improvements over his 2017 season. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked Shell 56th among 80 eligible tackles, and he allowed only 1.5 sacks throughout the year. The lineman will predictably have a lot more pressure on him in 2019, as he’ll now be blocking for an All-Pro running back in Le’Veon Bell.
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