NY Jets news: Mekhi Becton weight loss, Mecole Hardman's role
By Justin Fried
NY Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is healthy and determined to silence his critics in 2022. After missing nearly all of the last two seasons due to injury, Becton has managed to get himself in the best shape of his career ahead of this season.
Per ESPN's Rich Cimini, the former first-round pick is down to around 350 pounds after weighing as much as 400 pounds a couple of years ago. Anyone who follows his social media should be well aware of the work he's been putting in this offseason.
Becton's promising rookie season left plenty to be optimistic about, but he's appeared in just one game since 2020. He hasn't played an NFL game in 19 months, and it'll be even longer come Week 1.
There are reasons to be cautious about Becton's future outlook, but there's no denying the former Louisville star's work ethic this offseason. He's doing his part to stay in excellent shape.
Other NY Jets news
Mecole Hardman promised an expanded role
The Jets signed wide receiver Mecole Hardman to a one-year deal worth a maximum of $6.5 million last month. He signed with the Jets to hopefully catch passes from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but that wasn't the only reason.
Per Cimini, the Jets promised Hardman an expanded role in New York, complete with a more diverse route tree than the one he ran in Kansas City. The Chiefs primarily used Hardman as a gadget player or on go routes, but that doesn't appear to be the plan with the Jets.
The Jets reportedly believe Hardman has "untapped potential on intermediate routes" and plan to expand his role. That's good news for Hardman, who is determined to prove he can play a featured role in an offense.
I'm not sure Hardman is ever going to be anything close to "the guy" in the Jets' offense, but the team evidently sees him as more than just a gadget/go-route guy.
Did Mecole Hardman sign with the wrong team?
Not everyone believes Hardman made a wise choice in free agency, however. Bleacher Report's Alex Ballentine recently identified six players who signed with the wrong team in free agency, and Hardman was the first player listed.
Ballentine argued that Hardman's decision to sign with the Jets was a poor one due to his lack of a defined role and the potential decline in Aaron Rodgers' play.
The role argument is a fair take, given that if the Jets sign Odell Beckham, Hardman won't be anything more than WR4. That said, I don't think Hardman is too concerned about Rodgers' declining performance.
Sure, he won't have Patrick Mahomes throwing him footballs, but there aren't many quarterbacks that wide receivers would prefer to catch passes from more than Rodgers, even in 2023. Hardman should be just fine in New York.