It’s hard to understand how Geoff Schwartz became a journeyman guard.
Maybe it’s the injuries he’s sustained, maybe it has been age, maybe it’s something else. There have been times, such as when the Vikings released him after the 2012 NFL season, when it clearly made the line worse.
Well, since the Detroit Lions decided to join the list of teams which formerly employed Schwartz, someone else will give the savvy veteran a chance.
That someone should be the New York Jets.
Yes, they have James Carpenter and Brian Winters at guards already. However, Winters isn’t assured to stick at right guard to begin with. The fourth-year player is now a year past a bad ACL tear, and the Jets need more from him. He did well in training camp, but he needs to be consistent as we move into the season. That could be tough considering some of the teams the Jets are facing this season.
Adding Schwartz—even on the downside of a career—would give the Jets a veteran presence they could turn to if Carpenter or Winters struggled.
It would also give the Jets someone to use if either player got hurt because while the Jets do have warm bodies to throw on the line, nobody behind Winters and Carpenter is all that great.
Dakota Dozier might only make the team because he can also play tackle and center. His guard play is middling, but he’s a lunchpail guy who will work hard. That said, he also has exactly four snaps in a professional game.
Craig Watts signed a reserve-futures contract last January and while he hasn’t been awful, he hasn’t stood out either. He has even less experience than Dozier. Ditto Michael Liedtke.
Now, there are other players who could move into the slot, but on the whole, the Jets lack experience at the position.
Bringing in Schwartz gives them a veteran who can not only step in and play without a learning curve, but teach the younger guys how to be successful. While health is a concern with Schwartz (he has missed 19 games over the last two years), he’s been healthy this summer and you could use him in a rotation to limit his exposure to injury.
Again, his value isn’t just on the field for game day. It’s working with the younger guys as well.
Schwartz can also play tackle, if the need arises, though the Jets are in a little better shape at that position.
Heading into the season, the Jets offensive line appears to be better than it was in 2015. That doesn’t mean they can stand pat, though, from a depth standpoint, this team looks a bit thin, especially in the interior.
With Schwartz a free agent, and without a ton of interest, the Jets could likely get him for a song. It could be the team is waiting to see who else might get cut—we know they have a long list of players they would like to acquire after final cuts—but they shouldn’t wait long.
Some other team will grab Schwartz and soon. The Jets could really use his veteran leadership and his experience if they want to keep their offense moving and their line intact.