The New York Jets has made its stance clear.
Ahead of the 4 pm ET deadline on Tuesday, May 2, Gang Green rejected the $13.5 million fifth-year option on Mekhi Becton’s contract. That means the former No. 11 overall pick in the first round will be heading into a contract year in 2023.
Becton took to social media to share his thoughts on the matter:
“God got me I’m never tripping! ima be in MSG tonight too.”
Mekhi Becton’s Jets Future Is in His Own Hands
Rich Cimini of ESPN described the Jets’ decision to decline that Becton contractual option as “expected.”
Also in the same tweet, he revealed that Becton is now down to “342 pounds” which is down “50” plus pounds from his original weight.
Becton has been a man on a mission this offseason. Dubbed the “selfie king” by some of his teammates, Becton has proudly shown off his new physique this offseason.
After only playing 48 snaps combined over the last two years, Becton appears more determined than ever to save his NFL career.
Well on Tuesday, May 2, the Jets just provided him with the ultimate form of motivation. By declining his $13.5 million option, Becton now only has 2023 ($3.1 million in base salary) before he reaches unrestricted free agency.
Gang Green didn’t want to take the risk with Becton’s questionable injury history.
A recent change to the NFL’s bargaining agreement has changed how teams handle the fifth-year options on former first-rounder’s contracts.
“Beginning with 2018 first-round picks, the fifth-year salary is fully guaranteed when the option is exercised. A player’s fourth-year base salary will also become fully guaranteed at the time the option year is picked up if it wasn’t already. Previously, the fifth year was guaranteed for injury upon exercise of the option. The option year becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the league year in the fifth contract year.”
What Happens Next Is up to Mekhi Becton
If Becton is able to stay healthy for the first time in his NFL career, he is going to get paid one way or another.
Gang Green would have the option next offseason to place the franchise tag on him. By doing so they could prevent him from reaching the open market but it would cost them a pretty penny.
The numbers change from year-to-year, but this offseason an offensive lineman would earn over $18.2 million on the franchise tag. That annual figure would make him the No. 12 highest-paid offensive lineman in football, per Over The Cap.
Or the Jets could let him test his true market value in unrestricted free agency. Becton would be 24 years of age by the time 2024 free agency rolls around and could receive life-altering money.
In the worst-case scenario, if Becton is unable to stay on the field in 2023 then he will experience a much different reality next offseason.
This is the ultimate test and Becton could be the biggest x-factor on the team outside of the quarterback position. If Gang Green wants to reach the heights it is hoping for they’ll need to protect Aaron Rodgers.