Pat Kirwan, host on SiriusXM NFL Radio, likes to use the term ‘Medical Competitive Advantage’ quite often when teams sign players that others might overlook for injury concerns. His most noteworthy example was when the Saints signed Drew Brees after the Dolphins passed on him because of a torn labrum and rotator cuff. Kirwan notes that some teams have an advantage if their team physician is able to draw better insight into recovery and a player’s ability to return to form from a serious injury.
The Jets are taking a risk this offseason with their free agent signings as most of their additions had serious injuries in the past year. Do their doctors know something that others don’t?
Who are the Jets doctors?
- Kenneth Montgomery – Orthopedic Surgeon, Head Physician
- Elliott Hershman – Team Ortopedist
- Andrew Willis – Asst. Team Orthopedist
- Damion Martins – Doctor of Internal Medicine
- Dean Padavan – Associate Team Internist
Worth noting is that the Jets have a history of strong doctors – they are credited with setting the medical checks at the modern day NFL combine. Additionally, they have been with the team for quite a long time, Montgomery: 29 years, Hershman: 17 years, Willis and Martins: 7 years each. Montgomery and Hershman performed knee surgeries on Mark Sanchez and Kris Jenkins – it is worth nothing that both players returned to the field and played without issue.
Here are the 2016 injuries (or previous serious injuries) that each free agent addition had.
- Josh McCown – Broken collarbone in 2016.
- Quinton Patton – Broken Foot
- Kelvin Beachum – Missed one game last year after suffering an ACL tear at the end of 2014. – Played with significant knee pain last year.
- Morris Claiborne – Groin injury and bruised ribs
- Jonotthan Harrison – Appendectomy (Not the same as the other four, of course)
What is interesting is that the Jets are taking a chance on players with an injury history, but felt that Dont’a Hightower’s injury concerns were too much to warrant an investment. With so many players that had significant injuries, what was it about Hightower that scared them off? Perhaps it was simply that all the players above are not major monetary investments (around $20 million combined) whereas Hightower would have earned around $11 million per year alone.
Will the free agent signings pay off for the Jets? Hopefully. One thing is certain, they are rolling the dice on several players that will play important roles for the team in 2017. The pressure is on the medical staff and the trainers to keep them on the field and playing at a high level.