The New York Jets welcomed a prominent offensive tackle on an official visit last week to Florham Park.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport revealed on Tuesday that the former long-time Washington Football Team stud, Morgan Moses, visited the Jets team facilities.
The veteran offensive tackle was granted his release after failing to manufacture a trade this offseason. Since he left Washington has made several visits over the past few weeks including most recently with the Chicago Bears.
Moses Visiting the Jets Is Very Intriguing
The only reason that players visit NFL facilities is that there is mutual interest on both sides.
In this particular case, this specific visit is super noteworthy.
Sometimes when lower-level players visit a team facility it’s to get familiar with one another. In those situations, a signing doesn’t happen, but they exchange numbers and keep in touch just in case an injury comes down the line.
This Moses visit to the Jets facilities isn’t one of those moments.
The seven-year pro is a proven commodity on the offensive line and has started over 97 games in his professional career. It’s not a question of if he’ll be signed, it’s a question of when he’ll sign with an NFL team.
Talented offensive linemen rarely reach free agency and when they do they usually don’t last very long.
Why is Moses a free agent in early June?
It’s certainly not because of durability concerns. Moses has started every game over the last six years for Washington (96-for-96).
It’s a crowded room with new signee veteran Charles Leno Jr and Samuel Cosmi was selected 51st overall in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft. Washington moving on from Moses seemed to be a purely financially driven decision. They saved over $7.75 million with his release.
Where Does He Fit on the Jets?
Why this recent visit raises so many question marks is Moses’ position as an offensive tackle.
Gang Green has their foundational left tackle in Mekhi Becton who they’re super high on. Plus last year they signed veteran George Fant to hold down the right tackle position and he held down the fort well, despite public criticism from the fans.
Moses during his NFL career has logged over 6,000 career snaps. The majority of those (5,730) have come at right tackle and the rest of his opportunities have come in pinch-hitting roles at left tackle (279).
In other words, the long-time veteran has never played guard at the NFL level. If the Jets had an interest in the highly sought-after free agent, they’d likely keep him at his natural position of right tackle.
Which immediately would raise major question marks about Fant and his future with the Jets.
Like Moses, Fant has exclusively played offensive tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference.
In his career, he’s logged over 2,336 snaps. About half of those (1,136) have come via the blindside. While the other half (1,200) have come at right tackle including most recently with the Jets this past season.
With that being said, it wouldn’t make sense for the Jets to move on from Fant based on his contract structure.
Back in March, $4.5 million of his $8.5 million salary became fully guaranteed.
According to Spotrac, if the Jets moved on from Fant they’d have to eat over $6.4 million in dead cap. Since we are now officially post June 1, the team could split that hit over the next two calendar years to make it more palatable, but that still wouldn’t make sense.
If you made him your swing/extra tackle, like he was during his time with the Seattle Seahawks, he would be an incredibly expensive insurance policy at his current cap number.
The only thing that makes any remote sense whatsoever would be forcing Fant to slide inside at guard. The one gaping hole remaining on the Jets offensive line is at right guard.
In 2020, general manager Joe Douglas bet on the athletic traits of Fant as opposed to the proven track record of Jack Conklin in free agency. That gamble paid off in a major way last season.
Perhaps Douglas is willing to risk it to potentially get the biscuit once again in 2021. Despite Fant never playing guard before at the NFL level, there’s a chance his athleticism could translate inside.
Back during the 2021 NFL draft, Douglas said, “ultimately we will have the best five on the line on opening Sunday” regardless of position. Moses provides an interesting option that could test that theory this Fall.