AFC Foe Should ‘Dance in the Streets’ After Poaching Ex-Jets Starter: Analyst

Morgan Moses

Getty Former New York Jets right tackle Morgan Moses at 2021 NFL training camp.

Morgan Moses was always billed as a one-year signing for the New York Jets. The ultra-reliable right tackle needed to prove he could still play at age 30 and Gang Green needed depth behind Mekhi Becton and George Fant.

In the end, Becton went down immediately and the Moses signing paid major dividends as the best insurance policy money could buy. The Jets only guaranteed him $3.1 million but after 16 starts and over 1,000 offensive snaps, the blocker came away with $4.35 million in the bank.

The one-year excursion went down as a true win-win for both sides and although general manager Joe Douglas would have probably loved to re-sign Moses, his consistent play in 2021 priced him out of New York. That’s where the Baltimore Ravens came in, with a three-year, $15 million offer and starting job that the Jets simply could not match.

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Jets Lost a Good One

During an article on Bleacher Report, NFL analyst Alex Ballentine labeled Moses as one of the top-seven “most overlooked additions” in free agency. He explained:

Finding reliable help at the tackle position is usually a difficult proposition. The Baltimore Ravens found this out last season when they attempted to replace Orlando Brown Jr. with Alejandro Villanueva. That’s why there should have been dancing in the streets of Baltimore when the team signed Morgan Moses to a three-year, $15 million contract. Moses is 31 years old, but he hasn’t shown signs of aging just yet. He has played in every game since 2015 and only allowed four sacks with three penalties last season, per PFF. That’s a massive upgrade from the nine sacks allowed and 11 penalties Villanueva had while trying to switch to right tackle last season.

The unquestioned durability is the trait Jets fans will probably miss most, considering this franchise’s health issues over the years. Relying on Becton and Fant to stay on the field feels like a disaster waiting to happen considering the entire offensive line could crumble with a single injury. That is a scary thought heading into Zach Wilson’s sophomore campaign — more on this below.

After touting Moses’ strength as an “excellent run-blocker” in a run-heavy scheme, Ballentine concluded that “the Ravens’ ability to identify a good culture and scheme fit in Moses is likely to pay dividends even if the signing didn’t make headlines.”

The Jets will play Moses and the Ravens during Week 1 of the 2022 season.

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No Time to Gamble

Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh have not replaced Moses yet and the gravity of that risk feels more serious by the day. Becton showed up to minicamp at a questionable-looking weight and Fant has been absent most of the spring while negotiating a new contract.

Both are coming off surgeries and neither has ever logged a full season in terms of health.

The current depth is a developmental rookie — Max Mitchell — lackluster reserves like Conor McDermott or Chuma Edoga, and emergency option Alijah Vera-Tucker who logged some quality offensive tackle snaps at USC. Moses does not exist on this roster, but will that change before training camp?

The Jets had veteran offensive tackle Riley Reiff in the building but he left without a deal in place. A potential Reiff signing would be almost identical to Moses in 2021 — an experienced career-starter looking to reinvigorate his free-agent market off a one-year stint.

It’s also possible that the former 2012 first-round pick is holding out for a starting role that shakes free. Former Chiefs and Colts blocker Eric Fisher could be another option, as a similar age and talent level as Reiff. Then there’s a premier target like Duane Brown, who was recently ranked as the second-best free agent that’s still available despite turning 37 years old.

Quite frankly, it’s hard to see the former All-Pro left tackle agreeing to a backup role with the Jets at the tail-end of his career. Reiff and Fisher are more likely to be convinced.

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