Jets decline 5th-year option for Mekhi Becton: will be free agent in 2024 offseason

Jets tackle Mekhi Becton speaks to the media at the NFL football team's practice facility.
Jets tackle Mekhi Becton speaks to the media at the NFL football team’s practice facility.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

The deadline to decide for the New York Jets to pick up tackle Mekhi Becton’s 5th-year option has come and gone, and it appears the front office needs to see more from their potential starting right tackle. 

New York did not pick up Becton’s fifth-year option, making him a free agent after the 2023-24 season concludes – according to a report by Dianna Russini of ESPN. The tackle is the fifth player of the 2020 class to not have his option picked up at this current point, joining the likes of Chase Young, Javon Kinlaw, Jalen Reagor, and Kenneth Murray. 

Since being drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Becton has struggled with major injuries and weight concerns. He started 13 games in his rookie season before his season ended with an injury. After his rookie year, he was considered the second-best tackle of his class by Pro Football Focus. Since then, the Louisville product has only played in a single game since the 2021 season with a fractured kneecap and cartilage damage costing him the past two seasons. 

Becton has committed to the Jets’ offseason program since his 2022 campaign was cut before it could begin with his knee surgery. He’s reportedly shed a great deal of weight to better prepare for the 2023 season where New York is expected to end their 12-year playoff drought. 

The 24-year-old has also been posting videos of his workouts which have garnered the attention of his head coach. 

“I know he is posting videos. I mean he looks good, man. He’s doing all the right things. His mind’s in the right spot,” Robert Saleh said at NFL Meetings in March. 

All of that wasn’t enough though for the Jets to commit to a potential $13 million cap hit for a player that has participated in just one game over the last two seasons – whether it’s his fault or not. 

Becton is expected to be a free agent after the 2023 NFL season concludes. If his option had been given, the team would’ve had the rights to him for the next two seasons. 

Just because the team did not pick up the option on one of their younger players does not mean they have big plans for him in the future. It just means they want to see more of him before issuing a large cap hit. The New York Giants did the same thing to quarterback Daniel Jones before his career season in 2022 which lead to a lucrative extension. 

With the Jets’ decision to follow down that same path with their young tackle, it’ll be up to Becton now to show that he’s worthy of being a member of Gang Green for the remainder of his career. 

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