Connor McGovern embracing challenge of Jets’ wide-open center battle

There’s no question who will be taking snaps under center when Week 1 arrives for the Jets.

But who delivers those snaps?

That’s still very much up in the air.

As the introduction of Aaron Rodgers has electrified Jets’ training camp and generated sky-high expectations but unfamiliar ones given the team’s recent history, the starting center job remains one of the biggest question marks for a Jets squad with championship aspirations.

Veteran Connor McGovern, who has been a mainstay on the Jets’ offensive line since 2020, re-signed this offseason and figures to be a favorite to keep his starting role — especially given early trends at camp.

But the Jets drafted Joe Tippmann, a 6-foot-6 center out of Wisconsin, with their second-round pick, and signed vets Wes Schweitzer and Trystan Colon to shore up their offensive line depth, adding intrigue to a developing competition.

Connor McGovern (left) and Joe Tippmann talk between drills at training camp on Thursday, July 20, 2023.
Getty Images

McGovern, who re-upped with the Jets on a one-year, $1.9 million deal late in April — surprising both the center and the team in terms of how late he was still available — said he knew what he was getting into with this year’s position battle.

“I’m happy to meet the challenges and embrace the competition,” McGovern said. “It does nothing but make you better, makes Tip better, Wes better, or Trystan better. We’re all fighting for our livelihood, backs in the corner. So it’s definitely a challenge that I’ve enjoyed.”

Head coach Robert Saleh said the veteran presence and familiarity that McGovern brings would be an important factor in the starting decision, saying that he “understands the game of football at a professional level,” noting that Tippmann needs time to learn the playbook.

“[Connor’s] by far the most comfortable,” Saleh said. “But it’s, ‘We’re all going to get an equal opportunity to go get that job.’ ”

McGovern, 30, was drafted by the Broncos in the fifth round in 2016 and signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Jets in 2020.

Connor McGovern
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

But he became a footnote in the Jets’ offseason transactions when he signed with the team on the same day Rodgers finalized his contract.

McGovern said the opportunity to work with a future Hall of Famer has been exciting.

“It’s been amazing. … I love the mental aspect of this game, the mental side of it, how far you can take it, the scheme and cadences, and all that kind of crazy stuff. To watch him master that is incredible, learned a ton from him already and we’re just getting started.”

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