5 biggest non-QB needs on the NY Jets roster this offseason
2. The NY Jets need to address offensive tackle
Perhaps the most universally agreed upon need, offensive tackle is a tricky one because Douglas has tried to do something to fix this position every single year of his tenure, and yet it's still a position of need every single year.
Unlike the center situation where there are a few reasonable outcomes, this solution is much more clear-cut: the Jets must draft a tackle with their first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Four offensive tackles with super high ceilings were drafted in the first round of 2020, and the Jets drafted the only one of them to play in zero games since September 2021.
Douglas must right this wrong in 2023, coincidentally another draft in which there are four tackles predicted to go in the first round. The two most popular names are Paris Johnson Jr. and Broderick Jones, but with the track record of the previous Douglas/Saleh drafts, it's fair to trust that if they have another tackle on their board above them, it's for good reason.
But one tackle isn't enough! On the roster currently, the Jets have Mekhi Becton, Max Mitchell, and Duane Brown as tackles. None of those guys are guaranteed to suit up for even one snap next season, all for various reasons.
Becton has played 13 out of 50 possible career games (26%). It's okay to be optimistic that his weight loss will lead to the first full season of his career, but this should not be the expectation.
Mitchell's season ended for personal reasons, and there is no timetable for a return. Brown, who played all year with a torn rotator cuff, turns 39 this year and should probably either get that fixed or retire — either of which will cause him to miss the season.
So, step one is to draft that foundational tackle for the next 10-15 years that they thought they were getting in Mekhi Becton. If that 13th overall pick is traded (Aaron Rodgers to NY?), foundational tackles can still be found early in Round 2. Step two is to sign at least one more tackle to guarantee two starting tackles.
Douglas's decision to let Morgan Moses walk for pennies last year looms large over the situation here. The Baltimore Ravens signed him to a very sensible three-year, $15 million deal, and Moses proceeded to produce consistently and play much better (and in more games) than any of the Jets' actual tackles this year.
My suggestion? Try to find the next "Morgan Moses" signing, trying to get a guy the Jets can be confident in if he has to start every game and shouldn't cost the Jets more than $5 million annually to sign.
Re-sign Cedric Ogbuehi for the vet minimum again, and now there are three tackles (rookie, the "new Moses", Ogbuehi) who can play NFL football.
If Becton ends up crushing it this season, that will be a huge plus. It helps to know that Alijah Vera-Tucker can play either tackle if needed. Mitchell could be good to go at any time, but the Jets desperately need that young foundational piece in 2023 that they can rely upon beyond this season.
Relying on Becton to be one of the top three tackles would be a grave mistake, even if he does unpredictably play all 17 games, at least he'll be doing so with another young bookend talent on the other side.
If he misses time, then the position is secured — it takes all the pressure off of Becton to be that cornerstone piece they thought he was. Draft a stud and sign a vet.