Jets tackle Mekhi Becton has been very vocal over the last month.
First, he made it known on social media what his preferred position is. Then he blamed the Jets coaching staff for his injury a season ago in a recent interview with Newsday.
Before their first OTA practice session opened to the media, Jets coach Robert Saleh was asked about Becton’s opinion about the coaching staff playing him out of position.
“I’m not going to get into the negative of all that,” Saleh said Tuesday. “It’s not about finger-pointing.
“What I’m focused on [is] over the last six months Mekhi has done an unbelievable job getting his weight down towards a healthy weight that’s sustainable. He’s been available during OTAs, he’s been prompt and very diligent in regards to meetings. I think he’s probably in the best shape of his life.
“Whatever happened has happened in the past and it’s not about finger-pointing. It’s about moving forward and if he keeps approaching this offseason the way that he has and keeps attacking the way he has, I’m excited to see what he does with his fourth year.”
Becton told Newsday that it made “no sense to put him at right tackle” during last year’s training camp. Last August, Becton suffered his second consecutive right knee injury. He also said his knee “didn’t feel right during training camp.”
Because of the back-to-back injuries, Becton has been limited to just one game during the last two years after starting 13 games during his rookie season in 2020. The Jets declined Becton’s fifth-year option earlier this month so this will be the final year of his rookie contract that will pay him $5.9 million.
Becton did not practice on Tuesday, as Saleh said he is still going through the protocols. He was seen working on the side doing individual work. Becton’s weight isn’t a question this offseason, as he has lost more than 50 pounds since last year after working with a new trainer.
He will have to compete for the starting tackle position this summer as Duane Brown, who started 12 games last year, could be the Jets left tackle once again.
That could force Becton to play right tackle, but he would have to compete there with Max Mitchell, Carter Warren and Billy Turner. During rookie minicamp in early May, Becton tweeted, “I. AM. A. LEFT. TACKLE!!!” He later deleted the tweet.
“The good thing is we have a lot of really good tackles right now that are competing to be one of the two tackles on the football field,” Saleh said. “It will be a good healthy competition and those who will attack it with the right mindset will enjoy the benefits.”