Brandon Shell, Seahawks, NY Jets
Brandon Shell, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Getty Images

How the New York Jets can replace Mekhi Becton

It appears that New York Jets right tackle Mekhi Becton will miss significant time with an injury to his knee cap and patella. While there is still more testing to be done and an official timetable has yet to be revealed by the team, it has been reported that there is “legitimate fear” Becton’s 2022 season could be over.

General manager Joe Douglas is currently working hard at finding a contingency plan. Here are some of his best options.

Duane Brown

Duane Brown visited with the Jets late last week. He even attended the team’s Green & White Scrimmage, spending time on the sidelines speaking to Douglas and owner Woody Johnson.

The five-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old by the end of this month, but he still appeared to be around an average-level starter for the Seahawks last season, ranking as Pro Football Focus’s 18th-best left tackle. He is probably the Jets’ best option from a talent perspective, even considering his age.

Brown also offers a solid track record of durability. He did not miss a game over the past two seasons and has played an average of 14.5 games per season throughout his career.

However, Brown’s lack of positional versatility could be a cause for concern. Brown has only played at left tackle in his career. He has yet to take a snap at right tackle. If Brown were to join the Jets’ starting lineup, then either he or George Fant would have to move away from their preferred left tackle position.

Brandon Shell

The former Jets fifth-round pick started 40 games over four seasons in New York, although he could never quite develop into a quality starter. However, Shell showed progress over the following two seasons in Seattle, improving to around the level of an average starter. Shell ranked as Pro Football Focus’s No. 16 right tackle in 2021 and their No. 13 right tackle in 2020.

Durability is a concern with Shell as he missed 12 games over the past two seasons. On the positive side, he is ready to slide in at right tackle, as every one of his career starts came at that position.

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Eric Fisher

Eric Fisher had a rough pass-blocking season for the Colts in 2021, as he ranked 61st out of 67 qualified tackles with an allowed pressure rate of 8.4%. He did perform well as a run-blocker, though. The former No. 1 overall pick also offers a good track record of durability, as he has played at least 15 games in seven of his last eight seasons.

Fisher logged plenty of reps at right tackle during his first three seasons in the league but has not lined up there since 2015.

Bryan Bulaga

Bryan Bulaga was consistently one of the NFL’s best pass-blocking tackles during his heyday with the Packers. Now 33 years old, Bulaga remains unsigned due to his lack of durability.

Bulaga signed with the Chargers in 2020 and ended up playing only 11 games for L.A. over two seasons. That includes just one game in 2021 as he was placed on injured reserve with groin and back injuries.

If Bulaga can come anywhere close to his former peaks, he could be a useful stopgap. In 2019, his last fully-healthy season, Bulaga ranked as Pro Football Focus’s 7th-best right tackle in the NFL.

Bobby Massie

At 33 years old, Bobby Massie can still provide respectable play in the starting lineup. He’s consistently provided around league-average production throughout his career, even up through the 2021 season. As a member of the Broncos in 2021, Massie ranked as PFF’s 13th-best right tackle.

Massie has only lined up at right tackle in his career. Durability is a concern for him as he missed four games in 2021 and has missed 19 games total over the past three seasons.

Daryl Williams

Set to turn 30 at the end of this month, Daryl Williams is one of the younger options on this list.

Williams has some good seasons under his belt at right tackle, but everything came crashing down in 2021. After a sluggish start at right tackle, the Bills pushed him inside to right guard, and it’s in that spot where his play began to improve.

It might be best for the Jets to avoid Williams, although I figured it was worth mentioning him here since he’s one of the bigger names on the market. Just last year, the Bills signed Williams to a three-year, $24 million extension as a reward for his strong play at right tackle in 2020 (ranking as PFF’s 10th-best RT). But things simply did not carry over into 2021.

Williams does offer reliability as he has not missed a game since 2018.

Teven Jenkins (trade)

The Chicago Bears selected Teven Jenkins in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft. Jenkins only played in six games (two starts) during his rookie year after undergoing back surgery prior to the year.

Rumors have been circling that the Bears are shopping Jenkins. It’s obviously concerning when a team shops its own second-round pick this early in his career (although the Bears have a new regime in place), but Jenkins’s talent is enticing. Perhaps Douglas and the Jets could buy low on him.

Jenkins played left tackle as a rookie. In college, he played on both sides, primarily lining up on the right.

Andre Dillard (trade)

Andre Dillard was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2019 draft, but has been unable to emerge as a starter over three years in Philly. Dillard has started only nine games in his career.

Due to the emergence of Jordan Mailata and the continued excellence of Lane Johnson, Dillard is left without a path to a starting role in Philadelphia, making him an attractive trade target for teams who are intrigued by his upside. At only 26 years old, Dillard still has the potential to develop into a useful starter.

Dillard showed in 2021 that he could at least be a competent starter. Over a limited sample of 340 snaps, Dillard earned a 69.6 overall grade from PFF, ranking him 45th out of 85 tackles to play at least 300 snaps.

Dillard has mostly played left tackle in his career, although he made one start at right tackle in 2019 (and struggled mightily in that game). All of his college snaps came at left tackle.

Joe Douglas was the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel when Dillard was drafted by the team.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Psi
Psi
1 month ago

Was thinking of Teven Jenkins as a possible replacement as well. Liked his draft profile last year. Not sure about his back issues or the noise in Chicago that would lead them to want to trade him so quickly. A longer term replacement would be more ideal to me than a 1 year stop gap. The position is dicey because Fant is also no sure thing to last the full season either.

rex
rex
1 month ago

I am absolutely tickled to watch Jets fans squirm over OL issues in August when a little over 3 months ago these same dumb-dumbs swore up and down the OL was “set”. Practically NO ONE bothered to take into account the OBVIOUS regarding Becton: he’s only started 14 our of a possible 33 games AND six of those fourteen games he couldn’t finish because his body gave out. Well, naturally, Jets fans HAD TO HAVE Sauce or KT, because investing multiple 1st round picks on the OL was unnecessary. UNNECESSARY. If I had a dollar for every Jets fan that believed that, I’d have ALL of the dollars minus 3 or 4 dollars. Meanwhile, these same bird brains expected Zach Wilson to “take flight” with a starting 5 that has NEXT TO NOTHING in terms of backup offensive linemen. Well, folks, Zach Wilson might very well be looking at another season of running for his life, making it difficult to gauge, ONCE AGAIN, how good or bad he actually might be. So, tell me again, what’s UNNECESSARY about having a COMPETENT REPLACEMENT for a player that CANNOT stay on the field AND whose position DIRECTLY AFFECTS a QB’s ability to execute? But, hey, at least the Jets have Sauce (who’s been, for the most part, equally as effective as Bryce Hall), right?

verge tibbs
verge tibbs
1 month ago
Reply to  rex

Id say probably over 75% of jets fans ive seen online have been saying a solid backup OT is a major need since after the draft. I have no problem trusting that sauce was the right pick if he was highest on their board.

rex
rex
1 month ago
Reply to  verge tibbs

Right. Because solid, backup OTs are a dime a dozen and the Jets don’t require STARTER quality play for a 17 game schedule. And why would they possibly need a foundational OT when the one they thought they drafted in 2020 ended his career just yesterday? It’s not like they’re trying to develop a young QB in the hopes of him becoming a franchise QB, right?

Jimjets
Jimjets
1 month ago
Reply to  rex

You’re happy we’re in this place? And I’ve been talking since April about OL depth. And so have most of us.

rex
rex
1 month ago
Reply to  Jimjets

Go back to school if that’s your take away. Yours is a FOOL’S interpretation of what I said. Most fans here weren’t trying to hear an OL at 4. And when I argued that Becton had yet to play a full season AND that his pass pro was STILL suspect, dipsh*t Jets fans complained about “too much 1st round investment in the OL.” Well, jackass, the day I told all of you nitwits about has come and now it’s my turn to gleefully shout from the mountain top, “I TOLD YOU SO!” And you best believe my petty ass is getting an absolute thrill to throw it in all of your faces. 🤣🤣🤣

Jimjets
Jimjets
1 month ago
Reply to  rex

Counseling “Rex”. Counseling. And medication. Heavy, heavy medication.

rex
rex
1 month ago
Reply to  Jimjets

No. It’s more entertaining for me this way. All the world is a plaything. And I’ve got plenty of matches.

Jimjets
Jimjets
1 month ago
Reply to  rex

Good. Admitting there’s a problem is the first step. Thoughts and prayers Rex. Thoughts and prayers.

rex
rex
1 month ago
Reply to  Jimjets

It’s only a problem to you because you lack perspective.

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago
Reply to  rex

Nobody is “squirming” these things happen. There is plenty of time to find a solution, and they are in a much better place to work through this than a year or two ago. I don’t recall any Jets’ fans on this page saying the O- line is “set” many have been asking for insurance for Becton for as long as I can remember. Nobody said “unnecessary” to draft an OT it was a choice, they couldn’t have everything. I have noticed you make some sweeping generalizations (your prerogative) so the question is: Are you a scarred Jets fan or just someone trying to stir the pot? I only ask because I’ve seen some mixed posts from you and wondering what your motives are?

verge tibbs
verge tibbs
1 month ago

Hall and Sauce been neck and neck in camp allegedly. Maybe jd can try to move hall for a starting rt from a team with depth there. I know its not ideal trading hall especially on a rookie deal but that rookie deal does add to his value. It may have to be considered. Is there a team that needs some cap space, is paying high on their OL, and has depth? Can Hall even command that return, probably not? I wouldnt like having to move fant back to rt and i dont really trust the non duane brown options.

Sighs.. desperate here

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago

This will sound crazy, and I know he’s young so people will be concerned with all the moving around, but there was lots of talk about AVT being a OT in the NFL at draft time. He played LT at USC and one of the reasons many liked him was his versatility. Could they give him a shot at RT, and play Herbig at RG? Also, I like your list, did you take the Jets’ scheme into consideration when coming up with these guys?

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

I listened to your podcast yesterday, you guys talked about that, maybe it wouldn’t be as prohibitive on the right side?