Once free agency rolls around in March, New York Jets GM Joe Douglas should target Carolina Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton.
Saying this year has been a disappointment for the New York Jets is an understatement. While fans of most teams are looking toward a playoff hunt, Jets fans are turning their attention to 2021 free agency and the draft.
The team’s offensive line still has a long way to go despite general manager Joe Douglas‘ attempts to patch it together this offseason. While it was a noble attempt that brought some hope to the position group, it still needs to be addressed.
With left tackle Mekhi Becton proving to be the right pick in the first round, having another elite tackle on the opposite side would considerably benefit the offense. Right tackle George Fant has been respectable, but the opportunity to acquire an elite player shouldn’t be overlooked.
That brings us to Carolina Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton, an impending unrestricted free agent.
Moton was drafted by the Panthers in the second round of the 2017 draft and came into the league with the versatility to play both guard and tackle. After showing an ability to hold his own as a sixth offensive lineman during his rookie season, Moton became Carolina’s starting right tackle in his second season and has started every game since. After two above-average seasons, he has taken the next step and become an elite player.
Consistency has been a key component in the success of Moton this season. He’s the only player on the Panthers’ offense to play every offensive snap and has shown an incredible ability to keep the quarterback clean. He has allowed a pressure rate of 2.6% this season, fourth-best among all qualified tackles.
This impressive display includes a currently-active streak of three consecutive games in which Moton did not allow a single pressure.
But it isn’t just the pure stats that have me drooling over the potential of landing Moton in free agency. When you turn on the film, you see the numbers are no fluke. Moton showcases the ability to completely negate the opposing team’s best pass-rusher when lined up against them.
Against the Chargers earlier this year, Moton played spectacularly, allowing zero pressures against the touch matchup of Joey Bosa.
The following Twitter thread shows every play that Bosa lined up opposite of Moton, flashing a variety of ways that the stud RT kept the pocket clean for his quarterback.
Carolina Panthers RT Taylor Moton completely neutralized Los Angeles Chargers DE Joey Bosa this past Sunday in the Week 3 game. Moton is evolving as a complete above average player at his position. The following video clips support my observation.
1st play he walls off Bosa pic.twitter.com/Dw3qDP2GX3
— Kevin Avery (@4MR_KountryKev) September 29, 2020
A few weeks later, Moton had a similarly clean outing against the Saints’ Cameron Jordan. The star defensive end was completely neutralized, posting a Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade of 57.7 that at the time was his third-worst over 41 regular season and playoff games since 2018.
Below is the start of a thread showing Moton’s ability to successfully hold off DL stunts and straight rushes by Jordan and the Saints defensive line.
Carolina Panthers RT Taylor Moton(#72) vs. New Orleans Saints DE Cam Jordan(#94)
This was a huge matchup heading into this Week 7 game. Jordan has harassed the Panthers OL for the last few seasons. But this time he was neutralized by Moton. Jordan had just 1 tackle
Play #1 pic.twitter.com/NpDIRowAZG
— Kevin Avery (@4MR_KountryKev) October 26, 2020
For a player of this caliber and age (only 26), it’s pretty shocking that the Panthers haven’t been able to find a way to get Moton under contract for the foreseeable future. Even as the team went through their bye this past week, there have not been any contract negotiations to retain him on a long-term deal.
It’s no secret that the Jets will be spenders once 2021 free agency arrives, as the team is projected to have the second-most cap space prior to any cuts or trades. How much Douglas spends remains the big question during these early stages of the organizational makeover.
While Fant has been decent, Douglas should not be complacent. He needs to get ahead and surround the Jets’ 2021 QB with a line that will ensure the absolute best opportunity for success. Going after a player of Taylor Moton’s caliber would be a necessary step in the right direction and signal to fans and players alike that he is serious about building the OL into one of the league’s best.
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