Billy Turner

NFL Injury Updates: Higgins, Turner, Palmer, Saints, Jones

The Bengals will be without their second leading receiver for their Week 10 matchup against the Texans. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Tee Higgins will miss Sunday’s game after injuring his hamstring in practice on Wednesday. He will reportedly continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

Partially due to the early struggles of quarterback Joe Burrow, Higgins is off to the worst start of his career this season. After averaging 1,009.33 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons, Higgins is currently on track to finish the season with only 703 yards. Hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger, as well, threatening to take even more away from Higgins this year.

Leading wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been limited this week with a back injury and is currently listed as questionable. Should he play, though, he will be joined by Tyler Boyd, Trenton Irwin, and sixth-round rookie Andrei Iosivas. With Higgins out, tight end Irv Smith may, too, continue to see an increased role in the Bengals’ passing gameplan.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the NFL:

  • The Jets will be without yet another offensive lineman this week as backup lineman Billy Turner will miss Sunday’s game in Las Vegas, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. Turner suffered a “concerning” broken bone in his hand during his first start of the season last week that head coach Robert Saleh disclosed had required surgery. Turner was starting in place of injured right guard Connor McGovern, who was placed on injured reserve before last week’s game with a dislocated knee cap. With all the current injuries on the offensive line, New York only has three linemen on the active roster – Chris Glaser, Dennis Kelly, and Carter Warren – that it can turn to as a replacement starter this weekend. They also have Jake Hanson, Xavier Newman, and Rodger Saffold, who should be available off the practice squad. Saffold and Hanson are recent signings who may have been brought in to assist with the team’s plague of injuries on the offensive front.
  • Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer was placed on IR earlier this week without much word on the specifics of what was being called a knee injury. Daniel Popper of The Athletic provided an update on Wednesday that Palmer is dealing with a knee sprain. Popper’s report comes from head coach Brandon Staley, who relayed that Palmer will obviously be out for the next four weeks, the minimum required on IR, but he has “no expectations” after that. They will simply have to reassess once Palmer is eligible to return.
  • Two Saints rookies suffered injuries this past Sunday. Defensive end Isaiah Foskey suffered “a low-grade quad strain,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Foskey’s absence, as a rotational lineman, will open the door for more potential snaps for either Tanoh Kpassagnon or Kyle Phillips, who was signed to the active roster weeks ago but has yet to make his season debut. Foskey is expected to miss a week or two, but the injury isn’t considered serious. Running back Kendre Miller was the other Saints rookie to suffer an injury, spraining his ankle against Chicago last week, per Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. He hasn’t participated in practice all week and will also be out this Sunday. It’s unclear whether or not his injury will linger to hold him out for much longer. Miller’s usage has decreased significantly since the return of Jamaal Williams, but with Eno Benjamin on IR, the team may feel the need to elevate practice squad running back Jordan Mims to back up Williams and Alvin Kamara.
  • The Browns will be down three offensive tackles for this weekend’s trip to Baltimore. According to Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald and Morning Journal, rookie fourth-round tackle Dawand Jones has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Starting tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills both currently reside on IR, Conklin since Week 1 and Wills just this past week. Jones had been starting across from Wills in place of Conklin. With Wills and Jones out next week, Cleveland will have to start two fresh faces at offensive tackle. Schudel reports that James Hudson III is expected to start at right tackle. Starting left guard Joel Bitonio is expected to slide out to serve as a left tackle. Backup center Nick Harris will get an opportunity to start in Bitonio’s place at left guard. A beleaguered offensive line will face a significant challenge with three new starters in new positions against a Ravens defense that leads the league in sacks.

OL Rumors: Steelers, 49ers, Jets, Fins, Pugh

The Steelers may have executed a permanent switch at right tackle, and Chukwuma Okorafor believes it came because of comments he made near the end of the team’s Week 8 loss to the Jaguars. Pittsburgh benched Okorafor for its Thursday-night game against Tennessee, moving first-round pick Broderick Jones into the lineup. Okorafor said (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko) the Steelers benched him because he was “acting out” toward the end of the Pittsburgh-Jacksonville game. Mike Tomlin said (via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly) Jones was deserving of an opportunity and helped the Steelers “provide a spark.”

Signed to a three-year, $29.25MM deal in 2022, Okorafor has been the Steelers’ starting right tackle since 2020. The team drafted Jones with the intent on making him its future left tackle, but a configuration in which left tackle Dan Moore moved to the right side to accommodate the rookie was floated as the more likely scenario this offseason. Since the Week 9 change, Jones and Okorafor said (via Kaboly and the Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac) they expect the Moore-Jones starting duo to remain due to Jones receiving the first-team reps this week. The Steelers’ depth chart lists Jones as the RT starter, though the Georgia product said he would prefer to play left tackle, where he lined up for the SEC powerhouse. Okorafor believes what he said has resulted in “significant” ramifications but maintains his benching was not performance-based, creating an interesting storyline to follow in Pittsburgh.

Here are some O-line subplots from elsewhere around the NFL:

  • Missing the past two games with an ankle injury, Trent Williams returned to a limited practice Thursday. Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers‘ All-Pro left tackle has dealt with more than a low ankle sprain, via’s David Bonilla. The 49ers lost both the games Williams missed, after dropping from the unbeaten ranks — in Cleveland — following Williams’ injury-driven exit in Week 6. A limited practice represents a good sign for Williams’ Week 10 availability and San Francisco’s offensive capabilities.
  • The Jets may soon be without yet another offensive lineman. Robert Saleh described Billy Turner as encountering a “concerning” injury, and’s Ian Rapoport notes the veteran blocker suffered a broken bone in his hand. This will leave Turner’s status uncertain for the Jets’ Week 10 tilt. Turner has not practiced this week, pointing to an absence. The Jets have turned to Turner at guard in the wake of Connor McGovern and Wes Schweitzer‘s IR trips. The team is likely to have Duane Brown back, however; the 38-year-old tackle — who remains on IR — has practiced fully this week. Saleh recently pointed to Brown’s return kicking Mekhi Becton back to right tackle.
  • Although left tackle Terron Armstead came off IR in time to face the Chiefs, the Dolphins played their Germany game without both starting guards. Isaiah Wynn is on IR with a potential season-ending injury, and Robert Hunt missed the game because of a hamstring ailment. Wynn fill-in Robert Jones also left the game, due to a hyperextended knee. While Mike McDaniel said Jones does not need surgery, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson notes Lester Cotton and 2022 left guard starter Liam Eichenberg are set to vie for the starting role before the Dolphins return to action in Week 11. A third-year UDFA who made his first career start in Week 9, Jones is likely to miss some time, per McDaniel.
  • Justin Pugh signed a one-year, $1.43MM deal to rejoin the Giants last month. Pugh’s second Giants contract includes an incentive package worth $2.1MM, he revealed on his NetWorth Podcast (via the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard). Pugh can earn part of that $2.1MM by hitting the 50%, 70% and 90% playing-time thresholds from the point he debuted (Week 6). Despite the October arrival, Pugh has started — at both guard and tackle — in each of the four games in which he has played this season.

Mekhi Becton Wins Jets’ RT Job

AUGUST 27: Becton has indeed won the starting RT job. Saleh made the announcement to reporters, including Connor Hughes of, following the Jets’ preseason victory over the Giants last night.

“He’s doing all of the right stuff,” Saleh said of Becton (via Eric Edholm of “He has a lot of energy. He’s speaking the right language. He has a lot of positive self-talk. He’s in the training room every day working on that knee and making sure that it’s always fresh and ready to roll. He just has to stay on it and he can’t get complacent with where he’s at now. He has a lot to play for. He has gotten better every single day. He has gotten more confident in his knee.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also spoke positively of Becton’s performance in the game itself (via Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network).

September 11, the date of the Jets’ Week 1 matchup with the Bills, will be almost two years to the day since Becton last appeared in a regular season game.

AUGUST 22: Mekhi Becton‘s gradual return to first-string duty will lead to a preseason start. The former first-round pick has spent most of the Jets’ training camp as a backup, but Robert Saleh said (via’s Rich Cimini) he will start at right tackle in the team’s preseason finale.

While teams often sit starters in their final preseason tilts, Aaron Rodgers will make his Jets debut in this one. Becton being summoned for a start points to the Jets giving serious consideration to the fourth-year veteran making a long-delayed return to the starting lineup.

Duane Brown remains on track — tentatively, at least — to reprise his role as the Jets’ left tackle. Brown is visiting a specialist in Houston on Tuesday, and The Athletic’s Dianna Russini notes the expectation is the 16th-year blocker could be activated off the active/PUP list as soon as today (Twitter link). Brown, 37, is in the final stages of his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. While Brown taking this long to return from an early-offseason procedure probably should set off alarm bells, the Jets have shown faith in the former Pro Bowler, who is tied to a two-year deal worth $20MM.

Brown only came to New York after Becton’s second major knee injury. Becton said his move to right tackle — to accommodate George Fant ahead of Gang Green’s 2022 training camp — played a significant role in the reinjury, placing blame on the Jets’ coaching staff for moving him from his natural left tackle position. But Becton has warmed up to the idea of returning to the right side. And the Jets have been proceeding cautiously with Becton during camp.

He only practiced at the position for the first time Thursday; that work preceded a 25-snap cameo against the Buccaneers last weekend. Becton’s agent told Cimini the Jets have limited Becton’s reps and workout time as he ramps back up from his second season-ending injury. This protocol included a delay in playing right tackle, which places more stress on Becton’s surgically repaired right knee. Doctors advised Becton to avoid right tackle early in camp, per Cimini, for this reason. But Becton’s agent said his client has been cleared to play this position again.

Becton has certainly not been a low-maintenance player since the Jets drafted him, and questions abound regarding his ability to hold up at either tackle post once the regular season begins. This has led to frequent concerns about the Jets’ batch of tackles, a group that also includes free agent pickup Billy Turner and 2022 fourth-round pick Max Mitchell. Neither player seizing the RT job opens the door for Becton to play opposite Brown in Week 1. At this point, Becton should probably be considered the favorite for the gig,’s Albert Breer adds. That said, Becton has not played right tackle in a regular-season game.

Elsewhere on the Jets’ offensive front, Connor McGovern still has the lead for the starting center role. The recently re-signed blocker, who manned this spot from 2020-22, will likely keep the job for Week 1, per Breer. The Jets drafted Joe Tippmann and gave interior O-lineman Wes Schweitzer more money than McGovern this offseason. But Schweitzer has played both center and guard during camp, potentially being groomed for a swing backup role. The Jets being open to moving Alijah Vera-Tucker back to right tackle — in the event the risky Brown-Becton plan does not hold up — could also open up a guard spot for Schweitzer.

Latest On Mekhi Becton, Jets’ Offensive Line

As the Jets’ months-long issue along the offensive line moves into the mainstream, via a brief Hard Knocks segment, the team still has not turned to Mekhi Becton as a first-stringer during training camp.

After showing promise as a rookie, Becton saw extensive injury troubles and weight issues sidetrack his career. The 2020 first-round pick has not played since Week 1 of the 2021 season, but he lost around 50 pounds this offseason. Becton criticized the Jets’ coaching staff for moving him to right tackle last year, a switch he believes led to his knee reinjury. But the talented blocker is now believed to be onboard with playing on the right side. The Jets are trying Becton at right tackle Thursday, Rich Cimini of tweets, marking the first time that has taken place during this year’s camp.

The Jets still have not used Becton as a first-stringer this year. Despite Duane Brown remaining on Gang Green’s active/PUP list, Becton has worked behind Billy Turner and Max Mitchell at tackle. Even as the team’s depleted front has struggled in joint practices with the Panthers and Buccaneers, Saleh is waiting on giving Becton extended run.

The biggest thing for Mekhi is to show that he can play a game without having to be spelled out,” Robert Saleh said, via the New York Post’s Brian Costello. “It’s unfair to the team to prepare a guy to start if you are not sure he can make it through a game. He is moving in the right direction.”

While Becton brings a much higher ceiling compared to Turner and Mitchell, his injury baggage is among the most extensive in recent NFL history. Missing nearly two full seasons, Becton also missed practice time earlier in camp and asked out of the Jets’ Hall of Fame Game. He did return to play 27 snaps against the Panthers last weekend, marking a good sign. The Jets may soon have no choice but to bump Becton into their starting lineup, given the state of their line. But Saleh continues to proceed cautiously.

As injuries mounted last season, the Jets shifted emerging guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to right tackle. The 2021 first-rounder suffered a season-ending triceps injury while at that position, but the team returned him to guard this offseason. The team is again considering Vera-Tucker at tackle, Saleh said (via Costello), though the third-year HC reminded that the team loves the USC alum at guard. Vera-Tucker has also missed recent time due to injury, along with the Jets’ other guard starter — Laken Tomlinson. Neither practiced against the Bucs on Wednesday.

Should the Jets try a “best five” scenario in Week 1, Cimini offers that Wes Schweitzer — who is competing with Connor McGovern at center — could be shifted to guard as Vera-Tucker slides back to right tackle. Although Schweitzer is competing at center, the ex-Atlanta and Washington starter has extensive guard experience. He started at right guard against Carolina last weekend. The Jets also have second-round rookie Joe Tippmann in the mix, rounding out a deep O-line interior on a team that has faced tackle questions for months.

While Saleh has said Vera-Tucker has All-Pro potential at guard, urgency to place a competent line in front of Aaron Rodgers may supersede the team’s long-term plan for the third-year blocker. As for Brown, Saleh said the team’s preferred left tackle option is moving closer to a return from offseason shoulder surgery.

Latest On Jets’ Center, Tackle Competitions

Despite serving as a capable starting center for the last four years, Connor McGovern — who just completed a three-year, $27MM deal that he signed with the Jets in 2020 — did not find much of a market for his services this offseason. In April, McGovern signed a modest one-year, $1.92MM contract to remain with New York, and he watched the team draft Wisconsin snapper Joe Tippmann several days later.

While Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic (subscription required) recently reported that McGovern will get every chance to retain his starting job, he ultimately believes the club will hand the reins over to Tippmann for the start of the regular season. Rich Cimini of likewise believes McGovern is merely an “insurance policy” for the rookie. 

In the eyes of Pro Football Focus, McGovern finished as the 10th-best center out of 36 qualifiers in 2022, with solid scores for both his pass-blocking and run-blocking. PFF was similarly high on the Missouri product in 2021, but Gang Green clearly believed an upgrade was in order. As Cimini notes, McGovern ranked near the bottom of the league in ESPN’s pass- and run-block win rate metrics, and as the Jets are eyeing a deep playoff push, they are obviously trying to field the best lineup possible and will not give McGovern a boost because of his tenure with the team or the locker room respect that he enjoys.

Whichever player wins the right to snap the ball to Aaron Rodgers will be sandwiched by Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker at the guard positions. As Jets fans know all too well, however, there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the OT slots.

Mekhi Becton, a former first-rounder who was initially drafted to be the team’s franchise left tackle, has been plagued by knee injuries and conditioning problems, and after playing in Week 1 of the 2021 season, he has missed the last 33 games. Becton has lost a signficiant amount of weight in an effort to get his career back on track, and he has made it clear that he wants to return to the blindside. But recent reporting suggests that veteran Duane Brown — who has five Pro Bowls on his resume and who signed with New York last August when it becamse clear that Becton would miss the entire 2022 campaign — has the inside track to remain in that role.

The problem is that Brown is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and is presently unable to practice. That would seem to open the door for Becton to at least narrow the gap between himself and Brown on the left tackle depth chart, but as Brian Costello of the New York Post recently tweeted, Becton is currently taking LT reps with the second team, while free agent addition Billy Turner is working with the first-stringers. Connor Hughes of, meanwhile, says Becton is not a full participant just yet (Twitter link).

The fact that the Jets are taking it easy with Becton does not necessarily mean that he has suffered some sort of setback; at this point, any sort of participation on his part is encouraging. Still, it appears that the only way in which Becton will open the season as the starting left tackle is if Brown is unable to play, so Becton’s quickest path to a starting gig may be at right tackle (much to his chagrin). Turner, who worked under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Green Bay and Denver, will also be in the mix for that job, and Rosenblatt believes Turner will be the team’s Week 1 RT, with Becton or 2022 fourth-rounder Max Mitchell getting the nod later on.

Jets Rumors: Restructures, Williams, McDonald, Johnson

The Jets were recently able to create an impressive $12.7MM of cap space by reworking defensive end Carl Lawson‘s contract. The team may not be done there, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, as there are a few more veterans with lofty salaries in 2023.

After reducing Lawson’s cap hit for the year, five Jets have cap hits over $10MM for the upcoming season: linebacker C.J. Mosley ($21.48MM), left tackle Duane Brown ($11.28MM), wide receiver Corey Davis ($11.17MM), left guard Laken Tomlinson ($10.88MM), and safety Jordan Whitehead ($10.23MM).

Mosley, Brown, and Davis make the most sense for potential further restructures, not just because they have the highest cap hits, but also because they all have salaries over $9MM next season. Mosley has the highest base salary for 2023 at $17MM, while Davis is at $10.5MM and Brown is at $9MM. The bigger base salary gives them a larger amount that they are able to convert into a signing bonus in order to reduce salary cap numbers.

Here are a few more rumors concerning Gang Green:

  • Another player with a high salary and cap hit, as his fifth-year option gives him an amount for both of $9.59MM, Quinnen Williams has been the source of much stress for New York. While head coach Robert Saleh is fairly unconcerned about the situation, expecting a deal to get done, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN, the drama was only exacerbated with Williams made an adjustment to his Twitter bio earlier this week, writing, “Defensive tackle for ……………….” Many around the league are worried the situation could devolve into one resembling that of Jamal Adams, who general manager Joe Douglas had planned to make a “Jet for life” before trading him to Seattle weeks later.
  • The Jets used a first-round pick on Iowa State outside linebacker Will McDonald back in April. It puzzled some as it looked like the continuation of a number of early draft investments New York has made at pass rusher. Some wondered if they maybe planned to use McDonald as more of a complete linebacker, but according to Cimini, the Jets plan to use McDonald at defensive end. Considered to be arguably the draft’s best pass rushing prospect, McDonald will compete with recent high draft pick Jermaine Johnson and John Franklin-Myers for snaps across from Carl Lawson.
  • It was a bit of a shock last month when New York released running back Ty Johnson with a non-football injury designation just over a month after re-signing him. Johnson took to Instagram today to provide some emotional insight on the situation. According to Johnson, after tearing a pectoral muscle in a workout away from the team, Johnson was told by the Jets’ team doctor to undergo surgery. When he returned to the facility after the procedure, he was told he no longer had a spot on the roster. The Jets return a hopefully fully healthy Breece Hall, Michael Carter, and Zonovan Knight and added Pitt running back Israel Abanikanda in the fourth round of the draft.
  • New York signed former Packer Billy Turner earlier this month to help solidify their depth at offensive tackle. Thanks to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, we’ve got a few more details on the deal. The one-year contract has a base salary of only $1.35MM with $1MM of it guaranteed. Turner can more than double that amount if he ends up active and playing next year. He’ll receive a per game active roster bonus of $17,647 for a potential season total of $300K. The deal also includes a playing time incentive that will pay him $1.5MM if he plays 75 percent or more of the team’s offensive snaps.
  • Cimini was able to provide us with details on defensive tackle Al Woods‘s recent signing, as well. The one-year deal worth $2.25MM has a base salary of $1.24MM ($500K of it guaranteed) with a $500K signing bonus. Woods will also receive a per game active roster bonus, his worth $30K for a potential season total of $510K.

Jets Rumors: OL, Rodgers, Hennessy, Brownlee, Duvernay-Tardif

The Jets landed a gamechanger at quarterback this spring, and now it’s up to them to figure out how to protect him. Head coach Robert Saleh made sure to communicate that the plan is to play the five best linemen, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post, clarifying that the center and tackle spots, specifically, will be open for competition.

The guard spots are presumably safe. Despite a down year for Laken Tomlinson, the Jets signed him to a three-year deal last year to start at guard. After an admirable rookie year as a starter, Alijah Vera-Tucker put together a strong start to his sophomore season last year, even being forced into playing tackle due to injuries before a torn triceps injury of his own sidelined him for the rest of the year. Confirming earlier reports, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post recently reported that Vera-Tucker is still on track to return from his injury by training camp.

At tackle, Mekhi Becton is also slated to return in time for training camp after missing all but one game of last season due to an avulsion fracture of his right knee. Duane Brown mostly held down the left tackle position while right tackle was mostly handled by Vera-Tucker, Max Mitchell, and George Fant. Fant departed as a free agent, but the team brought in veteran tackle Billy Turner from Denver who can compete for the position, as well.

At center, Connor McGovern has handled starting duties in New York for the last three years, grading out as a top 10 center in the league in each of the past two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Jets only re-signed McGovern to a one-year contract, though, so it may not be so surprising that his job is open for competition. That point was further dictated by New York drafting one of the top center prospects in the draft, Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann, in the second round as the first center off the board. Despite McGovern’s recent years of success, Tippmann may represent the future at the position for the Jets.

Here are a few more rumors surrounding Gang Green this offseason:

  • Speaking of the Aaron Rodgers acquisition, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer indicated that Rodgers playing two more years was reportedly a big part of the team’s discussions with him before the trade. That supposed dedication was only reinforced when Rodgers claimed that he would participate in offseason workouts. Many veterans don’t feel the need to attend such workouts, but considering Rodgers is new to the facility, NBC Sports’ Mike Florio’s report that he plans on being present for “more than half” of the remaining offseason workouts is encouraging for Jets fans.
  • New York recently re-signed long snapper Thomas Hennessy to a four-year extension. The new deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a value of $5.97MM. The deal has a guaranteed amount of $1.96MM consisting of an $875K signing bonus and Hennessy’s first year base salary of $1.08MM. $670K of his 2024 salary is guaranteed for injury at signing, and the rest of the $1.21MM will become fully guaranteed on the fifth league day of the 2024 season. He’s set for base salaries of $1.26MM in 2025, $1.3MM in 2026, and $1.35MM in 2027, but the contract has a potential out built in after this season that would allow the Jets to cut Hennessy after this year with only $700K of dead cap.
  • The Jets recently included Southern Mississippi wide receiver Jason Brownlee in their group of undrafted free agents. New York was clearly eager to ink Brownlee, giving the rookie a $246K guarantee, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. That amount is the equivalent of the guarantee given to a low fifth-round pick.
  • With all their offensive line suffering so many injuries last year, the Jets were happy to have the help of veteran Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Now, with his contract expired, Duvernay-Tardif may have set his sights past football. The medical school graduate has been spinning several plates since the season ended, working shifts in the emergency department of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, starting a Masters of Public Health program at Harvard, and promoting a French skin care brand. Still, while Duvernay-Tardif maintains that medicine is still his future, he hasn’t committed to retiring claiming that he’s still in shape “if the phone rings in October.”

Jets To Sign OL Billy Turner

5:55pm: The Turner-Hackett partnership will continue to a third city. After today’s meeting, Tom Pelissero of reports (on Twitter) the Jets are signing the veteran tackle. Turner agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3.15MM. These are roughly the same terms as Turner’s 2022 Broncos deal. With Turner believed to be healthy after a knee injury last season, he will supply the Jets with a scheme-familiar option at tackle.

4:16pm: Billy Turner followed Nathaniel Hackett from Green Bay to Denver in 2022. With the Broncos moving in a different direction at right tackle, the veteran may have an opportunity land with Hackett’s next team.

The Jets are meeting with Turner on Monday, Field Yates of tweets. Turner has played the past four seasons under Hackett and is obviously familiar with the system the new Jets OC will use. While the Jets were connected to first-round tackles ahead of the draft, other teams pouncing on the class’ top blockers led to the AFC East team making other plans at the position.

The Cardinals (Paris Johnson), Bears (Darnell Wright) and Titans (Peter Skoronski) made O-line choices between the Nos. 6 and 11 overall picks, and the Patriots dealt No. 14 overall to the Steelers, who brought in Broderick Jones. The Jets had held the No. 13 overall pick until last week but moved back two spots in the Aaron Rodgers trade. As a result, the team just missed out on Round 1 tackle real estate. Rather than take Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison, whom the Jaguars ended up choosing later in Round 1, the Jets drafted Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald.

Although the Jets did address their tackle spot later — via a fourth-round pickup of Carter Warren — they exited the draft with similar questions. The team has 2020 first-rounder Mekhi Becton under contract, but the once-promising blocker has only played one game over the past two years. Duane Brown is coming off surgery and going into his age-38 season, while 2022 fourth-round pick Max Mitchell saw a blood-clot issue shut him down late last season. Mitchell is back in the fold, but the Jets have uncertainty at both tackle spots. Veteran Cedric Ogbuehi, one of the Jets’ emergency options during an injury-riddled season at this position last season, also re-signed last month.

While the Packers cut bait on Turner’s four-year deal in 2022, Hackett brought him back to Denver on a one-year contract. The multi-stint Broncos starter battled injury trouble last season, being one of a few Denver O-linemen to go down, but was viewed as the team’s optimal right tackle starter. Favored to win the job out of training camp, Turner instead needed more recovery time and did not make his first-string debut until Week 7. Another knee injury sidelined Turner in November and limited him to eight games (seven starts) last season. Pro Football Focus rated Turner as a top-50 option at tackle in each of his three Packers slates but did not view his injury-limited Broncos season as well, slotting the North Dakota State alum 70th at the position last season.

The Broncos, who have battled rampant right tackle issues over the past decade, signed Mike McGlinchey to a big-ticket deal. Turner is not in the team’s plans but said last month he is 100%. Turner, 31, played both tackle spots and worked at guard during his three-year Green Bay run. The former Dolphins third-round pick has made 61 starts over the past four seasons. Given his ties to Hackett, Turner reuniting with he and Rodgers would make sense for the Jets. Three-year Jets starter George Fant remains a free agent.

AFC West Notes: JuJu, Chargers, Broncos

After two years of low-level deals in free agency, J.J. Smith-Schuster finally cashed in via his Patriots pact. The seventh-year wide receiver signed a three-year, $25.5MM deal that came with $16MM fully guaranteed. The Pats guaranteed Smith-Schuster exactly what the Raiders locked in for Jakobi Meyers, and they will expect upper-echelon performance. Smith-Schuster, 26, increased his market through his 78-reception, 933-yard Chiefs season, becoming the Super Bowl champions’ top Tyreek Hill replacement. Smith-Schuster wanted to stay in Kansas City, and the Chiefs aimed to keep him. While Andy Reid confirmed the sides discussed a deal all the way up to the Patriots agreement, the Chiefs are going with lower-cost options at receiver presently.

You’ve got to manage all the cap stuff. We couldn’t give him what they gave him,” Reid said, via the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, of matching the Patriots’ offer. “We talked all the way through it. It’s good for him; he deserves that opportunity.”

The Chiefs have been connected to both Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins, but the OBJ path is now closed after the Ravens handed the injury-prone receiver a surprising $15MM guaranteed. Kansas City is planning bigger roles for Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore, and the team has Marquez Valdes-Scantling attached to what is now a pay-as-you-go contract. Valdes-Scantling’s deal runs through 2024. Here is the latest from the rest of the AFC West:

  • While the Chiefs may be looking to add a piece at receiver in the draft, the Chargers appear ready to add an early-round target. The Bolts are believed to be looking for pass-catching help early in the draft, Jordan Reid of notes. Holding the No. 21 overall pick, the Chargers are coming off a season in which Keenan Allen and Mike Williams both missed extended stretches. While Tom Telesco pushed back against an Allen trade, the Pro Bowler is going into his age-31 season. The Chargers still roster Josh Palmer as a WR3, while DeAndre Carter signed with the Raiders. The Bolts, who have deep threat Jalen Guyton coming off an ACL tear, are seeking perimeter speed, per Reid, who adds Jordan Addison could be a name to watch. Chargers wideouts coach Chris Beatty recruited Addison while at Pitt.
  • The Broncos appear to have four locked-in starters on their offensive line, having signed Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers to go with left tackle Garett Bolles and guard Quinn Meinerz. Center Lloyd Cushenberry has struggled during his Denver tenure and is going into a contract year after an injury-plagued 2022. The Broncos are doing work on centers ahead of this draft, Reid adds. The team holds the Nos. 67 and 68 overall picks. Beyond top center John Michael Schmitz, ESPN’s Scouts Inc. views second- and third-ranked centers Olusegun Oluwatimi (Michigan) and Luke Wypler (Ohio State) as third-round-caliber snappers.
  • One of the Broncos’ stopgap O-line solutions last year, Billy Turner, is not expected back with the team. Turner, whom the Broncos used at right tackle in 2022, told the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson he is not in the team’s 2023 plans (Twitter link). Turner, 31, has enjoyed two Denver stints but followed Nathaniel Hackett over from Green Bay last year. The nine-year veteran said he is 100% after knee trouble limited him last season.
  • Broncos cornerback Faion Hicks was arrested earlier this month for carrying a concealed firearm, Mike Klis of 9News notes. This is a third-degree felony charge; the arrest occurred in Hallandale, Florida. Hicks is free on bond. The Broncos drafted Hicks in the 2022 seventh round; he saw action in only two games and did not play a defensive snap.

Broncos Activate OLB Randy Gregory, RT Billy Turner

Week 15 will mark the return date for one key Broncos player on each side of the ball. The team announced on Saturday that edge rusher Randy Gregory and right tackle Billy Turner have been activated from IR.

[RELATED: Broncos Place Dre’Mont Jones On IR]

The move comes as little surprise, since the pair were designated for return earlier this week. That opened up their respective 21-day windows to be activated, and will allow them to play a role in the closing stages of what has been a lost season in the Mile High City.

Gregory’s arrival in Denver was a main talking point in the offseason, after he signed with the Broncos on a five-year, $70MM deal. That, in turn, came after a contract of identical length and value which would have kept him with the Cowboys fell through, something which greatly affected his former team’s outlook on the position during the spring. He was able to get healthy in time for the beginning of his first campaign with the Broncos.

That stretch lasted less than four full games, however, as the 30-year-old suffered a knee injury against the Raiders in early October. He has been sidelined ever since, interrupting what had been a promising start to his Broncos career; Gregory notched two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in the early portion of the season. The team’s defense has remained elite in several categories in his absence, though a return to the form he showed in the fall would provide a significant boost to a Denver edge rush which ranks mid-pack in sacks and no longer includes Bradley Chubb.

Turner, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury of his own in November, and was expected to miss considerable time as a result of it. His absence further compounded the myriad injuries Denver has dealt with along the offensive line in general, and the right tackle position in particular. Cameron Fleming has occupied that spot in Turner’s absence, and head coach Nathaniel Hackett said yesterday that a decision has not been made whether it will be he or Calvin Anderson manning the blindside with Turner back in his familiar RT role. A pending free agent, the latter would be well-suited to have a healthy and effective close to the season.