Former Pro Bowler Credits Unexpected Jet With ‘Team MVP’ in 2021

George Fant

Getty New York Jets left tackle George Fant is having an extremely underrated season.

The New York Jets are rounding out the home stretch of a 3-10 season and there aren’t too many individual achievement awards going to members of this roster.

Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and returner Braxton Berrios are vying for a trip to the Pro Bowl but both need more votes to make it. Williams was also the organization’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year.

The rest of this team is auditioning for 2022 but there is one unofficial award that former Pro Bowler Damien Woody believes an under-the-radar starter deserves.

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Fant Gets Shoutout for ‘Team MVP’ Award

On December 14, Woody sent out a “random tweet” supporting left tackle George Fant.

“[Shoutout] to [George Fant]! My man is the team MVP [in my opinion]… rarely hear his name called during games (which is a good thing for OL) after switching to LT after [Mekhi] Becton went down. I think he’s done a really good job this [year],” Woody voiced.

As the ex-offensive lineman noted, Fant started the season at right tackle after beating out fellow veteran Morgan Moses — but that didn’t last long. Becton left Week 1 with a knee injury and he’s been on the shelf ever since.

From that moment on, Fant switched over to Zach Wilson’s blindside with Moses joining the starting five on the right end of the blocking unit. The transition seemed to spark something in the big man.

ESPN beat reporter Rich Cimini joined Woody in his praise, stating: “Totally agree with D-Wood. Fant deserves to keep the job and start fresh in 22 with Becton.”

The O-line had some ups and downs early on but it managed to improve as the season has gone on. Fant, in particular, has been all anyone could ask for.

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Put Some Respect on His Name!

The 2020 team captain was one of Joe Douglas’ first big-money acquisitions and although many criticized the move, Fant actually ended up being one of the GM’s better signings.

In 2021, the left tackle ranks fifth for the entire NFL at his position in quarterback pressures allowed (minimum 80% of pass-block snaps) — the strongest metric in determining a blocker’s ability in pass protection. Pro Football Focus charged Fant with 18 pressures allowed, just behind Jake Matthews and Chukwuma Okorafor (17 each).

The leader is Tampa Bay Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs with nine pressures allowed. You might remember him as the draft prospect that Douglas selected Becton in favor of.

Back to Fant, who’s having a career campaign. PFF has graded him at a 70.2 overall with a 73.0 as a pass-blocker. The only higher marks he’s ever received came in 2018 with the Seattle Seahawks, but he only played 385 snaps that year (810 in 2021).

The vet has never been known for his run-blocking but he hasn’t been a detriment either. Most important of all, he’s kept Wilson safe and that cannot be overstated when talking about a franchise rookie quarterback.

Fant is set to earn $10.65 million in 2022 but the Jets have a clear out in his contract. If they chose to release him this offseason, they would save $9.65 million according to Over the Cap.

Entering the year, many expected Douglas to take that out but now, it’s hard to see the Jets letting Fant go with the way he’s performed. Keep in mind, Moses is set to hit free agency and Becton’s long-term health cannot be relied on.

Douglas may attempt to restructure his deal instead while also drafting another tackle to learn behind him.

The versatile Fant has fought hard to be the front-runner for a starting role next season, that much is clear. The only concern is if he fits the right tackle position as naturally as the blindside, assuming Becton reclaims his job.

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