Among the many potential storylines, these three could be the most important for the New York Jets
With the calendar officially flipped to July, NFL training camps are right around the corner. The New York Jets, unlike previous seasons, will be reporting to training camp at an early date of July 20 since they will be playing in the 2023 Hall of Fame Game. The earlier report time gives the Jets a better opportunity to get acclimated and hit the ground running.
As with every season, there are plenty of talking points heading into training camp. Here are three of the most important potential storylines that could take shape during the duration of the Jets’ practices.
The State of the Running Backs
At this point of the offseason, the Jets’ running back unit is arguably facing the most question marks of any position group on the team.
While Breece Hall has shown the production and talent to be an elite player at the position, it is unknown if he will be ready for the start of the season. Rumors have also been swirling about the Jets potentially adding former Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.
Considering his recent draft status and the home-run speed he could bring to the offense, Abanikanda’s roster’s spot should be secured. After Abanikanda and Hall, Carter, Knight, and Dye would compete to make the team.
The Jets could lean towards the downhill running ability of Knight and look to capitalize on Carter’s remaining trade value. On the other hand, they could value Carter’s veteran presence and experience over the remaining backs on their roster.
No matter how the Jets decide to go about this position, it will show how they feel about Breece Hall’s health and what type of running style they want to showcase in the 2023 season.
Quinnen Williams’s Extension
Arguably more important than any individual player on the roster, the storyline surrounding the contract of Quinnen Williams needs to be a short one. Williams is the most talented player along the Jets’ defensive line, bringing the ability to stop the run and rack up double-digit sacks. The Jets’ defense cannot function at its highest level without him.
Because Jeffery Simmons, Dexter Lawrence, and Ed Oliver all received extensions over the past few months, the range for Williams’s extension should be relatively clear. It should, in theory, slot Williams in as either the second or third-highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL, putting him in the range of Simmons and Aaron Donald. Chris Jones is also due for an extension soon, which could significantly reset the market, so the Jets should try to get Williams’s deal done before that.
If the Jets extend Quinnen in the next few weeks, there will be no storyline to talk about and the Jets’ defense will be ready to roll. But if this drags out past the beginning of training camp, the questions will roll in. There is ample opportunity for the Jets to avoid unnecessary headaches, and it all starts with paying their star defensive tackle.
Mekhi Becton’s Role and Future
Along the offensive line, there is no player with more potential storylines than Mekhi Becton.
In his rookie year, Becton showed he is capable of consistently clearing defenders out of the way to create lanes for the Jets’ running backs. Becton also brings value as a pass blocker with his size and athleticism.
As of recently, the main issue for Becton has been staying on the field. He has played one total game over the past two years, dealing with injuries to his MCL and kneecap. Becton’s injuries have caused the Jets to look into veterans to fill the void he left, namely Morgan Moses in 2021 and Duane Brown in 2022.
Becton’s role is uncertain at best heading into training camp. Head coach Robert Saleh has expressed that the battle for left tackle will be a competition, but veteran Duane Brown seems to have the inside track to win the job. Brown winning position battle would leave Becton battling with Max Mitchell and Billy Turner for the starting right tackle position.
Based on talent alone, Becton should be considered the front-runner to win the job. Yet, questions remain. Can Becton fully adjust to playing tackle on the opposite side? He has already expressed his displeasure about right tackle, so will he request a trade if he loses out on the left tackle job?
There are many avenues that this storyline could play out, with some being positive and some being negative. Regardless of the result, the Becton storyline will have implications on the Jets’ roster in both the 2023 season and in the long term.