New York Trades for Carolina Panthers OT Jeff Otah: What It Means for the Jets

Chris Dela Rosa@chris_deezyContributor IJuly 23, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Jeff Otah #79 of the Carolina Panthers blocks against Adewale Ogunleye #93 of the Chicago Bears during the game at Bank of America Stadium on September 14, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, it was announced that the Jets worked out a deal with the Carolina Panthers to exchange an undisclosed conditional draft pick for offensive tackle Jeff Otah.

For those who don't know, Otah was Carolina's second pick in the draft after they traded up to get the Eagles first round pick.  Otah is a product of the Pittsburgh Panthers program, just like Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Otah started 12 of 16 games for the Panthers his rookie year, and then suffered an injury that prematurely ended his season.  In 2009, he started in 13 games for the Panthers.  He then missed the entire 2010 season due to a knee injury.  

Knee injuries continue to sideline Otah, and he was only able to play and start in four games last season.

As for what it means for the Jets and their offense, they have a slight improvement—for now.  

Before trading for Otah, the Jets starting right tackle was most likely going to be last year's starter (and flop) Wayne Hunter.  Hunter came in when Damien Woody suffered an injury towards the end of the 2010 season.  He played well and kept the ball rolling.  

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Entering 2011, the offensive line was not expected to miss a beat with Hunter in and Woody retired.  Instead it was the opposite, as the line dealt with an injury to their best lineman, center Nick Mangold, along with an atrocious performance from Hunter.  

By the end of the season, the Jets offensive line allowed Mark Sanchez to be sacked 39 times, a number that would have been higher if not for Sanchez's good footwork.

Now that the Jets have traded for Otah, they will have less to worry about when it comes to protecting Sanchez and Tim Tebow.

Otah is the kind of guy the Jets need to help the current offensive line.  He is the right size for his position, standing tall at 6'4" while weighing in at 340 lbs.  

While his injuries are somewhat of a concern, if Otah manages to stay healthy, he could help the Jets offensive line regain the dominance they once had.  In 2010 Sports Illustrated wrote an article discussing the Jets dominant ways on the offensive line, and that was because of the solid foundation they had as a unit.  

Otah certainly is not the best guy, but he can definitely hold his own when it comes to blocking.  He can sink his hips and extend his long arms to keep the pressure off of his quarterback, and he shows solid power at the point of attack.  

That is all the Jets are asking for from him, to stay healthy and be a productive player on the offensive line so that Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow have time to find an open receiver or so that Shonn Greene/Joe McKnight can find and hit the right holes.

As for Wayne Hunter, he will not be going anywhere.  Since the Jets have to eat the $2.45 million they guaranteed Hunter in his contract, they will keep him on the roster.  By making this trade they will have a little more depth, and at least their backup will have some skill—unlike their bust from 2010 draft Vladimir Ducasse.

This trade makes the future of the 2012 New York Jets an even brighter one.  Hopefully they can continue with the positive momentum, return to the playoffs and get over that AFC Championship Game hump. 

The third time might just be the charm.

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