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Did Jets Overpay for Free Agent Lineman?

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George Fant

Right now if you’re a New York Jets fan, there’s plenty of reason to expect a better product as the 2020 season approaches due largely to having a re-built offensive line.  The Jets have a new left tackle in Mekhi Becton, a new center in Connor McGovern and lots of competition at right guard (Brian Winters, Greg Van Roten, Cameron Clark) and right tackle (Chuma Edoga, George Fant, Clark).

There are plenty of options but also several questions for those who should be battling it out on the right side of the line, but there’s one in particular that stands out above the others.  Is George Fant a legitimate starting offensive lineman or will he end up being an overpriced backup?

Fant comes with a fairly hefty $7.2 million cap hit which may not sound like much for a starting tackle, but a starting tackle is something Fant hasn’t been for a couple of years, when he last did it regularly he was among the worst in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

In 2016, Fant played a career high 664 snaps, earning an overall grade of 47.2 from PFF, placing him 60th out of 62 tackles who played at least 650 snaps that year.  On our own film review of Fant from a couple of seasons ago, the 2016 version was often caught off-balance and looked out of place.

Since that time, Fant has been a part time starter who rarely plays all of his team’s snaps.  A quick glance at his stat line shows that Fant started 7 games in 2019 for the Seahawks.  In all reality, several of those were the result of being on the field as an extra blocker on the team’s first offensive play.  Of those 7 starts, Fant played every snap just 3 times in 2019 and only once in 2018 despite also being listed as having started seven games.

Fant in the run game. Think Le'Veon Bell would welcome this? pic.twitter.com/KizyhLw55x

— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) May 13, 2020

If there’s one positive to take from Fant’s 2019 it would undoubtedly be his week 17 performance against the San Francisco 49ers when he neutralized one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Nick Bosa.  This was one of the few weeks that saw Fant play every snap and he held up well enough that you have to wonder if it was that single contest that earned him a big pay day.

Have to wonder how much this one game led to George Fant getting paid. Started at LT for Seattle against SF and neutralized Nick Bosa and others. Very strong showing. pic.twitter.com/sH1hu3XMGz

— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) May 13, 2020

 

On the downside, Fant struggled the following week in the playoffs in a win against the Philadelphia Eagles before playing just seven snaps the following week against the Packers.

His off-the-charts agility and salary probably make him a lock to start, but should Fant have a difficult time winning and keeping a starting job for the Jets in 2020, they’ll be looking at carrying a backup player with a starter’s salary.  Here’s to hoping the Jets get something closer to the Fant that showed up versus Bosa in place of the one that was benched two weeks later.

 

 

 

The post Did Jets Overpay for Free Agent Lineman? appeared first on JetNation.com (NY Jets Blog & Forum).

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1 minute ago, T0mShane said:

Fant was definitely a leap of faith and a head-scratcher. It’s possible that Douglas wasn’t sure he could get his tackle in round one this year, but to throw big money, early, at Fant was weird

Probably the only move this offseason that I didn't like.  If Fant is no better than he was a couple years ago, it's a ton of money for a guy to not play or be a blocking TE. 

However, if he plays the way he did against SF in wk 17, it's a bargain.

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I hope I'm wrong but Fant should have never been signed to this roster not to mention WAY over paying him. 

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Percentage of Seahawks offensive snaps played for Fant over his last 3 seasons with Seattle:

2016: 63%

2018: 35%

2019: 43%

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5 hours ago, T0mShane said:

Fant was definitely a leap of faith and a head-scratcher. It’s possible that Douglas wasn’t sure he could get his tackle in round one this year, but to throw big money, early, at Fant was weird

He lost out on Conklin, knew he needed a Tackle - panicked and over promised and over paid for Fant..  it was a rookie mistake.  Hope he learned from it.

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2 hours ago, Irish Jet said:

Fant will be the most hated player on this forum by mid season.

Trash.

That might actually end up being Bechton.

People are expecting way too much from a mid-tier college pass blocker.  He was always a risky pick, with relatively bad form -  that needed a lot of work. He’s going to make a lot of mistakes as he learns. 

Expectations are way too high and we’re going to have a lot of fans that will turn quickly.

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5 hours ago, T0mShane said:

Fant was definitely a leap of faith and a head-scratcher. It’s possible that Douglas wasn’t sure he could get his tackle in round one this year, but to throw big money, early, at Fant was weird

Yup.  It’s a fairly pricey one year try out for an older but believed to be ascending player.

Fant played 42% of snaps last year so there’s enough sample size and a couple years ago won the LT spot, tore his ACL and Seattle then acquired Duane Brown. 
 

I think we signed Fant right after losing out on Conklin so perhaps some desperation but worst case scenario is Edoga wins and should be improved though that’s not saying much as he went back and forth between decent and overwhelmed.  Fant is an easy cut after 2020 if he doesn’t ball out. If he locks it down he has a 3 year contract. 
 

I trust JD on OL moves like this and as cautiously optimistic but also happy it can’t be worse than last year with Edoga starting if need be. 
 

im curious who the backup LT will be, whether it’s be Edoga or maybe even the rookie Clarke.  Also really hope Becton nails down the left side from the get.

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9 minutes ago, Drums said:

I’m in the minority but I think Fant will be better than people think. And I’m pretty happy with GVR and McGovern. 

Alex Lewis is pencilled in as starting LG but he wasn’t great last year (tho shockingly he was our best OL last year). I’d imagine Clarke is the main competition there.

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Just now, David Harris said:

I mean I think you’re right about growing pains but the two words that come to mind are Kelvin Beachum.  I mean what an unathletic way below average starting Left Tackle. The fans were ok having him last year and I really can’t see Becton being worse than him. At least Edge guys will have to go around Mekhi. 
 

I rewatched the dolphins game last year and saw Beachum do a pass set after he had shuffle stepped (untouched) at an angle directly back into Sam dropping back- the edge was 90% to Sam before first contact and a little nudge put Beachums back right into Sam’s chest. 
 

OL was so horrendous last year that I think the fans will forgive a rookie. Brick took 2-3 years to develop his skinny ass.

 

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7 minutes ago, David Harris said:

I mean I think you’re right about growing pains but the two words that come to mind are Kelvin Beachum.  I mean what an unathletic way below average starting Left Tackle. The fans were ok having him last year and I really can’t see Becton being worse than him. At least Edge guys will have to go around Mekhi. 
 

I rewatched the dolphins game last year and saw Beachum do a pass set after he had shiffle stepped (untouched) at an angle directly back into Sam dropping back- the edge was 90% to Sam before first contact and a little nudge put Beachums back right into Sam’s chest. 
 

OL was so horrendous last year that I think the fans will forgive a rookie. Brick took 2-3 years to develop his skinny ass.

7th round draft pick and #11 overall is a big difference.  All I’m saying is expectations are waaaay too high for this kid right now.  I’m not saying he’ll be worse than Beachum - I think he’ll be better...but expectations are everything.  He’s going to have games where he’s getting beat regularly and this fan base has very little patience.

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21 minutes ago, David Harris said:

Fant played 42% of snaps last year so there’s enough sample size and a couple years ago won the LT spot, tore his ACL and Seattle then acquired Duane Brown. 

That sample size is deceptive because much of it was as a blocking TE.

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Fant is the only thing right now keeping Edoga from being a must-start at RT.  He may or may not turn out to be a good Tackle, but we desperately needed competition and there wasn't much out there.  If he's better than Shell, then it's a decent move.  Not sure if he's a better choice than bringing Beachum back, but he's younger so there's probably a bit more upside.  I can't kill the move given how things looked at the time.

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1 minute ago, Jet Nut said:

Or he knows a lot more as a former OL and a personnel guy/GM than we do and this is completely wrong

People who had no idea who Fant was complaining that we overpaid and that he'll be hated before seeing him play one down of football.  Yeah

This isn’t a rookie or second year guy.  He’s a fifth year player that has been nothing but a back-up and a back-up on a sh—ty line.

How often do 5th year guys that have mostly sucked their entire career become good?  I can’t recall it ever happening.  

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21 minutes ago, Jet Nut said:

Or he knows a lot more as a former OL and a personnel guy/GM than we do and this is completely wrong

People who had no idea who Fant was complaining that we overpaid and that he'll be hated before seeing him play one down of football.  Yeah

Did you miss the kalil debacle last year?

Fant stunk in seattle, i know this by watching him when he played and the fact he got demoted on more than one occasion on a team with a suspect oline

Oh he looks the part, size and mobility but he is simply not a good player.  He will be a backup by the end of next year.

 

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3 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

This isn’t a rookie or second year guy.  He’s a fifth year player that has been nothing but a back-up and a back-up on a sh—ty line.

How often do 5th year guys that have mostly sucked their entire career become good?  I can’t recall it ever happening.  

Hes a converted basketball player who was injured after winning the T spot on a good team.  Then played really well when asked to play LT a year ago.  

How often do 5th year players when they finally get to play shine?  Happens.

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Just now, Jet Nut said:

Hes a converted basketball player who was injured after winning the T spot on a good team.  Then played really well when asked to play LT a year ago.  

How often do 5th year players when they finally get to play shine?  Happens.

I do really appreciate your optimism.  After all these years of disappointment I’ve become more or a realistic.  Sure, he can figure it out in year 5 or and far and away more likely, he will be a bad OT - that is almost certainly a downgrade to shell.  

 

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Can Fant only play the left side?

I understand him backing up Duane Brown on the left side, but why couldn't he play RT for the Hawks, Germaine Ifedi was the starting RT and he wasn't good and got paid much less than Fant this offseason.

Paying 10 mil to a backup LT who can only play 1 side is highly questionable. I guess it makes sense with Becton playing RT early on.

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3 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

Did you miss the kalil debacle last year?

Fant stunk in seattle, i know this by watching him when he played and the fact he got demoted on more than one occasion on a tam with a suspect oline

Oh he looks the part, size and mobility but he is simply not a good player.  He will be a backup by the end of next year.

 

You still dont understand that desperate situation and why he took a chance on Kalil?

Fant dient stink in Seattle, he start for Brown and played well.  

Should they just bench him now?  I mean hes headed there anyway. Or will we find a really good T and he gets pushed to the bench?

Again, who cares, you paying him for one season?  If he gets beat out, he gets beat out.  

 

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1 hour ago, FidelioJet said:

He lost out on Conklin, knew he needed a Tackle - panicked and over promised and over paid for Fant..  it was a rookie mistake.  Hope he learned from it.

But you don’t really know that yet.

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1 hour ago, FidelioJet said:

He lost out on Conklin, knew he needed a Tackle - panicked and over promised and over paid for Fant..  it was a rookie mistake.  Hope he learned from it.

You don’t know that yet.

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3 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

Yeah I do.

Your track record of being right  isn’t too good 😂 

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4 minutes ago, Sammybighead said:

Aren't all these guys essentially on 1 years deals? How is that overpaying?

Because that same money could have been paid elsewhere.

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8 hours ago, JetNation said:

If there’s one positive to take from Fant’s 2019 it would undoubtedly be his week 17 performance against the San Francisco 49ers when he neutralized one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Nick Bosa.  This was one of the few weeks that saw Fant play every snap and he held up well enough that you have to wonder if it was that single contest that earned him a big pay day.

That was the first time I watched Fant play and he pushed Bosa around like a little girl. I then watched an interview with him and was impressed. He was stuck in a bad situation behind established starters mostly playing a sixth OT in rushing situations and reported tackle eligible every time he was put in. When he got the opportunity due to injuries he looked good on the LT. An excellent athlete that has good B-Ball skills that I hope translates to a O tackle position.

I have high hopes that he'll turn out to be an anchor on the Jets rebuilt OL. My only reservation is that he wants to play LT and I think that belongs to Becton and I hope Fant can make the transition to RT.

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