He probably should have been on the bench, anyway.
The Jets were engaged in trade discussions involving Hunter with at least one NFC team, but a deal couldn’t be struck, according to sources.
Although the Jets still appear amenable to trading Hunter, the lack of depth along the offensive line may ultimately prevent them from dealing him. There is also a belief in the organization that Hunter, who will be entering his ninth season, could improve under offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s new blocking schemes.
Indecision Reigns Supreme
The Jets absolutely can't make up their mind on so many levels, as evidenced by Mike Tannenbaum's comments just weeks ago.
"We expect Wayne back," general manager Mike Tannenbaum told WFAN radio via ESPN New York. "We expect him to be our starter."
And now, they're trading him.
On the one hand, who can blame them? He had a rough go of it virtually every week. He gave up 11 sacks, and gave up at least one in half of his games according to Pro Football Focus.
On the other hand, you would like to see some week-to-week consistency on...well, anything. It seems like anything can change at the drop of a hat.
The Jets are so quick to pump their own players' tires that they oftentimes make themselves look foolish as a result. It's time they start making some decisions and sticking by them. This offseason has become a circus already.
Hunter may not have been a good starter in 2011—in fact, PFF has him graded as the fifth-worst tackle in the NFL—but Mehta points to one problem the Jets have in trading him: Who replaces him?
Vladimir Ducasse hasn't given anyone a reason to put him into the mix, and the Jets don't really have anyone else that's earned a shot to take on a starting role. There is the potential for a couple of good free agents to be available, including Chargers tackle Jared Gaither and Ravens tackle Ben Grubbs. They would go to the former if they're looking for a better pass-blocking tackle, while Grubbs would be the better option for his abilities in the running game.
They could also look to the draft, where there are a wealth of first round prospects on the offensive line. With so many needs, the Jets can't really go wrong with their first pick.
They have three pretty talented offensive linemen in tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, center Nick Mangold and guard Brandon Moore. That being said, the unit as a whole had a down year, giving up 40 sacks (ranked 20th in the NFL) and rushing for just 3.8 yards per carry (29th).
All three have shown their potential, though, and with just one addition to that group, they could get right back to the dominant group they once were. They don't need a complete overhaul, but they could sure use some help.