The belief that Kelechi Osemele needs surgery does not appear to be universal at Jets headquarters. While the veteran guard said he needs to undergo a shoulder operation, the team is not in lockstep here, per Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter).
The Jets have instead cleared Osemele to play, per Costello, who adds there may be consequences coming for the former All-Pro blocker. Determining this was a pre-existing injury, and deeming it as something Osemele can play through, the Jets want him to practice on Saturday. Should this not occur, Costello adds Osemele will face discipline for conduct detrimental to the team (Twitter links). A team doctor and an independent doctor have cleared Osemele, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini.
Osemele, however, said those doctors informed him he did, in fact, need surgery for an injury suffered Aug. 5. He aggravated the injury in Week 3. The Jets believe Osemele initially suffered the injury when he was still a Raider, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. This could become a contentious situation.
“I think they just want me to play through the injury, but obviously I tried to go and I can’t go,” Osemele said Friday. “I’ve been doing everything I can and it’s just not there. I can’t control that. It’s an injury. It’s torn. So until it’s fixed, I can’t really do anything. … It’s pain; it’s strength; it’s instability. I can’t lock my arm out. I can’t stop a guy from bull-rushing me. I just can’t do my job.”
This news comes on the heels of the eighth-year guard being mentioned in trade rumors. Were Osemele to be traded, he must pass a physical. The 30-year-old lineman does not believe he would do that. This obviously hurts any trade value the high-priced blocker would have.
The Jets added Osemele via offseason trade, which Mike Maccagnan orchestrated. He is signed through 2020, still tied to the massive contract the Raiders gave him in 2016. Osemele is making $9.8MM this season and is in line for a non-guaranteed $11.3MM salary — one the Jets are unlikely to pay when it comes time to determine Osemele’s place on their 2020 team. In three starts, Osemele graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 45 overall guard, which followed an injury-plagued 2018 season that saw him fall off his Pro Bowl-caliber perch. A Joe Douglas trade acquisition, Alex Lewis has started the past two games at left guard for the Jets. He is in line to make a third start Monday against the Patriots.