With the deadline for NFL franchises to pick up the fifth-year option on their 2020 first-round draft picks being ended, the New York Jets have made up their mind not to exercise the fifth-year option for tackle Mekhi Becton for the 2024 season.
Betcon was selected by the Jets in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 11th overall pick and will now join Duane Brown, Max Mitchell, Billy Turner, and Cedric Ogbuehi as the starting right tackle spot for Gang Green this season.
The Jets opt against exercising the fifth-year option on OT Mekhi Becton
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Jets has opted to decline OT Mekhi Becton’s fifth-year option worth a total of $13.575 million for the 2024 season, leading him to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2023-24 NFL season.
After putting together a highlight reel of blocks as a rookie, the former Louisville star OT has played just 15 games in three years and just one in the past two seasons.
The 24-year-old was plagued by injuries as he suffered a knee cap dislocation and MCL sprain in the first week of the 2021 season against the Panthers and an avulsion fracture of the knee cap during training camp just before the 2022 season.
The mammoth tackle tipped the scales at close to 400 pounds at one point, however, he reportedly lost about 50 pounds this offseason and appeared to become much slimmer when he was snapped talking to reporters in the locker room the day after last season ended.
With the fifth-year option declined, Mekhi is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season, however, there have been many examples in recent years of franchises declining fifth-year options of players to enroll them for the following seasons.
The New York Giants exercised this technique recently by signing young QB Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million deal less than one year after declining his fifth-year option. The Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings did the same with their respective players: left tackle Garrett Bolles and center Garrett Bradbury.
Now, it remains to be seen whether Becton will be able to rebound from the earlier form and earn a new contract with the Jets or another team.