Saturday, October 1, 2022

Duane Brown to sign with Jets: Arrival of five-time Pro Bowler fills gaping hole, but leaves one big question

The New York Jets had a gaping hole on their offensive line after losing Mekhi Becton to injury this week, and it looks like they might have just filled that hole in. 

CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson has reported that the Jets have agreed to terms with Duane Brown on a two-year deal. According to ESPN.com, the Brown’s contract with the team is worth a total of $22 million.  

Brown is a five-time Pro Bowler who was easily the best offensive lineman left on the market. The Jets had actually shown some interest in Brown before Becton’s injury with the 36-year-old visiting with the team on Aug. 6. Two days after that visit, Becton went down with a devastating knee injury during practice that will likely end up keeping him out for most of the season, if not the entire season. With Becton out, getting Brown under contract became an immediate priority for the Jets. 

With Brown headed to New York, the next step for the Jets is to figure out the big question of where he’s going to play. Becton was slotted in at right tackle, but Brown likely won’t want to play there since he’s spent his entire 15-year career at left tackle. 

Former Seahawks offensive line coach Mike Solari spent three seasons coaching Brown in Seattle and he doesn’t think it would make sense to move the big guy to the right side. 

“Could he do it? Yes, he has the essential qualities,” Solari told the New York Post this week. “But I think with what he gives on the left side, I would not move him from where he’s comfortable at this stage of his career. The adjustment I’d make is to move George [Fant] back to right because he’s played both.”

If the Jets move Brown to left tackle, that would mean moving Fant over to right tackle, which is something Fant might not be on board with. That being said, Fant and Brown did spend some time together as teammates in Seattle and during that span, Brown was the left tackle with Fant playing on the right side. Since the two guys have some familiarity with each other, that will likely make Fant more amicable to being moved. 

As for Brown, he’s going to be 37 on Aug. 30 and although he’s getting up there in age, Solari thinks the tackle still has plenty left in the tank. 

“He’s definitely got something left in the tank,” Solari said. “Great knee-bender, and what makes him elite is his athleticism and his change of direction. Very competitive, smart, leader on and off the field. He’d be an asset for the Jets in the sense of his play, his demeanor and his work ethic.”

Brown has been in the NFL since 2008, when the Texans made him the 26th overall pick in the draft. In the 15 years since then, he has played almost exclusively at left tackle. 

No matter where Brown plays, he was a much-needed addition who should be an instant upgrade to the Jets’ offensive line. The only issue with the signing of Brown is that there’s still a chance he could be punished by the NFL over an arrest last month. Back in July, Brown was charged with misdemeanor carrying of a concealed weapon after being arrested at Los Angeles International Airport. 

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