NY Jets say Mekhi Becton will have to earn his starting job

NY Jets, Mekhi Becton
NY Jets, Mekhi Becton / Al Pereira/GettyImages

It has been a tough go for Mekhi Becton considering he was coming off an impressive rookie outing for the NY Jets before suffering a knee injury in their 2021 season-opener that ended up sidelining him for the rest of the year.

It has been no secret the Jets are unhappy with how slow Becton’s rehab has been going considering, when originally diagnosed, Gang Green expected it to be a two-month injury.

It has also gotten to a point that head coach Robert Saleh said the second-year left tackle will have to earn his spot back over George Fant.

“George Fant stepped in at that left tackle spot and did a wonderful job,” Saleh said to reporters at the Senior Bowl. “He has earned the right to be part of that discussion at left tackle. I’ve told George he’s got a chance to maintain that position.”

The NY Jets aren't handing Mekhi Becton anything this year

In addition, ESPN staff writer Jeremy Fowler listed Becton as an under-the-radar trade candidate. While Fowler admittedly calls it a “deep sleeper,” to even broach the thought speaks volumes to how sideways Becton’s sophomore season went.

“He has to come in and reassert himself into the starting lineup,” Saleh continued. “It’s a really good problem to have, with what George has been able to do. We know what we can get out of Mekhi as he attacks this offseason.”

At this point, it is hard to imagine general manager Joe Douglas moving on from his first-ever draft pick with the green and white, especially with the kind of upside Becton brings. He has shown that, when healthy, he possesses the type of size and speed to pancake just about anybody in the NFL.

“It’s a big offseason for him in the sense that he’s got to put together an OTAs and a training camp and give himself a chance during the season,” Saleh said. “We’re excited about Mekhi and the direction he’s going and we’re super excited about George. We feel like we’ve got a really good tackle plan.”

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However, it's all about being able to stay on the field for the former 11th overall pick because if Becton and the Jets are faced with this same dilemma next year chances are they will find themselves going separate ways.