The NY Jets offensive line has suffered a nearly unprecedented string of injuries this season, and their poor injury luck continued on Sunday when starting left tackle Mekhi Becton was carted off with an ankle injury.
While it does appear as though Becton avoided any serious long-term damage, reports suggest that the former first-round pick sustained a high-ankle sprain in the game.
That sort of injury typically keeps a player sidelined for a few weeks (over a month in severe cases), but as SNY's Connor Hughes pointed out on Monday, Becton is a unique situation.
As we've seen in the past, Becton's size makes his rehab process different from other players. There is a non-zero chance that Becton has played his final game this season, which might very well end his tenure with the organization.
The NY Jets might move on from Mekhi Becton after the season
At the very least, Becton is likely bound for a stint on the injured reserve, marking the fourth year in a row that Becton will land on the IR. It's a troublesome trend that the Jets likely won't overlook.
The 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Becton essentially missed all of the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to two separate knee injuries. His ankle injury is the latest setback in an injury-riddled NFL career.
Becton is set to be a free agent at the end of the season, and predicting what his market might be this offseason is tricky. Regardless, the Jets are in a very difficult position when it comes to their young offensive tackle.
Becton's play has been inconsistent at best this season, although it's difficult to fully evaluate anyone on the offensive line, given the sheer number of injuries the team is dealing with.
They've lost at least one of their starting offensive line in each of their last six games. They haven't finished a game without an injury to one of their offensive linemen since Week 4. We're going on Week 12.
The Jets also have few long-term pieces in place on their offensive line moving forward. The only two players essentially guaranteed starting spots next year are Alijah Vera-Tucker and Joe Tippmann, and Vera-Tucker will be coming off a torn Achilles.
Perhaps that could lead to the Jets re-signing Becton on a one-year prove-it deal or even franchise-tagging him if necessary. Still, it might not be wise to count on Becton staying healthy for a full season.
It's an unfortunate reality for someone who has worked so hard this offseason to get in shape and stay healthy. You can't question Becton's effort, even if the results just aren't what the team wants.
Mekhi Becton might go down as one of the biggest (literally and figuratively) what-ifs in franchise history. Unfortunately, his tenure with the Jets might be coming to an end in the very near future.