Having placed Miller on IR, the Jets used the vacant slot to sign
recently released Carolina Panther offensive lineman Will Montgomery.
Montgomery, a product of Virginia Tech, was a seventh round draft pick
of the Panthers a year ago. He appeared in six games for the team
during the 2006 season, starting three. At the
conclusion of training camp, he had made the team's active roster.
But the Panthers spent their 2007 second round draft pick on USC center-guard
Ryan Kalil, so Montgomery's job was never truly safe.
"I don't think you're ever in the clear". Montgomery said as he
prepared for his second practice with the Jets. "I wouldn't say I was
shocked [at being released], but it's definitely something you always
need to be ready for I guess. Unless you're a previous starter in this
league, you never know what can happen."
The Jets offensive line, particularly the left guard position, has
been one of the team's most glaring weaknesses since the disgruntled
Pete Kendall was traded to Washington. A preseason competition between
rookie Jacob Bender, and third year pro Adrien Clarke, eventually
ended, anticlimactically, with Clarke earning the job.
An interesting aspect to Montgomery's game is that he has experience
playing both guard spots. He can also play center. It is his
flexibility that may have caught the eye of the Jets staff.
A source close to the Panther organization indicated that the team was
hesitant to release Montgomery, and that the move was strictly a
matter of numbers. Clarke has played decently, but if things break
right, the signing could prove to be a very savvy move from the
Mangini Tannenbaum combo.
Montgomery clearly has starting potential.