If the Jets took one thing away from this past season other than the importance of quality quarterback play, it should have been how fast things can spin out of control without depth along the offensive line. Beleaguered by injuries, the Jets seemed to field a different offensive line combo every week in 2022. Even if the team plans on taking a tackle with one of their to two picks this offseason, that won’t be enough.
The Jets were hit particularly hard at tackle where they lost starter Mekhi Becton before the season kicked off. Becton’s replacement, Duane Brown then went down with an injury for several weeks before playing any meaningful snaps. In the end, the Jets would go through Becton, Brown, George Fant, Max Mitchell, Alijah Vera Tucker who had moved over from guard, Cedric Ogbuehi, Conor McDermott and Mike Remmers. That’s a total of eight offensive tackles playing significant snaps at one point or another.
Of that group, the only true tackle sure to return is Becton, whose injury woes are well-documented. Brown, at his advanced age, could consider retirement and Fant is due to become a free agent. Vera-Tucker will likely move back to guard, and the rest are already gone or likely to go. There are many moving parts for new offensive line coach Keith Carter to consider.
With this being the case, the Jets should consider bringing Fant back on a team-friendly deal. The tackle was hoping for a hefty pay raise after playing at a high level in 2021 but his injury-ravaged season all but guarantees that won’t be happening.
If that means Fant, who has played both left and right tackle, can return as a backup at both spots, the Jets would be foolish not to consider it.