Robert Saleh is not going to be pushed around by Mekhi Becton, the New York Jets’ massive offensive tackle.
So, when Becton posted a since-deleted tweet Saturday declaring “I. M. A. Left. Tackle!” the Jets coach had a swift and direct reply.
“Go win the left tackle,” Saleh said. “Competition.”
Robert Saleh on Mekhi Becton and the Jets’ left tackle position:
“Go earn the left tackle.” pic.twitter.com/6Ftr4ySRRz
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) May 6, 2023
The tweet was apparently posted in response to Saleh saying Friday that there’d be competition for both tackle positions. Becton was drafted in 2020 to be New York’s left tackle but he’s played only two games the past two seasons after 14 as rookie because of knee issues. The Jets chose not to pick up the fifth-year option on Becton’s contract this week.
Before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in training camp last summer, Becton was switched to right tackle in favor of George Fant on the left side. As it turned out, Fant shifted to right tackle when the Jets signed veteran Duane Brown to play left tackle after Becton’s injury. Brown has started 215 NFL games, each at left tackle.
The Jets have several good options at the tackle position, setting up serious summer competition. Brown is back after offseason shoulder surgery. Becton wants to start on the left side, so those two will compete there. Becton will also be challenged by Billy Turner and Max Mitchell at right tackle. This is expected to be a developmental year for fourth-round pick Carter Warren.
“Expectation for him is no different than for anyone else. Wake up, find a way to get better and maximize who you are every single day. And that’s it. That’s the expectation,” Saleh said of Becton. “If it leads to starting, if it leads to a left tackle position, it doesn’t matter. If you go to bed satisfied with the way you approached the day and the way you attacked it, then odds are it’s going to work out in your favor. If it doesn’t, you can at least go to bed with no regrets.”
Becton, who’s battled weight issues throughout his career, appears to be in excellent shape. He’s reportedly dropped more than 40 pounds and has drawn praise from teammates and Saleh.
“He looks good. He looks fantastic really,” Saleh said Friday. “He’s attacking this offseason the right way and I’m excited for him.”
Let the competitions begin.
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