NY Jets, Mekhi Becton, Trade Rumors
Mekhi Becton, New York Jets, Getty Images

Has Mekhi Becton worn out his welcome with the New York Jets?

Will Mekhi Becton ever play another down with the New York Jets?

Amidst all the reports that Becton’s weight is down to 340 pounds, voices on the Jets beat keep whispering that the tackle may not be long for the team. Rich Cimini speculated that the Jets could trade Becton before the final roster cutdown. Brian Costello added that he thinks Billy Turner will be the team’s starting right tackle.

So far, the early indications in training camp seem to concur with Costello. With Duane Brown on the PUP list in his recovery from shoulder surgery, Turner and Becton have been rotating at left tackle. Becton has not played right tackle at all, according to reports.

Would the Jets actually pull the trigger and trade Becton?

They’ve done similar this offseason

Becton has been a notable distraction this offseason. He ripped the Jets’ coaching staff for mishandling him in 2022, essentially blaming them for his season-ending knee injury. He claimed he should not have been at right tackle, putting more pressure on his knee, and stated that the training staff ignored his concerns. Furthermore, he tweeted, “I. AM. A. LEFT. TACKLE!” before deleting the post.

Robert Saleh handled that tweet by responding that Becton should go earn the spot. However, he reiterated his support for Brown and that the Jets are going to play their best five.

There is the distinct possibility that the Jets are simply tired of Becton’s antics. Although not as toxic as Elijah Moore’s midseason outburst, Becton’s comments could have been divisive. They were certainly not the words of a player who is bought into the team. Perhaps the Jets will decide to pull the plug on any possible distractions.

I was unhappy when the Jets traded Moore, even though I understood the move. Moore most likely kept his trade request on the table, and the Jets delivered. I might dislike a possible Becton move even more since they have even less depth to replace him. However, if they are intent on “positive vibes only” and maintaining a team culture, moving on from Becton makes sense.

They have five tackles

When the Jets brought in Turner, I saw that as a swing tackle move with two developmental prospects, Max Mitchell and Carter Warren, on the roster. Statistically, Turner has been a poor tackle throughout his career, but he’s a decent backup.

However, with the Jets giving Turner some first-team reps at left tackle in place of Brown and Mitchell starting at right tackle, it appears that the team may be ready to use Turner as a starter. I would vehemently disagree with that move; Aaron Rodgerssupport for a tackle who will likely get him destroyed boggles my mind. Still, they have the bodies to do it, if not the talent.

Overall, the Jets are currently poised to carry 10 offensive linemen: the five tackles, Laken Tomlinson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, Joe Tippmann, and Wes Schweitzer. Trystan Colon, an intriguing interior lineman in his own right, likely has little chance of making the roster.

With a roster crunch at other positions, specifically if they plan to carry a fullback, perhaps they will just have the four tackles and move on from Becton.

Becton’s future is uncertain

After the Jets declined Becton’s fifth-year option, he is poised to hit the free-agent market after the season. The 2024 franchise tag for offensive linemen is projected to be $23.8 million. That would likely be too steep for the Jets even if they’d want to apply it.

Even if Becton does start, stay healthy, and have a strong season, his path forward with the Jets is unclear. Would they commit big money to a player with his injury history after a good season in a contract year? This is particularly salient when considering Becton’s previous struggles with mindset and weight.

I proposed a potential Jordan Love-style extension for Becton. However, it doesn’t seem that the Jets have any interest in that. The idea was to give the Jets one more year to see if Becton could be the answer but at a more reasonable price than the franchise tag. Instead, they appear closer to just moving on a year early.

Furthermore, there is a distinct possibility that Becton gets injured yet again. Besides not playing at all in two years, he rarely played a full game even in his rookie season. Therefore, perhaps the Jets want to salvage whatever they can get for Becton. Another injury would mean that they lose what remains of their investment with nothing in return.

Chasing a ring

As I stated in my article about remaining moves to make this offseason, the Jets need to beef up their roster if they’re truly going all in for a championship. Trading Becton would be the antithesis of that unless they receive a starting-caliber tackle in return, which is highly doubtful. Player-for-player trades are rare in the NFL, to begin with. Why would any team trade a known starter for the unknown of Becton?

Jonah Williams is one name that came up as a possible avenue earlier this offseason. The Bengals tackle will be playing on his fifth-year option, which is worth $12.6 million. Williams requested a trade earlier this offseason and is also coming off a dislocated kneecap.

The price tag is likely prohibitive, even if the Jets would be interested in making such a move. But why would they be? In 2022, Williams allowed a 5.9% pressure rate (above the 5.3% average) and 12 sacks. That followed a 6.6% pressure rate and eight sacks the prior year. The only year in which Williams’ play was adequate was in 2020 when he allowed a 4.7% pressure rate and three sacks in 10 games.

The most likely return for a trade is a draft pick. That would be incredibly foolish for a team chasing a championship. When they traded Moore, it was to gain another second-round pick ahead of a potential Rodgers deal. That eventually allowed them to pick Tippmann—a player who can contribute in 2023. Losing a 2023 starter in favor of a 2024 draft pick is not the move of a team whose goal is a Lombardi.

The return

As mentioned, the return for Becton would most likely be a draft pick. Here’s where I think Joe Douglas might think twice about making a move.

Denzel Mims requested a trade last offseason. The Jets were insistent on sticking to their asking price of a fourth-round pick. That was quite steep for a player coming off an injury-riddled and miserably poor season.

For Becton, who showed far more on the field than Mims ever did, the Jets would likely want at least a third-round pick. It’s hard to envision a team giving that up for someone who hasn’t played in two seasons. Perhaps some team loses its starting tackle and is desperate enough to cave. Even then, I don’t think it’s that likely.

While Becton has been a far more publicly controversial figure than Mims, perhaps the Jets stick it out if they can’t get the return they want. If he does play well this season, they could likely get a third-round compensatory pick or even try a tag-and-trade to get more in return for him. They might hold out for that.

Will they do it?

Honestly, I really do think the Jets might trade Becton. The indications seem to be pointing in that direction. I can’t see a way that Becton will take being the backup or even third-string left tackle well. He hasn’t been practicing at right tackle thus far.

Perhaps this is simply a nod to the fact that Becton’s preference is to play on the left side. Maybe the Jets are giving him a shot at winning the job rather than relegating him to right tackle. After all, we did see Becton working on his right tackle stance and get-off on the side field during OTAs.

I do not think such a move would be wise, even if it’s a matter of team culture. I believe the offensive line is the key to the Jets’ entire season. Removing one of its most talented players in favor of a backup-level player is not a wise way to start.

What do you think, Jets fans? Is Becton on the way out?

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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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1 month ago

I think they would love to trade him and I could see it happening, if they find a team who values his “up side.” I don’t think they will make a deal if they don’t like the return. Clearly, this staff doesn’t like his mentality and from what we see there is no reason for them to like it.

My feeling is they told him, if you want to play LT beat out Brown. I don’t think he’ll be playing RT, for him it’s either you earn the starting LT job or you are a back up. I don’t think it’s out of spite but it’s sort of like a be careful what you ask for…type thing. I also think that’s the best plan with him. He hasn’t played in 2 seasons so keeping him at 1 position is probably best for him to get back on the field.

I’ve been saying for months, they’ll trade him. I think that’s where is ends up.

1 month ago

With a new OC and a new OLine coach, I don’t see the negative carry-over from the past being too significant. That, combined w the low trade value, point to Becton getting a real chance to earn the spot at LT. And I think he should have that opportunity.
As a professional organization, business or otherwise, the Jets should have already sat down w Becton to iron-out any differences; putting their collective heads in the sand and ignoring any lingering issues will only lead to resentment and poor results for both parties. Get Becton “in the fold’ with the new offensive regime. I find it difficult to believe either JD or Saleh let their egos get in the way of fielding the best team.
Keep him and re-sign him if he has a productive year.

1 month ago

I wouldn’t put too much credence in comments from reporters and coaches about trading Becton until we hear something or get some kind of hint from JD. The pick of Becton was a big moment for JD, a former OL man himself, and he put a lot of time and work into it. At the time of that draft, he said he liked the kid personally. I wouldn’t be surprised if JD went up against his own coaching staff in support of Becton. Personally, I have more faith in JD than in Saleh.

Jim G
Jim G
1 month ago

If the Jets trade Becton I agree it will likely have to be for a draft pick, probably a 3rd rounder. This begs the question: who trades the #11 overall pick for a 3rd rounder? A trade will close the book on yet another Joe Douglas draft failure, leaving only Ashtyn Davis & Bryce Hall as the remnants of the 2020 draft.

If this season is about going with “the best five,” then they must keep Becton. Unless, of course, the coaching staff adopts a petulant attitude and vindictively refuses to play him.

I’m hoping this is just mindless chatter rather than a possibility.

1 month ago

Just can’t see the Jets trading Becton at this point. First off they would be selling low which is not a good business decision but more importantly they need all hands on deck for this season. The Oline, as stated, is the key to success and you have to keep him around especially being he may have turned the corner and can provide high level ability. Jets gotta play this out.

Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
1 month ago

The combination of his low trade value and our depth at Tackle means he stays. The Jets want to see what they really have in him. If he gets hurt again then he’s a bust. But if he plays well then he will sign a big deal with someone else next year and the jets will get a compensatory pick. Or they tag and trade him.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jonathan Richter