EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 05: George Fant #76 of the New York Jets lines up against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on December 05, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
George Fant, New York Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Fant, the presumed favorite to be the Jets left tackle, is entering the final season of his three-year deal

It is not an exaggeration to say that George Fant is one of the most important players for the New York Jets success in the 2022 season.

Fant would like his due after putting up a career year on the quarterback’s blind side in 2021. Last season, Fant put up a 71.1 Pro Football Focus grade. That included a career-best 75.1 pass-blocking grade, which ranked 25th among 66 qualified tackles.

Fant took to Twitter to express his displeasure with his own situation following Minkah Fitzpatrick’s four-year extension with the Steelers, saying, “Must be nice.”

Jets general manager Joe Douglas does not appear to be in a hurry to lock up the offensive line cornerstone. He may want to see whether 2021 was a one-hit wonder taking advantage of lesser competition or an actual career ascension.

Additionally, with the uncertainty regarding Mekhi Becton‘s long-term status on this team, Douglas may not want to commit to left tackle money for Fant. It is plausible that he still thinks of Becton as the long-term answer on the blind side. Fant may have a leg-up for the position in 2022, but Becton is younger and has more upside.

Possible contract terms

If a deal were to happen before Week 1, what would it possibly look like?

PFF has Fant listed as a player “likely” to sign a contract extension before the season begins. After describing the conundrum regarding Fant’s position, this is what they had to say about a possible extension:

Charles Leno Jr.’s three-year, $37.5 million extension with the Washington Commanders signed in January could serve as a blueprint, with Leno a year older but also fully entrenched as a left tackle.

Contract Projection: Three years, $35 million ($11.67M per year), $19 million total guaranteed.”

The average annual value is not that far off from Laken Tomlinson’s ($13.3 million), though with less guaranteed money. Meanwhile, Tomlinson is coming off a Pro Bowl season, albeit at a less premium position.

Although Jet X-Factor’s Michael Nania already detailed legitimate reasons to believe in Fant’s 2021 breakout, he also advised that it is best to proceed with caution before anointing Fant the long-term left tackle.

My guess is that, despite PFF’s prediction, Douglas will not actually sign Fant before the season begins. With premier edge rushers such as Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, and Trey Hendrickson on tap for three weeks of the first four weeks of the season, the Jets will get a good look at Fant’s true ceiling.

If Fant proves himself up to the task, Douglas has already shown himself willing to deal during the season. He signed stud defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers to a four-year, $55 million extension in October of last season.

If Fant struggles out of the gate, Douglas will have a decision to make, both during the season and afterward.

While Fant’s desire for financial security is understandable, he has the opportunity to let his actions speak louder than words.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.

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JetOrange
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JetOrange

Three things. There is a market disparity between Left Tackle and Right Tackle of about Six million. LT pushing 18 million. At this late time it’s undecided where George is going to play. Second, Fant had a good year, but he has only recently evolved, and he does get nicked up. Third this maybe a contract about the appetite for both sides on guaranteed money. Recommend 3 years 50 million, 30 million guaranteed

JetOrange
Member
JetOrange

Respectfully disagree. I will say that 3 year 50 million for George is the top of the market, and that it might be more prudent for the Jets to let this play out until the end of the year. But the Jets would get a good bargain under 50. With the CAP increasing 20 million in 2023, with a potential additional 20 million in 2024, WR & OT markets have gone crazy. Looking to stabilize the Offensive Line for Zach. Did I mention that you are an excellent writer/ analyst for this site , thanks. Great training Camp story, we… Read more »

Matt Galemmo
Member
Matt Galemmo

Thus far all the conversation I’ve seen has assumed JD, Saleh and LaFleur all would want to sign last year’s version of Fant. Is that the right assumption? Could it be possible that they believe they can find a better system fit in free agency?

Matt Galemmo
Member
Matt Galemmo

I agree, but my thought doesn’t concern Becton or left tackle. Just looking at Fant, the Jets might feel they can do better at tackle. I understand Fant’s 2021 was statistically a very good (but not great) pass blocking season but just a fair run blocking one. Why are we so certain the Jets won’t look for an upgrade regardless?

Perhaps an article idea for Jets X Factor. Whatever they would need to pay Fant now–who else could be a free agent for the same contract?

Robert725
Member
Robert725

Time to pay this guy, a very important piece of the team’s future, especially the young quarterback’s development. Can’t wait!
Just extend THIS season!

hh11212
Member
hh11212

Definitely not in a hurry to sign Fant. I think he is solid but a little overrated by fans. I would wait and see how he does and possibly resign him during season as many have suggested.

hh11212
Member
hh11212

I agree Becton faced a much higher quality of edge rusher in his rookie year than Fant last year. People overlook that fact as you point out. I think this is a smart move by JD not to be a prisoner of the moment and still be caution with a 30 year old breakout LT. If Fant works out great for the Jets, but if he doesn’t don’t want to put the org in a bad position.