It’s always better to be proactive than reactive.
The Jets hope that their proactive approach to their offensive line will better what is already considered to be one of the best units in the league. After drafting UMass offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse in the second round (61st overall), sources say that Gang Green will be dropping 13-year veteran Alan Faneca.
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to Jet fans, as the front office has been trying to trade the 9-time Pro Bowl guard for several weeks now, but haven’t found any suitors. The Jets see Faneca’s age (soon to be 33), ballooning salary ($7.5 million) and a drop off of his skill set as signs that set off red flags. The LSU alum helped anchor the Jets O-line while signing a 5-year, $40 million contract in 2008. Certainly there are concerns about breaking up a unit that worked so well together, but wasn’t AC/DC that much better with Brian Johnson on the mic?
After enjoying a splendid career with the Steelers, Faneca was instrumental in the maturation of young guards Ferguson and Mangold, however don’t forget that football is a business. And in the NFL, you’re only as good as the years you have left.
When asked last night what the fate of Faneca will be this season, GM Mike Tannenbaum said, “All those questions are hypothetical. All I can say is, I feel really good things about Alan and what he’s done for us. I know there’s a lot of speculation, but that’s typically what happens on a weekend like this.”
Ducasse will get a chance to compete immediately at left guard. He’ll compete against veteran backups Rob Turner and Matt Slauson. If Ducasse progresses well in 2010, the Jets may look to move him out to right tackle—taking over for aging veteran Damien Woody, 33.
The Jets will be on the hook for $5.25 million due to the guaranteed money in Faneca’s contract.