Sheldon Rankins, Connor McGovern among top 100 free agents from Pro Football Focus

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By: Billy Riccette

The New York Jets are going to have key decisions to make, not just with free agents on the outside — not to mention which quarterback they will try to sign or trade for — but with their own free agents. One key free agent for the team is the running mate this past season of Quinnen Williams. We’re of course talking about defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.

Pro Football Focus recently unveiled their top 100 free agents with projected contracts and coming in at No. 63 was Rankins, who is coming off a fine season for the Jets in 2022. Rankins recorded 43 tackles and three sacks with one forced fumble in 15 games.

Rankins has 191 career tackles and 23.5 career sacks across seven seasons (two with the Jets, five with the Saints).

PFF projects Rankins’ deal to be for two years worth $12 million with $8 million guaranteed.

Rankins signed a two-year deal with the Jets after the former first-rounder’s rookie contract expired in New Orleans. He had a strong start to the 2022 season before briefly going down with an injury but returned to finish the year on a stout Jets defensive front. Rankins’ 73.1 overall grade is the second-best mark of his career, with his 33 tackles a new high watermark. Rankins is solid both as a run defender and pass rusher but isn’t special in either facet. Nevertheless, he’s a solid target this offseason as a cheaper interior defender with the top of the market set to explode to new heights.

Two offensive linemen also made the list for the Jets: No. 73 Connor McGovern and No. 97 George Fant.

McGovern will be interesting to see if the Jets decide to re-sign him. He was a top-ten center at PFF in 2022 and has been in the top half of centers over the past two seasons.

McGovern signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the New York Jets during his first go-around in free agency and will look to get as close to that number once again.

The veteran center has logged roughly 1,000 snaps in five straight seasons. His 74.7 grade over the past two years ranks 13th among centers, his 69.8 pass-blocking grade places 16th and his 76.9 run-blocking grade comes in at 13th. He offers a high floor as a solid zone run blocker and could be an asset to a team with a young quarterback.

McGovern is projected to get close to his previous contract with the Jets. PFF projects a three-year, $22.5 million deal with $12.5 million guaranteed after initially signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Jets.

As for Fant, while he did his best plugging the holes at tackle this season, the Jets may be better served letting him walk in free agency with the potential of getting Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton back and adding help via the draft. They also have Max Mitchell as a backup option.

PFF projects Fant’s contract to be for $11 million over two years with $7.25 million guaranteed.

Fant struggled with injuries and once again moved back and forth between right and left tackle, an unfortunate development after a career year in 2021 had him looking for an extension before the season began.

The seventh-year tackle earned a career-high 75.1 pass-blocking grade in 2021, playing almost exclusively at left tackle. His 3.2% pressure rate allowed the sixth-lowest among tackles on the season.

Fant will be 31 years old in 2023, and at worst he is a reliable swing tackle who has plenty of experience over the last two years on either side of the line. He just needs to get back to full health.

Originally posted on Jets Wire

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