It shouldn't come as a surprise, but Willie Colon's tenure with the New York Jets looks as though it will end after two years, with sources telling Metro New York that the starting right guard won't be coming back.
The 31-year old Colon, signed by former Jets general manager John Idzik in 2013, has been both a vocal presence in the locker room as well as a solid veteran leader. In his first year with the Jets, Colon was an asset on the field as he helped anchor an offensive line that showed vast improvement over the year before en route to a surprising 8-8 record.
But injuries last year held Colon back. Despite the knocks, he started in all 32 games he played for the Jets, often playing through “a tremendous amount of pain, he's a warrior.
“There's a push to go younger along the offensive line,” a source told Metro. “In particular at right guard the Jets are going to want to go a different route. It isn't anything Willie did or didn't do.”
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Born and bred in the Bronx, Colon played his college football at Hofstra before becoming a fourth round selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2006 NFL Draft. He spent the entirety of his career with Pittsburgh until he returned home to New York and the Jets two years ago.
The source didn't rule out Colon perhaps being a depth signing at some point in free agency but that right now, “Willie isn't part of the Jets future.”
As for possible replacements, the source said that the Jets will actively pursue some of the bigger names in free agency at guard, including Clint Boling of the Cincinnati Bengals and James Carpenter of the Seattle Seahawks emerging as names the Jets will pursue when free agency opens on Mar. 10.
The Jets also appear interested in Denver Broncos offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, who can play guard or tackle and has an “ideal skill-set” for new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's offense.
“His versatility is going to generate some interest,” the source said. “He could be a nice fit in Chan's offense.”