The New York Jets had a relatively quiet first day of free agency, as their only transaction of note was signing former Seahawks tackle George Fant to a three year, 30 million dollar deal to be their new left tackle.
The Fant contract tells you two things when you drill into the details, the Jets view him as a starting left tackle this season but potentially only for this season. This is a swing on a player with tremendous athleticism (he was regularly the Seahawks jumbo tight end in recent seasons) and upside but limited proven, consistent starting experience. The Jets can get out of this deal relatively easily after one year and are betting that Fant will be an upgrade over Kelvin Beachum, who is all but a goner now, with the potential to be more than a one year answer.
Seattle fans do not seem to hold Fant in high regard but this read should give Jets fans some optimism. Tons of Fant film will be poured over in the coming months and most is likely to net a similar conclusion: The raw talent and athleticism is there and the Jets are gambling they can maximize his ability in their scheme. There isn’t enough there to be sure he will be an upgrade over Beachum but the ceiling is higher, at least.
Elsewhere, long rumored target Jack Conklin went to the Cleveland Browns on a lower than expected deal. The New England Patriots franchised Joe Thuney. The Denver Broncos signed Graham Glasgow and the Jets were rumored to be interested in a bunch of meh old players like Greg Van Roten, Stefen Wisniewski, Chris Harris Jr and Prince Amukamara. The Dolphins went spend happy on Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson and Byron Jones and the Bills made a massive move to acquire Stefon Diggs to help out Josh Allen.
Jets fans don’t need to go into panic mode yet but they need to appreciate that Joe Douglas is climbing uphill to get players here in his debut season because of the organization’s struggles in recent years and because of his Head Coach. This turnaround will be built on the back of vastly improved drafting and targeted work in the middle tiers of free agency, although missing out on the top tier of free agent offensive linemen completely was a disappointment that will make Sam Darnold’s life harder. The Jets are probably the worst team in the AFC East right now on paper, particularly if New England brings Brady back, but there is a long offseason ahead.