NY Jets to have open competition between Mekhi Becton and George Fant

NY Jets, George Fant
NY Jets, George Fant / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The NY Jets are set to have an open competition for the starting left tackle job in training camp between Mekhi Becton and George Fant, per head coach Robert Saleh.

Saleh spoke to the media at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday and was critical of his young offensive lineman for perhaps the first time. He indicated that Becton will not be guaranteed the left tackle job and that all options remain on the table.

That includes drafting another offensive tackle, moving Becton to right tackle, and everything else in between. The implication is that the Jets want to see a motivated Becton return to camp this summer.

It's easy to read between the lines with a situation like this. The Jets want to see Becton show up to training camp healthy, motivated, and ready to pick up where he left off two years ago. If not, it's Fant's job to lose.

The NY Jets aren't handing Mekhi Becton the starting job

The 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Becton put together an outstanding rookie season and looked the part of a future superstar at the position, even if nagging injuries limited him a little.

In a preseason survey of NFL personnel, Becton was even ranked as the sixth-best offensive tackle in the entire NFL. It's easy to forget, but that's how he was viewed leaguewide less than a year ago.

However, a significant knee injury suffered in Week 1 of 2021 sidelined him for what would turn out to be the entire season. Rumors that Becton wasn't in shape began to surface leading to speculation about his future.

At the same time, the veteran Fant stepped into the full-time starting left tackle role and put together easily the best season of his career. Fant allowed just 18 pressures in 15 games which ranked second among all left tackles in the NFL and third among all offensive tackles.

Fant was fantastic playing his natural left tackle role in 2021 which is why it shouldn't come as a surprise that Becton won't just be handed the starting job.

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The Jets seemingly wanted to light a fire under Mekhi Becton, and this might just be the way to do it. No one is being handed anything this summer.