Could OT Mekhi Becton be a linchpin to the Jets' Super Bowl run in 2023? | You Pod to Win the Game

You Pod to Win the Game's Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein discuss New York Jets offensive tackle and 2020 first-round pick Mekhi Becton and whether or not he could be the key to the Jets' 2023 season. Becton has not been able to stay on the field the last few years, but after declining his fifth-year option, the Jets expect Becton to step up in a make-or-break season.

Video transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: Mekhi Becton, offensive tackle for the Jets, to me, is probably next to, like, Jordan Love, Chase Young, like, one of these really fascinating decisions that was made by the team. Really good rookie year from Mekhi Becton. Unfortunately, he's barely played the last two years.

There have been monumental injury issues. There have been weight concerns. He thinks he's a left tackle. The team's like, yeah, we'll believe it when you're on the field consistently and can actually prove that you're a left tackle.

Lot of-- just a lot of stuff there. But the talent was undeniable his rookie year. I remember at one point, there was another team that had taken a tackle in that draft, it was a tackle-rich draft, and they're like, oh, the Jets got the perennial All-Pro at, like, 13, wherever he was picked. And just how disappointed they were after that first year. And then it just kind of all falls apart.

But you know a tackle with talent, even if there's baggage, even if it's been a roller coaster, that's going to draw major bidders in free agency. The only problem is, and I think the Jets wonder this too, is we've already had not only the injury issues, but the weight issues that we haven't always been happy with.

Do we want to pay a player that we maybe don't even feel like we trust now or know exactly what he is? I can see why the Jets made this decision. I just think other teams-- if he plays through a healthy 2023, I could see other teams very tempted by what Becton would bring to the table.

JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, I think so. I think, again, he tweets in all caps, like, I am a left tackle. And then you have Robert Saleh ask pretty specifically about it, and he doesn't say, like, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's great. He says, go earn the left tackle. Competition.

And I think that's fair for Saleh to say. Yeah, like, you've been injured, stay healthy, which it seems like-- I believe there's reports that he's lost about 50 pounds. And so if that's the case, that could help with his weight. It could also change the way he needs to play. And so you sort of have a learning curve.

I think it's fair for the Jets to say that they want to play their best five. I think, in some ways, you've got, OK, even though Duane Brown comes in, he's going to be 38 by the time the season starts. He's also averaged over 14 and 1/2 starts the last five seasons, even at his age. And he's reliable.

I'm not saying he's got the high end that Becton's got. But if he's reliable, you've got Billy Turner coming in on the right side, and he's someone who Rodgers really trusted in Green Bay.

CHARLES ROBINSON: They need him. That's the crazy thing about this. The Jets really, really need him. They need him to play well, they need him to have a huge 2023. I think if he does have a huge 2023, I absolutely think they would franchise tag him.

I don't think, and this is-- I feel like I have a pretty good read inside the organization on this one, I think--

JORI EPSTEIN: I think you've proven that in recent months.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Hopefully. I would hope. The way they approach it is, like, let's probably not do a long-term deal. Let's take them through a tag. Like, let's go one more year. Like, what-- after what's happened, year one's great, two and three, failure, injury, weight, like, all these different negative things in the assessment.

Year four can be great, but you just can't count on year four being great. So OK, tag him. Take him through year five. See if the weight and conditioning stays consistent, right? See if the play level stays consistent. See if he stays healthy.

I would be stunned if he had a 2020-- a great 2023, I'd be stunned if they just ponied up a long-term extension or went hard in the paint on that. I think they would try to get a little bit longer advantage on him, pay him for a year and kind of see how it goes.

There's no question that they need him to play well in 2023. Aaron Rodgers needs him to play well in 2023.