By all accounts, Fant seemed to be handling the change well until a certain Jets reporter ruffled his feathers.
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Fant spoke this week for the first time since the team added Brown and forced him to switch back to right tackle.
During that conversation, Rich Cimini of ESPN asked Fant whether this change from left tackle to right tackle could affect his ongoing contract negotiations with the team.
“Man, I don’t know, like I told you before I don’t deal with that. That’s what I have an agent for, so he deals with all that.”
Cimini then tries to explain the rationale behind his question by saying left tackles make more money than right tackles and Fant cuts him off saying, “I told you, I don’t deal with that so next question.”
The 30-year-old is entering the final year of his contract in 2022 and would like a new deal. However, this positional change could complicate those negotiations from a Jets’ perspective.
They could argue he is playing right tackle and thus this new contract should reflect that. Although he could turn around and say I’ve saved your butt several times by switching when you needed me to, so just pay me what I’m worth.
Time to Do a Solid
The fact of the matter is the Jets need to do Fant a solid.
It is time to return the favor after he bent backward to help the team. Last year when Becton went down he flipped from right tackle to the blindside and saved the day.
This year Becton goes down again and Fant without hesitation does whatever the team needs and flipped back over to right tackle.
Head coach Robert Saleh called his versatility a blessing and a curse. On one hand the more positions you know, the better off you’ll be. However on the other hand, when an injury happens he will always be the first one they look at to make a change.
Prior to getting angry with Cimini during the presser, Fant was answering everything the right way.
He called the forced change “another hurdle in the road” but ultimately something that was out of his control. Fant said all he can do now is “be the best right tackle that he can be.”
When initially asked about any potential frustration with the situation, Fant just smiled and said sometimes “you just gotta be a pro in certain situations.”
Fant made it clear that he wanted to be the left tackle. He played well at the position in 2021 and Fant knows that left tackles make more money than right tackles.
However, he did what was best for the team to put the best possible five offensive linemen out there to protect Zach Wilson. Now it’s time for the Jets to do right by Fant.
Some people will argue Fant on his new deal should get right tackle money since that is the position he is playing. My argument would be his ability to play both sides is even more valuable and deserves a fair deal that pays him in between the two positions, leaning more blindside money.
Fant is exactly the kind of player you want to go above and beyond for. A team-first guy that will do whatever you ask him. Paying him a handsome extension is good for business and would send a tremendous message to that locker room.