Ryan Kalil surprisingly joins Jets as Adam Gase lures latest Pro Bowler out of retirement

Before the 2019 NFL season, Ryan Kalil and Thomas Davis swore they were retiring. Only Kalil followed through, as Davis joined up with the Chargers this offseason, and now Kalil has even come back to the game he loves, signing on with the New York Jets to be their center, the team announced.

Kalil was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft and spent his entire career playing for the Panthers. But when he walked away, Carolina went out and splurged on Matt Paradis, who had become a free agent after time with the Broncos.

It would have been logical for Kalil to return to Carolina, but with the center void filled, he was going to need another spot.

Enter Adam Gase, the retiree whisperer. Gase famously lured Jay Cutler out of retirement when Ryan Tannehill went down with a training camp injury for the Dolphins before the 2017 season. Cutler had been slated to work for FOX Sports in the broadcasting arena and instead ended up making a cool $10 million from Miami to come back and get beat up in a bad spot for the year. Cutler is now retired, living the dream as a reality star in Nashville.

Kalil enters a much better situation. Obviously, he'll be the starting center in New York, likely relegating Jonotthan Harrison, Jon Toth and Ryan Anderson to backup/training camp battle duties. 

It's a tremendous boost for Sam Darnold, the second-year quarterback who's drawn rave reviews for his early play in training camp, because Kalil is a solid veteran presence who can help him identify coverages, pressures, etc. and provide a steady presence under center as he grows in a new offense. 

Adding Kalil also fortifies the entire line -- it makes life easier for the guys playing guard next to him. Kalil is a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler. It does merit watching how healthy he can. 

Kalil was fortunate to stay healthy last season and get a full 16 games in for the Panthers. The prior two seasons, age and injury caught up and he only played a combined 14 games after being healthy for much of his career. 

If the Jets can get 16 games out of the one-time retiree, they're going to be in much better shape, and there's a viable case that this offense can take a major leap in Gase's first year. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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