During the 2018 offseason, the New York Jets have made moves on their offensive line, as they signed Spencer Long from the Washington Redskins to be the team’s center. Even with Long’s signing, though, the Jets are doing their due diligence with another free agent center.
The Jets announced Friday via Twitter that unrestricted free agent center Travis Swanson, formerly of the Detroit Lions, visited the team on Friday. Swanson, a former third-round draft pick of the Lions in 2014, worked with quarterback Matthew Stafford, and also blocked for running backs such as Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.
Swanson has played in 53 games in four seasons with 42 career starts, but his 2017 season ended on Injured Reserve. Although the Lions called the injury a concussion, Swanson’s representatives disputed that claim. According to a report by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Swanson and his representatives have a medical note claiming that he did not actually suffer a concussion, but apparently had an adverse reaction to medicine he was given to treat concussions. They claim that Swanson’s symptoms subsided once Swanson was taken off the medication. The Lions stand by their diagnosis.
Swanson, however, does have a history of head injuries. In 2016, Swanson missed extensive time at the end of the season with an injury to his brain.
Seeking to fill the void left by Nick Mangold, the Jets addressed the center position earlier in the offseason when they signed Long away from the Redskins to the tune of a four-year, $28 million contract. Presently, the only other center on the roster is Jonotthan Harrison, who joined the Jets in 2017 from the Indianapolis Colts. Adding Swanson would help to add depth for the Jets at the position, and also give the team another starting-caliber offensive lineman.
As of the end of March, the Jets’ projected starting offensive line includes Long, Kelvin Beachum at left tackle, James Carpenter at left guard, Brian Winters at right guard, and Brandon Shell at right tackle. In addition, the team also has Harrison, Ben Braden, Brent Qvale, and Korren Kirven in reserves. In 2017, the Jets’ offensive line proved to be a significant pain point for the team, significantly in the interior. While the Jets’ O-Line struggles were overshadowed by the abysmal play of their fellow Meadowlands residents, the New York Giants, the Jets struggled to run the ball up the middle efficiently, and also gave up most of the pressures they allowed on their quarterbacks between the tackles.
Swanson, 27, played college football at the University of Arkansas.