It appears Mekhi Becton will not take the field for the New York Jets at mandatory minicamp
One of the biggest stories of the New York Jets‘ offseason has been the absence of offensive tackle Mekhi Becton. After flashing dominance as a rookie in 2020, the mammoth left tackle sustained a knee injury during Week 1 that kept him out for the entire 2021 season. The result is uncertainty about the future of the former 11th overall pick.
Noise about Becton’s weight and motivation level led some teams to believe that Becton would never play another snap for the Jets. Meanwhile, the Jets insist that he will be a cog in their line for years to come. They proved their belief by waiting until Round 4 of the draft to select a swing tackle.
After Becton missed voluntary OTAs, Jets fans breathed a sigh of relief upon the news that he was expected to join the team during the upcoming week’s mandatory minicamp (which includes two practices). However, a report on Sunday from ESPN’s Rich Cimini tempers some of that relief. According to Cimini, although Becton is expected to be present, he will not practice.
“[Robert] Saleh expects every player to attend, including tackle Mekhi Becton, who didn’t participate in the nine weeks of voluntary work,” Cimini says. “The Monday pre-camp physical will be the organization’s first in-person look at him since the end of the season. He’s not expected to practice.”
The questions and the whispers continue. What is going on with Mekhi? Is this an injury precaution and simple conditioning check-in, as the team has been doing with Carl Lawson? Is there something else at play?
The Jets have given every indication that they believe Becton will be ready to compete with George Fant for the starting left tackle position. It is most likely a matter of getting back to game conditioning, which will take a little while.
But from the minute head coach Robert Saleh said to Becton after the draft, “We’d love to have you back here, buddy! Come on. We’ll take care of you,” the consistent messaging from Saleh and Joe Douglas became muddied with speculation. Do the Jets really know what’s going on with Becton? Were they as okay with his nonattendance at OTAs as they tried to appear?
Until Mekhi is back in uniform and mauling defenders once more, the questions will get louder and more persistent.
For now, this is a disquieting story for Jets fans hoping to see significant progress from the 2022 team.