Jets Have Added Answers Except At Offensive Line, But That Might Change By Trade Deadline

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The New York Jets offense has enough stars to light Broadway but coach Robert Saleh’s unit right now features a lot of glitter and glamour but no glue.

No foundation.

No settled offensive line.

Many big names on the New York Jets offense. But what is missing?

Jets Have Stars But Tackles A Problem

So how is Aaron Rodgers going to chase his fifth MVP Award if he’s running for his life at age 39? How is Dalvin Cook going to show his one-year contract is anything more than a one-and-done deal if his blockers are a problem?

How are the Jets going to live up to Super Bowl expectations with a toilet bowl offensive line?

I have one idea. A good one. It’s one the Jets have actually discussed in passing, according to a source.

More on that in a few seconds.

First, the problems: Saleh told reporters weeks ago he wanted to have his starting offensive line set after the Jets preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. On Tuesday, three days after that Carolina game, the Jets were still unsettled and still tinkering with their line.

“Ideally, like I said before, would have wanted it done yesterday,” Saleh told reporters at the Jets Florham Park facility. “But we’re not quite there yet. So we’re still rotating guys to find the best five.”

The Jets offensive line will likely use Duane Brown as Plan A.
Duane Brown of the New York Jets talks to reporters after the teams OTAs at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on May 31, 2023 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Jets Counting On Duane Brown

Saleh then started to explain the multiple machinations of what the Jets are waiting for — actually, hoping for — so that the best five offensive lineman emerge.

That eventual clarity is necessary because the line seems to be in something of a fog.

Presumed left tackle Duane Brown is still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He has not practiced once because he hasn’t passed his physical after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

The Jets are privately hopeful Brown can return perhaps by the end of this week or next week, barring a setback. But even with no obstacles, Brown will come to the 2023 regular season at 38-years-old.

So the Jets are expecting to protect their 39-year-old quarterback’s blind side with a 38-year-old left tackle who missed most of the offseason and training camp while rehabilitating from surgery.

That sounds like more of a heavenly plea than an NFL plan.

Jets offensive line cannot rely on Mekhi Becton durability
Mekhi Becton of the New York Jets is helped off the field after being injured during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Mekhi Becton Durability A Concern

If Brown isn’t the answer for 17 games the team might turn to any of the other three players who have practiced at left tackle. One of those is 24-year-old Mekhi Becton, who is an enigma wrapped in a riddle tied together by surgery sutures.

Becton was drafted with the No. 11 overall selection in 2020 by GM Joe Douglas. But he’s played only 15 games in three seasons.

He missed all but one game in 2021 and missed all of 2022.

And, per multiple sources, he is often deeply concerned about his health and getting injured again. Perhaps that’s why Saleh has been bringing him along slowly, trying to build his confidence. The club currently views Becton as a backup plan at left tackle if the Brown Plan A falters.

“I’m proud of him,” Saleh said after Becton played 27 unremarkable snaps against the Panthers second- and third-string defensive line last weekend.

Saleh said he didn’t care what the tape suggested. That’s good because part of the tape showed Becton being at least partially responsible for allowing a sack.

Mekhi Becton was partially responsible for giving up a sack in the preseason game at Carolina.

David Bakhtiari A Possible Solution

So a possible solution: Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari.

It’s been reported Rodgers gave up $35 million in salary at the start of training camp, in part to give the Jets operating room to add more players. It’s been speculated the Cook addition was made possible because of that give-back.

In fact, Rodgers has privately mentioned Bakhtiari as a possible Jets addition. That has included to Bakhtiari himself, per a source.

The problem is Bakhtiari, a close friend of Rodgers, is the starting left tackle for the Green Bay Packers. He’s under contract this season and next.

A Bakhtiari addition for the Jets would have to come in a trade. That would be a rough move for the Packers. It would leave them with some $19 million in dead cap to absorb and no starting left tackle.

The move would, however, be a $2.25 million overall cap savings for Green Bay. And the Jets, all in to win this year and next, might be tempted to offer their 2024 third-round pick in exchange.

Aaron Rodgers is a 39 year old quarterback with no Jets blindside protector.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets attempts a pass during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on July 26, 2023 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers Would Love Bakhtiari Trade

But this is admittedly a long shot now despite the Packers and Jets having a recent history for doing business.

This move would be more plausible just before the Oct. 31 trade deadline. And that only if the Jets still have a left tackle concern and the Packers, for whatever reason, are ready to dispatch their highest-paid player.

Bakhtiari might also be on New York’s radar if he’s cut in a cap move after this season. That obviously wouldn’t solve issues this season.

And, again, the Jets have issues now.

Alijah Vera-Tucker may move to right tackle on Jets offensive line to protect Aaron Rodgers
New York Jets guard Alijah Vera-Tucker during the National Football League game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins on October 9, 2022 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jets Line Shift Possible

They’re putting out little fires on the offensive line almost daily. The latest is Alijah Vera-Tucker missing practice Tuesday. Saleh said he’s “day to day” as the team tries to resolve a lingering ankle issue.

The Jets view AVT, as they call him, as a likely Pro Bowl caliber guard. Except their need at right tackle might force them to move him there. That might send Connor McGovern, who has started 64 games at center the past four years, to guard.

And that might mean rookie Joe Tippmann starts at center. That could be interesting if he has to make line calls while Rodgers is making adjustments before the snap.

If it sounds like much is uncertain, that’s the point.

The team that believes it is competing for a Super Bowl berth has an apparent weak spot where most champions are usually strong.

Follow on X: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

One Comment

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  1. Yes, you’re a complete buffoon and idiot. The packers would want 2 1st round picks, they can’t give up 2024, that’s locked in with Rodgers so you give up 25 and 26 you’re a complete buffoon an idiot and if I owned out. Kick, i’d fire your ass.

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