Jets Begin OTA’s; Three Biggest Storylines
The New York Jets have officially kicked off phase three of the offseason program with voluntary team activities.
Although some ways away from actual football being played, phase three is essential as the team can participate in 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills without pads or contact. Even without contact, these sessions allow players to run their offense/defense while working on timing and communication.
With all the excitement surrounding the New York Jets, here are three key storylines to watch over the next three weeks.
Does Quinnen Williams Get a New Contract?
In January, the Jets star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams made it known that he expects to receive a new deal during the offseason.
After a breakout 2022 campaign, Williams was named First-Team All-Pro and had a career-high 12 sacks coupled with 55 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Rumors have swirled that he is looking to secure a 25-30 million deal per year that would make him the second-highest-paid DT, only behind Aaron Donald.
Williams has watched three top defensive tackles get contract extensions during this offseason. Tennesee’s Jeffrey Simmons is getting 4 years for $94 million, while Washington’s Deron Payne and Giants’ Dexter Lawrence both got 4 years for $90 million.
Here are Production Numbers in comparison to Williams:
Production From Top DTs, 2019-22
|Source: ESPN Stats & Information|
Williams isn’t only a productive player but is one of the leaders of the Jets defense. So with a deal ‘not close’ and a return to practice not imminent, the question becomes, how much of a distraction will Williams’s absence cause?
Mekhi Becton Revenge Tour?
The Jets former 1st round pick in 2020, Mekhi Becton, has undoubtedly had a disappointing tenure up to this point. After a promising rookie year, Becton has now missed all but TWO quarters in the last two seasons.
Over the past two years, there has been plenty of criticism, mainly due to Becton’s inability to get into football shape. It was previously reported that heading into training camp last year, Becton was around 400 pounds.
But, this offseason seems different for Becton as he has completely transformed his body and is currently around “340 pounds”.
Becton has made it abundantly clear he wants to play at Left Tackle in 2023 and beyond. However, in a recent article via NY Post, Becton spoke about his unpleasant experience being forced to play right tackle during training camp in 2022, which he believes led to reinjuring his right knee.
A few weeks back, Becton took to Twitter and said, “I.AM.A.LEFT.TACKLE!!!”. When Head Coach Robert Saleh was asked about the tweet, he said, “Go earn it.”
37-year-old Duane Brown played 12 games for the Jets in 2022 with a torn rotator cuff and is currently penciled in as the starter at left tackle. But Becton will have every opportunity to regain his spot.
Now it’s up to Mekhi to make the most of his opportunity.
Aaron Rodgers Making Himself at Home
It is no surprise that Aaron Rodgers will be the headlining story from now until the end of the 2023 season.
After spending the last 18 seasons as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers has entered the Jets facility with one goal in mind. Not just to make the playoffs, something the Jets haven’t done since 2010, but to compete for a Super Bowl.
Rodgers, who has had a track record of not attending many voluntary offseason workouts, has prioritized being at all the practices up to this point. However, it will be interesting to see how many he continues to participate as he works on gaining chemistry with his new teammates and coaches.
Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have added pieces to help Rodgers’s transition go as smoothly as possible.
This offseason, they hired their new Offensive Coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, the OC in Green Bay during Rodgers back to back MVP seasons in 2021 and 2022. They also added wide receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, who spent multiple years with Rodgers in Green Bay.
The quicker Rodgers acclimates to his new environment, the better the Jets will be heading into the pressure-packed 2023 season.