The NY Jets were treated to a breakout year from offensive tackle George Fant in 2021. Filling in for the injured Mekhi Becton, Fant put together easily the best season of his career and finished as legitimately one of the best players on the roster.
Fant was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal year for Gang Green as the veteran offensive tackle forced his way into the team's plans despite being an afterthought in the summer.
Now, following his standout 2021 season, the Jets are reportedly looking to keep Fant around long-term.
Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline reported earlier in the week that the Jets were "trying to extend Fant’s contract" this offseason. This comes after head coach Robert Saleh indicated that Fant and Becton would compete for the starting left tackle job this summer.
And as far as early indications go, it appears to be Fant's job to lose, at least according to Pauline.
The NY Jets are looking to keep George Fant around past this season
The 29-year-old Fant is entering the final year of a three-year, $27 million contract he signed with the team prior to the 2020 season. He's set to carry a cap hit of just over $11 million in 2022, a figure that suddenly looks cheap given how well he played this past year.
Fant's first season in New York was underwhelming, to say the least. The former Seattle Seahawks swing tackle finished the year with a 61.6 Pro Football Focus grade that ranked 64th out of 79 qualified offensive tackles.
His lackluster play was the reason the Jets went out and signed veteran Morgan Moses after the draft. Moses competed with Fant for the starting right tackle job in camp, a competition that Fant actually won.
But once Becton went down, Fant was shifted over to his natural position at left tackle for the first time in his Jets career. The results were spectacular.
Fant allowed just 18 pressures in 15 games which were the third-fewest among all qualified offensive tackles in the NFL, behind just Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Whitworth. He was one of the best pass-blocking tackles in football this past season.
Even at 29-years-old, it's clear that Fant still has plenty left in the tank and the Jets are banking on the notion that the 2021 season wasn't a fluke.
This is a situation to monitor over the coming weeks and months.