Jets Prepared to Pay Absurd Money to Retain 6-Foot-6 Veteran: Report

George Fant Jets

Getty New York Jets offensive tackle George Fant walking off the field during training camp.

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas is smiling ear-to-ear this offseason knowing that he hit a home run with the addition of George Fant in free agency.

Now with the 29-year-old (who will be 30 by the start of the 2022 season) heading into a contract year, the Jets have some big business decisions to make.

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That Is Some Big Time Money

Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network shared that the Jets and Fant met up at the NFL combine “with the hopes of getting a deal done.”

Gang Green came to the table attempting to use the Charles Leno-Washington Commanders contract as a “barometer” for these negotiations.

That was a three-year deal for $37 million which averaged $12.33 million per season. That figure made Leno the 24th highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL.

However, according to Pauline, Fant is seeking a contract even bigger than the one Leno received. If he doesn’t get the contract he desires from the Jets this offseason Fant is “willing to roll the dice” and play out the 2022 season.

If he was to reach the open market in 2023, Pauline says Fant would be “in line” for a new deal that pays him over $18 million per season on a multi-year contract.

If Fant reached that figure, he would leapfrog into the top-eight highest-paid offensive tackles in the league.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Fant is without a doubt a great story. A former college basketball standout at Western Kentucky that attempted to live out his football dreams as an undrafted free agent back in 2016.

With the Seattle Seahawks, he served as a jumbo player and stepped in when called upon in the trenches. Eventually, he shook free and Douglas took a flier on him in free agency and the bet paid off as Fant developed into a more than reliable piece on the offensive line.

Now the Jets have a decision to make, do they hand Fant an absurd amount of money to be their left tackle of the future, or do they wait to see how things play out?

As Rich Cimini of ESPN noted in a recent column if a super-talented offensive lineman is available at the No. 4 overall pick “Douglas will not stray from his board, so an offensive lineman can’t be ruled out.”

Before the green and white make any long-term financial commitments, they should wait to see what happens in late April.

If a big man is available that they like, the Jets could select him and let all three of Fant, Mekhi Becton, and insert rookie battle it out in camp and let the best man win. Or they could immediately trade one of Fant/Becton after selecting a hog molly in the first round.

Long story short, the options are limitless for the Jets, and if they hand a big-money deal to Fant prior to the draft, they limit some of the things they can do this offseason.

The thing we do know is the Jets organization from top to bottom loves Fant. They like how he has developed and believe he can reach another level with another year in this system. Will that manifest its way into a big-money contract? We’ll have to wait and see.

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