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Surrounding Sam: 9 Offensive Line Free Agency Candidates

Center, Guard & Tackle Options for Jets When UFA Signing Period Kicks Off


General manager Mike Maccagnan said right up top this offseason that the Jets "definitely are excited about the idea of putting players around Sam."

That's Sam Darnold, of course, and the pieces would include not only skill players but players in the trenches to keep the now second-year QB upright and enable him to continue making progress in leaps and bounds.

A good number of the Jets' 25 free agents-to-be are on the offensive line. James Carpenter, the steady four-year starter at left guard, can become unrestricted. So can Jonotthan Harrison, who started eight of the last nine games last year at center. So can key backups and plug-in starters Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier and Ben Ijalana.

"We'll get a good core of our guys back," Maccagnan said, and that could include some of the above names. But also in the mix are some names from the unrestricted free agency pool, where several good options (but not many Pro Bowl berths) abound. Here are nine free agent line candidates (seven UFAs and two already on the street) for the Green & White to consider adding to their offense:

Trent Brown:
After 32 games and 28 starts at RT for San Francisco, the mammoth Brown (6'8", 355) was a trade acquisition by the Patriots and for one year did a strong job of protecting Tom Brady's blind side for 19 games. With Isaiah Wynn, last year's No. 1 pick, coming back from an Achilles injury, Brown is on the UFA market.

Ja'Wuan James: Would Adam Gase want to reunite with his right tackle for 39 starts the past three seasons in Miami? James (6'6", 307) in fact has 62 starts since becoming the Dolphins' 19th overall pick of the 2014 draft, although he's alternated healthy seasons with half-seasons in '15 (toe) and '17 (groin/hamstring).

Daryl Williams: Williams (6'6", 330) was a fourth-round pick by Carolina out of Oklahoma in 2015. He battled injuries and built his profile up to 16 starts at RT in 2017, then started last year's opener but went on IR with a right knee injury.

Rodger Saffold:
Saffold (6'5", 325) is a nine-year Ram, from the time St. Louis drafted him as a LT in the second round of the 2010 draft through three seasons as their starting LG including February's Super Bowl. He turns 31 in June but he's durable with 36 starts the last three years since missing time with a shoulder injury in '15, and he's the athletic type of G said to be ideal for a moving pocket.

Quinton Spain: With Pittsburgh re-signing Ramon Foster on Thursday, Spain (6'4", 330) could pop up on the Jets' guard radar. He's started 42 games the past three seasons at LG for the Titans and Marcus Mariota, and he'll turn 28 early in training camp.

Mike Iupati: A former first-round pick, 17th overall, by San Francisco in 2010, Iupati went on to play in three Pro Bowls for the 49ers and one more for the Cardinals in '15. Injuries ended his seasons in '17 (triceps) and '18 (knee) and his deal with the Cards voided early last month so he's on the street.

Matt Paradis:
Steady upward progress. In 2014 Paradis (6'3", 300) was a sixth-round pick who spent the year on Denver's practice squad. In '15, on a reserve/future deal, he was named the Broncos' starting C and went on to start all 48 games from 2015-17. Last year as an RFA, he received a second-round tender from Denver, started the first nine games, then went on IR with a broken leg.

Mitch Morse: Kansas City's Round 2 pick in 2015, Morse (6'6', 305) has been a four-year starter for the Chiefs, through last year's two playoff games snapping to Patrick Mahomes. But he's been limited to 18 starts the last two seasons, due to a foot injury in '17 and a concussion last year.

John Sullivan: Sullivan (6'4", 310), the former Connecticut high schooler and Notre Damer, enters his 11th NFL season. He lined up next to Saffold and snapped to Jared Goff for all 19 games last season. But the Rams, who signed Sully to a two-year UFA deal before the '17 season, didn't pick up his option. They may want to re-sign him at a lower pricetag, but he's a street free agent now.

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