George Fant could still play vital Jets role despite losing starting tackle job

As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not...

As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.

No. 19: George Fant

Last year’s ranking: 18

Position: OT

Age on Opening Day: 29

How acquired: Signed a three-year, $27 million contract as a free agent on April 23, 2020.

Years left on contract: 2

2021 Salary Cap figure: $9.8 million

Looking back at 2020

Fant was part of the offensive line makeover by general manager Joe Douglas last year. When he was originally signed, he was viewed as a potential left tackle if the Jets decided not to draft one in the first round. They did end up doing that, with Mekhi Becton at No. 11, and Fant shifted to right tackle.

Fant started 14 games for the Jets and was a disappointment. It is hard to make a case that he was an upgrade over Brandon Shell, the previous year’s starter. Fant allowed three sacks during the season and was not able to get much of a push as a run blocker.

PFF graded Fant 64th out of 79 tackles. It is hard to find anything Fant did particularly well last year, but he was only penalized twice.

George Fant in a game against the Browns.
Getty Images

Outlook for 2021

This outlook changed greatly last week. Fant had been penciled in as the starting right tackle again until the Jets reached a deal with Morgan Moses. The Jets might try to sell this as a competition in training camp to soothe Fant’s ego and also avoid the embarrassing questions about paying a backup tackle an $8.5 million salary (unless it gets renegotiated). Even if the Jets tout this as a competition, Moses is the starting right tackle.

The Jets were content to stick with Fant this season until Washington cut Moses in May. Douglas saw an opportunity to upgrade at a reasonable price and took it. It is a smart move as Moses is a clear upgrade over Fant. Fant can now slide into the backup tackle spot on both sides. It is a critical position for the Jets, considering that Becton struggled to stay on the field as a rookie. Fant looks a lot better as a backup on this roster, but just not at his current price. Fant has $4.45 million of his salary guaranteed at the moment. The Jets surely will approach him about reducing his salary to a number closer to that.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Brian Costello

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