The reconstruction of the Jets offensive line has begun.
Joe Douglas, general manager of Jets, watched some of the big names of offensive lines come out of the board on the first day of the free agency’s negotiation window on Monday, but he struck late in the day. The team agreed to a three-year, $ 30 million contract with George Fant, sources said. The deal includes guaranteed cash of $ 13.7 million.
Fant has played for the Seahawks for the past four years. The 27-year-old was a college basketball player in Western Kentucky and only played football for one year – in the end. Seattle signed him as a vacant free agent in 2016 and converted him to tackle. He made 24 regular starts over three seasons and missed the 2017 season with a torn ACL.
Fant made eight starts in 2019, including a playoff start against the Eagles. Fant played with the Seahawks both left and right. The Jets see him as a left attacker who can move right when they need him. Pro Football Focus rated him the 57th of 81 tackles they rated in 2019.
Fant will replace Kelvin Beachum, who started on the left in the last three seasons. Beachum is an unlimited free agent.
Fant is the first piece of a multi-stage conversion of the line for Douglas. According to league sources, the jets have informed the agents that their priority is the offensive line. They believe they need to be able to better protect quarterback Sam Darnold. It is understandable after seeing a line last year that allowed 52 sacks and contributed to a rush to number 31 in the NFL.
The jets could have three or four new starters on the line this year. Right Guardian Brian Winters is the only Lineman under contract to open last season as a starter.
It looked like the jets would close on the first day until the Fant deal just after 9 p.m. Many of the top linemen came off the board earlier in the day.
The first domino to fall was the patriots who used the franchise tag for Joe Thuney to prevent him from even entering the market. The jets were interested in the New England guard, but maybe they still didn’t reach its price.
Next, Tackle Jack Conklin signed a three-year, $ 42 million contract with the Browns. The Jets’ interest in Conklin has been overrated in recent weeks, but the former Titan was the top device on the market and the Jets had some interest.
The Broncos then signed a four-year, $ 44 million contract with security guard Graham Glasgow, who was a Jets target.
According to a source, the Jets spoke to security guard Alex Lewis about the return. Lewis launched 12 games for the Jets last year after arriving in a Ravens trade and played well.
Other locations where the jets were active are edge rusher, cornerback and wide receiver. According to a source, the Jets showed interest in Patriot’s free agent Kyle Van Noy, but Van Noy signed with the Dolphins.
NFL Network reported that the jets are also interested in Seahawk’s free agent Jadeveon Clowney, who is considered the best pass rusher on the market. Clowney is expected to receive more than $ 20 million a season, a price that makes the jets unlikely to be the team that lands him.
As for the leading pass rusher of 2019, the jets seem to be ready to leave Jordan Jenkins in free hand, according to one source. Jenkins, who had eight sacks last season, could end up with the Giants who showed interest in him.
The wide receiver Robby Anderson, the best free agent of the jets, was very quiet. The Jets are still hoping to sign Anderson again, but there was a belief that its price could rise out of their reach.
Anderson may be waiting for Cowboys Free Agent Amari Cooper to determine the market. Dallas is reportedly trying to re-sign Cooper, but it could be difficult. It seems unlikely that the jets would pay the salary that Cooper is likely to ask, but they have to think about it.
A broad recipient that the jets are interested in, according to a source, Patriots Free Agent Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett is not a No. 1 recipient, but could be a complementary piece. He had 29 catches for 397 yards and five touchdowns for New England last year.