With right tackle Mekhi Becton likely sidelined the entire season with a knee injury, the New York Jets settled a two-year, $22 million contract with offensive tackle Duane Brown, a five-time Pro Bowler, sources told ESPN.
The veteran free agent visited with the Jets over the weekend, attending their annual Green & White scrimmage at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets started courting Brown before Becton’s injury Monday. Initially, coach Robert Saleh said Brown would be a “bonus” because he was satisfied with his tackle situation, but that changed Monday night when Becton’s MRI revealed a chip fracture in his right kneecap.
Brown, who turns 37 on Aug. 30, has 203 career starts — all at left tackle. His position with the Jets has yet to be determined, a source said. It will be discussed once he arrives. He didn’t miss a start the past two seasons while playing for the Seattle Seahawks. He made the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement last season.
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Statistically, Brown performed well for the Seahawks. He finished 26th among offensive tackles in pass block win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
If Brown plays left tackle, George Fant will move back to right tackle, where he played in 2020.
The current backups are Conor McDermott and Chuma Edoga, neither of whom is a lock to make the final roster.
McDermott sprained his left ankle in the scrimmage and is expected to miss one to two weeks. The Jets also selected Max Mitchell in the fourth round of the 2022 draft.
On Wednesday, Saleh declared the right-tackle job an open competition. Chances are, Edoga (12 career starts) will start Friday night versus the Philadelphia Eagles, but he’s just a placeholder now that Brown is on the team.
“The most important thing — no offense to anyone else on the team — is to protect the quarterback,” Saleh said. “So, the person who’s best prepared to protect the quarterback will be out there.”
The Jets spent months looking for an experienced backup to Fant and Becton. In June, they visited with Riley Reiff, who wound up signing with the Chicago Bears. The sense of urgency was elevated with Becton’s injury, which occurred Monday.
Brown was arrested last month at Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon. He was booked on a misdemeanor charge and released after posting a $10,000 bond.
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