Following a very promising rookie season, Becton looked well on his way to stardom with a preseason poll of 50 NFL executives ranking him as the sixth-best offensive tackle in all of football. But his stock has fallen tremendously since then.
Becton was forced to miss nearly the entire 2021 season after suffering a significant knee injury in Week 1. The Jets hoped that he would return after only a month or two, but Becton's rehab period took much longer than expected.
Rumors that the team was frustrated with his work ethic and motivation were seemingly confirmed when head coach Robert Saleh publicly proclaimed that Becton would have to compete with George Fant for the starting left tackle job this summer. The implication was that Fant was the early favorite.
Most still believe that Becton has a future with the organization. But there is a scenario where that's not the case.
Could the NY Jets consider trading Mekhi Becton?
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler recently listed Becton as an "under-the-radar trade candidate" this offseason, admitting that such a scenario remained unlikely, but suggesting that it was a possibility.
"This feels like a long shot because GM Joe Douglas might have a tough time moving off his first draft pick in New York. Becton is a major talent who should be scheme-transcendent, but his second year couldn't have gone worse. The Jets believe Becton is a good player who probably didn't respond to Year 2 adversity well enough, so how he responds this offseason will be crucial for him. Let's call this one a deep sleeper. Nothing is expected to happen, but his name bears watching."- Jeremy Fowler
Like Fowler says, it's not that the Jets don't believe Becton is a good player — because they do. The current staff remains high on Becton, but they want to see him show up this summer motivated and ready to pick up where he left off in 2020.
They believe that Becton was unmotivated this past season and, as Fowler says, didn't respond well to adversity. The hope is that putting him in a competition with Fant, who performed extremely well in Becton's place this season, will light a fire under him.
As far as trading him go, that does seem very unlikely. Aside from the fact that the Jets still firmly believe that Becton is a part of the future, they also wouldn't be able to get nearly equal value at this stage.
Coming off a significant knee injury, the Jets likely wouldn't be able to require the assets necessary to move him. The motivation isn't there and neither is the value.
Still, if things get really bad and the Jets sour on Becton more than they have, perhaps it's a route they could explore. Never say never.