NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: OT George Fant

NY Jets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets will be hoping that George Fant can be a veteran swing tackle or potential starter in 2020.

NY Jets‘ general manager Joe Douglas placed an emphasis on addressing the offensive line in the offseason and while the likes of Connor McGovern and first-round pick Mekhi Becton will receive most of the attention, George Fant is another player who was added as well.

The signing of Fant was met with some pushback from Jets fans given that the former Seattle Seahawks swing tackle had never been able to secure a starting role playing on one of the most unaccomplished offensive lines in football.

That combined with the petty hefty three-year, $27 million contract that the Jets gave him certainly made some question the move. But he should have every opportunity to prove his doubters wrong in 2020.

Fant will compete with 2019 third-round pick Chuma Edoga for the starting right tackle job this summer and it’s currently unclear who has the edge. But based on 2019 performance alone, it’s hard to make a strong case for Edoga.

The Jets didn’t sign Fant with the intent of him being a long-term starter, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t find a way to make a sizable impact this season.

With that, we take a look at how Fant can ensure success with the Jets in 2020.

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How George Fant can find success with the NY Jets in 2020

In an ideal world, the Jets are hoping that both Becton and Edoga can prove that they are ready for full-time starting jobs in 2020 rendering Fant to more of a backup role.

The team is still high on Edoga and they’re obviously incredibly high on Becton. So expect them to give their young pair of tackles every chance to earn playing time over Fant.

But Fant is an intriguing player in his own right who could start a number of games this season.

Fant has started 24 games over his three seasons in the NFL (not counting the 2017 season he missed due to injury) averaging out to eight games per season, when healthy.

He isn’t your typical backup swing tackle, and his $7.25 million cap hit in 2020 is proof of that. Let’s talk about that contract for a moment as it greatly ties into Fant’s future role with the team.

Although $27 million may seem like a lot for a player with as limited success as Fant, the Jets aren’t exactly tied to him long-term. In fact, the Jets could move on from Fant after this season with minimal cap penalties (just $2 million).

2020 will be an audition for Fant to earn his projected $9.4 million salary in the following year. If Fant plays well enough to convince the Jets that he’s their best option at right tackle, then he might just last into the second year of his contract.

How could he do that, though? For starters, he must beat out Edoga for the starting job and keep that job for the remainder of the season. Fant has never started more than 10 games in a season in his career, but that might need to change if he’s truly to make an impact in 2020.

Fant must continue to work on his refinement while proving to be a more consistent pass-protector than Edoga who struggled mightily in that role a year ago. Edoga arguably has a bigger upside, but none of that matters if Fant is managing solid production.

If Fant could hold off Edoga for the starting right tackle job and put together the best year of his career, then it will be hard for the Jets to move on in the offseason, no matter what their plan might be now.

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Fant could be a starter on this team in both and the present and the future. But he must prove to the Jets that he’s worth the future investment,