One of the NFL’s oldest active players, Al Woods has run into a rough late-career break. The Jets defensive tackle sustained an Achilles tear during the second quarter of today’s Giants matchup, per HC Robert Saleh, and will miss the rest of the season.
The well-traveled veteran has played in at least 12 games in each of the past 10 seasons, becoming a regular inside on a handful of teams. The Jets represented the latest, signing the big-bodied lineman to a one-year, $2.25MM deal this offseason.
At 36, Woods is the NFL’s second-oldest defender — behind only Calais Campbell, who was also a Jets target. (Though, he is only the third-oldest Jet, with Aaron Rodgers and Duane Brown on offense.) While Campbell trekked to Atlanta, Woods wound up in New York and moved into a regular rotational role on the Jets’ stout defense. Woods came into Sunday having played 38% of Gang Green’s defensive snaps over his five games this season. Woods finishes his season with a sack and two tackles for loss.
Woods has played in 166 games over the course of his 14-year career. He spent the past three seasons as a key run-stopping presence in Seattle. The Seahawks had extended him through 2023, but amid another defensive retool, the team moved on in March. Saleh was in Seattle as a low-level assistant during Woods’ first Pacific Northwest cameo — in 2011 — and brought him to New York weeks later. Considering his age, it is fair to wonder if this injury will end the former Seahawks, Buccaneers, Steelers, Titans and Colts interior defender’s career.
The Jets remain fairly well situated inside, despite losing Sheldon Rankins this offseason. The team added ex-Woods Seahawks teammate Quinton Jefferson to go with Quinnen Williams and Solomon Thomas. Veteran Tanzel Smart resides on New York’s practice squad.
New York also lost its starting center, Connor McGovern, to a kneecap injury. The eighth-year veteran will undergo an MRI, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes an absence is expected. Like Woods, McGovern signed this offseason. But the former Broncos draftee has been the Jets’ starting center for the past four seasons. Though, the team brought him back at a substantially reduced rate compared to the three-year, $27MM deal he signed in 2020. McGovern is playing on a one-year, $1.92MM contract. The Jets also played without second-round pick Joe Tippmann, viewed as the team’s long-term center, on Sunday.