For the first time in more than 10 years, the Jets will have a new starting center.
The Jets released Nick Mangold on Saturday. Mangold, a Jets fixture over the last 11 seasons and one of the best offensive linemen in team history, first announced the news Saturday afternoon. The team made Mangold’s release official soon after.
For the Jets, moving on from Mangold was a yet another measure to increase their salary cap space is they prepare for free agency, which begins in less than two weeks. The team will save the entire $9.1 million Mangold was set to make in 2017 — a number that became too high after injuries plagued Mangold’s 2016 season, limiting him to only eight games.
“A great person, a great player. You could always count on Nick’s smarts, consistency and poise,” said head coach Todd Bowles. “Nick’s knowledge of the game and ability to quickly process information made him an invaluable resource to his teammates. He will always mean a lot to everyone in this organization.”
Wesley Johnson, a fourth-year pro who started all eight games Mangold during his injury, could be the replacement. He’s started only nine games in his career. The Jets could also draft a new starting center — they have the sixth overall pick in April’s draft.
Mangold will be remembered as one of the best offensive linemen in Jets history. The Jets drafted Mangold out of Ohio State in 2006 with the 29th overall pick. And for the first 10 years of his career, he was one of the best centers in football and one of the most durable; Mangold missed only four games in his first 10 seasons.
“For the past 11 years, Nick Mangold has been a cornerstone of our team both on and off the field,” Jets owner Woody Johnson said ina statement. “As our Pro Bowl center, Nick consistently…