If the New York Jets come to an agreement with offensive tackle Morgan Moses, here are 5 paths they could take.
The New York Jets are reportedly considered the favorites to sign former Washington Football Team offensive tackle Morgan Moses. Released by Washington in late May, Moses started at right tackle in every one of Washington’s regular season and playoff games from 2015-20.
Should they end up coming to an agreement with Moses, the Jets have a few different ways they can manage the roster to fit him in. Particularly, the fate of current starting right tackle George Fant is a big question that would have to be answered in the event of a Moses signing.
Here are a few ways the Jets can manage a Moses signing.
Start Moses at RT, move Fant to RG
If the Jets want to start Moses at right tackle and keep Fant in the starting lineup, they could move him to right guard, but I’m not sure that idea is a realistic possibility.
Fant doesn’t have the ideal strength to succeed at guard. He struggles mightily with power moves against smaller edge rushers in pass protection, so it is tough to picture him holding up against defensive tackles on the inside. In the run game, he doesn’t create much movement when working to the inside on defensive tackles.
This proposition is most likely not on the table.
Start Fant at RT, move Moses to RG
As I broke down in detail, Moses has a skill set that could allow him to enjoy a very successful transition to guard.
Moses is a bigger, stronger tackle who thrives against power moves in pass protection and does his best work as a run blocker when working to the inside on larger defenders. Those two skills translate well to the guard position. Conversely, Moses does not have the greatest mobility, which you typically want your tackles to have in Mike LaFleur‘s outside zone running scheme. Fant does offer that athleticism, making him a more enticing fit in the offense at tackle.
I believe this path would be the best way to maximize the talent on the roster in the event of a Moses signing, but Moses might not have any desire to play guard. Tackles are paid significantly more than guards in the NFL, so the veteran probably isn’t going to switch positions and decrease his earning potential unless his hand is forced and teams are only interested in having him start at guard (which seems unlikely considering the dearth of tackle talent in the league).
If I were playing Madden, this is how I’d divvy it up. It is hard to imagine Moses would accept a guard role, though.
Start Moses at RT, use Fant as the backup swing tackle
The Jets could simply slide Moses in at right tackle and relegate Fant to the bench.
This would still be a great move for the health of the roster, as the Jets are very light on tackle depth at the moment. Beyond Fant and Mekhi Becton, the only other tackles on the team with starting experience are Chuma Edoga and Conor McDermott, who have combined for a measly 15 career starts and have generally performed badly.
Having Fant with the second team as the first option to fill in at either left tackle or right tackle would be tremendous for the unit’s depth.
Over the course of his career, Fant has played 1,253 snaps at left tackle and 831 snaps at right tackle, so he has plenty of experience at both positions.
Fant’s two-way experience is not the only advantage that comes with having him as a backup. He also offers the rare bonus of being able to line up as an extra offensive lineman/tight end in certain packages.
From 2018-19, Fant came onto the field as a sixth lineman/tight end on 450 snaps for the Seahawks, the most in the NFL among offensive linemen over that span (and more than twice as many as the second-ranked player).
That’s a ton of playing time for such a unique role that very few teams utilize. When not starting on the offensive line, Fant was placed on the field as a “tight end” for an average of 15.5 snaps per game, playing as many as 41 snaps in one game as a pseudo-tight end. It was a job that worked great for him, as most of the highest-graded performances in his career came in games where he was playing this role.
It’s worth noting that the 49ers did not regularly utilize any of their offensive linemen in this role over the course of Mike LaFleur’s four years there under Kyle Shanahan.
Start Moses and bench Fant (with pay-cut)
If the Jets go with the previous option and start Moses at right tackle while utilizing Fant as a backup, they may want to reduce Fant’s cap number to accommodate the change in his role, just as they did with Jamison Crowder.
Fant is entering the second year of his three-year, $27.3 million contract that included a $3 million signing bonus and $13.7 million guaranteed. He will have a cap hit of $9.8 million in 2021, which is currently set to rank fifth-highest among right tackles and 16th among all offensive tackles.
Obviously, that number would be very high for a backup. The Jets would certainly explore the idea of bringing Fant’s number down.
Releasing Fant is not a realistic option, as cutting him now would result in a $6.45 million dead money hit spread over two years ($5.45M in 2021 and $1.0M in 2022) versus only $4.4 million in immediate cap savings. Negotiating a restructured deal might be the best bet.
It would be a little more difficult to come to an agreement on a restructure with Fant than it was with Crowder, as Crowder had almost no leverage while Fant has a decent amount of it, but the Jets may still at least explore the possibility.
Start Moses and trade Fant
The Jets could look for a tackle-needy team that would be willing to give up compensation for Fant. Trading Fant would make much more sense financially than releasing him, as trading him would net the Jets $8.8 million in immediate cap savings while costing them only $2 million in dead money ($1M in 2021 and $1M in 2022).
Ultimately, the most feasible scenario would seem to be starting Moses at right tackle while having Fant serve as the backup swing tackle and coming to an agreement with him on a contract restructure.
There are a lot of options, though, and that would be the beauty of the Moses signing. While he may not be a superstar offensive lineman who would provide a gargantuan upgrade, he would simply represent the addition of one more talented player to the unit, which is excellent for competition and depth purposes. Plus, he’d become by far the most experienced lineman on the roster, bringing wisdom to the table that could be beneficial for young linemen like Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Cameron Clark. Even Fant could benefit.
It is unfortunate for Fant that he may not get the chance to show what he can do as a Week 1 starter in LaFleur’s wide-zone running scheme, which is a great fit for him, but the Jets would be remiss if they did not attempt to bring in an accomplished, durable, and productive veteran at a position of great importance.
A Fant restructure may have gotten tougher after March 22nd. He got an additional 2.45 Mill Guaranteed after that date. Before than he could of been cut saving the team 7.4 Mill which interestingly is close to the price any team could of guaranteed to got Moses for in a trade.
This is probably the most one sided ive seen the fanbase toward signing someone, only second to thuney. But is Moses anywhere near the quality, is he a contract year mirage? At least he’s been durable and that means a lot. So, ive got a legit question here. Moses had a great run grade last year but in a totally different system. Does he have the athleticism to at least not stink in space? Is his pass blocking good enough ? Does he project to be better than Fant in this system? Thats the main question for me. I dont know the answer but i trust you guys’ eye on the film.
I guess the best outlook should just be get as much talent into the OL room and see what happens. Last years depth was hideous. I wonder if moses gets paid RT money but plays RG. That would seem ideal. I dont think he’d have an issue with it, he’s already proven at tackle so will still have that in his toolbox for next contract. For the Jets, for once, the overpay would be worth it to fortify the OL.
I think it would be a good move just for the sake of adding talent to the room and improving the depth but I’m not totally sure how much better he’d be than Fant as a starter in this scheme.
Fans love him because of his high PFF ranking last season. That ranking was entirely because of his run blocking, as his pass blocking was fairly average. However, his run blocking came in an inside zone heavy scheme. A lot of the great plays he made to earn that grade aren’t very transferable to an outside zone scheme.
Plus, prior to 2020, Moses had 3 straight years of being average/below average as his run blocking was not nearly as elite as it was in 2020 and his pass blocking was consistently slightly below average. So the 2020 season was a big outlier. He also has committed a lot of penalties in his career.
I think he can do really well at right guard in this offense. Putting him in there and leaving Fant at RT would I think create a solid duo and a very solid 5-man unit. But I know it’s unlikely that he’d accept that role.
This would be a rare move this offseason that I don’t *love*. By all means do it! Improving your depth is always great. I would do this move myself even if I were doing it to start Moses and bench Fant. I just don’t think you’re getting some amazing player or monumental upgrade here. I don’t think Moses will be that much better in this offense than Fant, if at all, and I don’t really think he’s much better than average when looking at his career body of work rather than just last year. He has to prove he can maintain last year’s production.
With all that said, one-year deal, awesome. I think you stay about the same in impact at RT by making the switch while your depth gets substantially better. But a multi-year deal… I’m not a big fan of that to say the least.
Prior to 2020, Washington fans were looking to upgrade from Moses because of his poor pass blocking, penalties, and declining production (PFF grades were dropping for several years.) I believe he is a 30 year old tackle that had a good year run blocking in 2020. No one is going to pay him as an elite tackle at this point in his career – especially given his penalties, career below average pass protection, and outlier 2020 season. The assertion that he wont accept a move to guard doesn’t make sense – even though it’s being frequently repeated. He was making less than 8M as a starting tackle. If he moves to guard and plays well he has the possibility of extending his career and getting paid just as well or better given the guard market. He projects well as a guard, but would be a drive killing liability as a tackle protecting Zach Wilson in the passing game, and in the outside zone run game, given the weaknesses in his game.
Excellent. I was just researching how skins fans felt about this guy and was coming back to report, lol, and you laid it out there bud. Good stuff. Drive killing holding penalty machine.
This is great info Nania, thanks. JNYC below detailed some further issues with Moses that i came to mention. A simple youtube search reveals further issues. This guy seems to be a media leaking blabbermouth as well. A cursory glance shows him having multiple hot takes on his coaches decisions and other players. Im gonna hold out hope that a move to RG is still possible.
Looking forward to a Nania stat breakdown, heh. See just how many drive killing holding penalties this guys responsible for and if its expected to continue here or if he fixed some of his technique or whatever last year. Just ideas, appreciate and enjoy any insight you guys offer.
Good article. I want Moses signed! I think the best option would be to have Fant be the swing OT, but also play him at TE on occasion. He has experience with that with the Seahawks. Having Fant at swing OT would enable the Jets to cut both Edoga and McDermott. If they wanted to keep one or both of them, then sign them to the PS. That better protects Zach, and with the saved roster spot, the Jets can keep a young player with real talent and potential that they’d have to cut otherwise. I would NOT ask Fant to take a pay cut. It won’t hurt to overpay him for a year or two. He has the leverage. Don’t alienate players by going cheap all the time. It’s one thing to be responsible with the cap and not overpay, but quite another to risk getting a bad rep and alienating players by always asking them to take a pay cut. While the situation is similar to Crowder’s, it’s not the same. Crowder had no leverage as he will be a FA next year, and the Jets drafted a player who is potentially much better. Fant has two more years on his contract, and by being willing to be flexible and back up two positions, and saving us a roster spot, as well as play TE on occasion, he deserves to keep his money.
Good point on the TE aspect, I should have mentioned that! I added in some numbers on it. He played that role more than twice as often as any other player in the NFL from 2018-19.
Also a good point on the contract restructure aspect. Might be worth thinking about the reputation the Jets could develop if they try to do that again. And Fant has more leverage than Crowder did. But I do still think it’s a possibility.
Decided in training camp.Big proponent of Moses at RG, but the most logical would be to start him at Right Tackle, an immediate upgrade. Fant is now excellent depth at both Tackles , and a premier blocking TE, in an Outside Zone Rushiing Attack. This combination could be a lethal Running Attack, or an effective 6 man protection. Fants skill set is that of a LT, and although he is pricey for a Right Tackle, he is very reasonable cost for a Left Tackle, and George still has upside. Next year at this time if Fant is not dealt , he will go through the Crowder scenario.