Jets sign more competition for Hunter

A lightning rod of negativity, Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter has been under great scrutiny following his poor play last season. New York's front office has slated Hunter in the starting role, a decision that has many Gang Green fans kicking and screaming in defiance. With OTA's underway, New York signed a pair of veteran lineman as viable replacements if Hunter continues to struggle.

The Jets added competition for maligned right tackle Wayne Hunter Tuesday (May 29) by signing free agents Ray Willis and Stephen Heyer to one-year contracts.

Hunter was declared the starter in colorful fashion by new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who said Hunter would start "unless they ship him out of here or shoot me dead in my office." But Hunter allowed 11 penalties and 8.5 sacks last season, his first as a full-time starter, and was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the NFL's fifth-worst offensive tackle.

With 61 combined starts in the NFL, Willis and Heyer provide the Jets legitimate alternatives if Hunter struggles during the preseason. Willis was a steady contributor at right tackle and right guard for Seattle from 2005 through 2009 but hasn't played a regular season game in the last two years. He missed 2010 due to a knee injury, was released by Miami in training camp last year and latched on with the New Orleans practice squad at midseason.

Heyer played four seasons for Washington and started every game of the 2009 season before moving on to Oakland last year, where he started twice and played in nine games overall.

Willis and Heyer will likely vie for the starting right tackle job along with 2010 draftee Vladimir Ducasse, whom Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum identified as Hunter's main competition in April.

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