The New York Jets is putting its’ money where its’ mouth is.
After talking up offensive tackle George Fant after a spectacular 2021 season, it appears they’re ready to open up the checkbook.
According to Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network, the Jets “are trying” to extend Fant’s contract ahead of the 2022 season.
Additionally Pauline added that “sources close to the situation” that Fant was told the starting left tackle gig “is his to lose” heading into next year.
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Makes a Lot of Sense
Fant is entering the final year of his contract in 2022 for just over $11 million. The veteran offensive tackle is 29 years of age (will be 30 by the start of next season), but he doesn’t have the typical tread on the tires that a player of his age typically would.
For the first three years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks, he was used inconsistently as a jumbo player and occasional starter.
Fant had only 24 starts under his belt prior to joining the Jets. To add even more context here was his snap percentage across those seasons:
- 2016: 71 percent of the snaps
- 2017: (tore his ACL during the preseason)
- 2018: 35 percent of the snaps
- 2019: 43 percent of the snaps
The uber-athletic former basketball star came into football late and the Seahawks took a flier on him coming out of Western Kentucky as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
It makes sense with the Jets so high on the player that they’d want to be proactive in trying to retain him for the foreseeable future.
A Flier That Paid off in a Major Way
Back during the 2020 offseason, former Tennessee Titans, right tackle Jack Conklin was the apple of everyone’s eyes. He was expected to land a big-money deal in free agency and many pegged him to the Jets.
When the green and white didn’t land him and he joined the Cleveland Browns, many fans were upset. That anger intensified when they learned what the Jets’ apparent backup plan was to swinging and missing on Conklin: Fant.
General manager Joe Douglas was ripped apart on the social media streets for what appeared to be on the surface an incredibly underwhelming signing at a massive position of need.
Despite what people outside of the organization said, Fant more than delivered with a solid season as the team’s right tackle. Then a year later Fant was forced to flip to the blindside and thrived in his new role.
He performed so admirably that Saleh stated it would be an open competition between Fant and former first-round pick Mekhi Becton.
Regardless of the outcome of that battle, the Jets appear to be in a very good position. Both players have a history of playing both offensive tackle positions.
The winner will be the starting left tackle and the loser will likely be the starting right tackle Week 1. In other words, the green and white are thoroughly enjoying a first-world problem thanks to their depth.