Alijah Vera-Tucker

Jets Pick Up OL Alijah Vera-Tucker’s Fifth-Year Option

When healthy, Alijah Vera-Tucker has been a critical member of the Jets’ offensive line. His injury history led to some questions about whether or not the team would exercise his fifth-year option, but they have taken the expected route in this case.

[RELATED: Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Vera-Tucker’s 2025 option will be picked up, general manager Joe Douglas announced in his post-draft press conference. As a result of this decision, the 24-year-old will receive $15.31MM guaranteed that season. Considerable missed time prevented him from attaining a higher slot in terms of option value.

The USC product has split his time between guard and tackle with New York as the team has dealt with availability and performance issues up front. Vera-Tucker would ideally settle into a role on the interior, and the Jets’ actions so far this offseason suggest that will be possible moving forward. Tackle upgrades have been a priority for Douglas and Co. in free agency and the draft.

New York signed Tyron Smith to protect Aaron Rodgers‘ blindside, and the team reunited with Morgan Moses at the right tackle spot. Both veterans have dealt with injuries, though, and their age led to many believing a long-term investment would be needed this weekend. Indeed, New York used the No. 11 selection on Olu Fashanu. The Penn State product could see the field as a rookie if Smith and/or Moses miss time, but he profiles as a starter no later than 2025.

Vera-Tucker was limited to seven games in 2022, and this past season saw a repeat of considerable time spent on the sidelines. An Achilles tear ended his 2023 campaign, though he is expected to be healthy in time for the start of the regular season. In that case, the Jets would have a key member of their new-look offensive line in place ahead of the 2024 season, one in which better luck on the health front will be critical.

Across his three seasons to date, Vera-Tucker has drawn consistent PFF grades; run blocking in particular has been a strength. A healthy season in 2024 during which his level of performance was maintained could very well put him on the extension radar, but for now his intermediate future is clear.

2025 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2021 first-rounders. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternates) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag
  • Players who achieve any of the following will receive the average of the third-20th-highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position

With the deadline looming, we will use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($25.66MM): Exercised
  2. QB Zach Wilson, Broncos* ($22.41MM): Declined
  3. QB Trey Lance, Cowboys** ($22.41MM): Declined
  4. TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($10.88MM): Exercised
  5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals ($21.82MM): Exercised
  6. WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins ($15.59MM): Exercised
  7. T Penei Sewell, Lions ($19MM): Extended through 2029
  8. CB Jaycee Horn, Panthers ($12.47MM): Exercised
  9. CB Patrick Surtain, Broncos ($19.82MM): Exercised
  10. WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($15.59MM): Extended through 2028
  11. QB Justin Fields, Steelers*** ($25.66MM): Declined
  12. DE Micah Parsons, Cowboys ($21.32MM): Exercised
  13. T Rashawn Slater, Chargers ($19MM): Exercised
  14. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jets ($13.31MM): Exercised
  15. QB Mac Jones, Jaguars**** ($25.66MM): Declined
  16. LB Zaven Collins, Cardinals ($13.25MM): Declined
  17. T Alex Leatherwood, Raiders: N/A
  18. LB Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins ($13.3MM): Exercised
  19. LB Jamin Davis, Commanders ($14.48MM): Declined
  20. WR Kadarius Toney, Chiefs***** ($14.35MM): Declined
  21. DE Kwity Paye, Colts ($13.4MM): Exercised
  22. CB Caleb Farley, Titans ($12.47MM): Declined
  23. T Christian Darrisaw, Vikings ($16MM): Exercised
  24. RB Najee Harris, Steelers ($6.79MM): Declined
  25. RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($6.14MM): Exercised
  26. CB Greg Newsome, Browns ($13.38MM): To be exercised
  27. WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens ($14.35MM): N/A; extended through 2026
  28. DE Payton Turner, Saints ($13.39MM): Declined
  29. CB Eric Stokes, Packers ($12.47MM): Declined
  30. DE Greg Rousseau, Bills ($13.39MM): Exercised
  31. LB Odafe Oweh, Ravens ($13.25MM): Exercised
  32. LB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Buccaneers ($13.25MM): Declined

* = Jets traded Wilson on April 22, 2024
** = 49ers traded Lance on August 25, 2023
*** = Bears traded Fields on March 16, 2024
**** = Patriots traded Jones on March 10, 2024
***** = Giants traded Toney on October 27, 2022

AFC East Notes: Tua, Jets, Patriots, Miller

We previously heard that both the Dolphins and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa were hoping for speedy negotiations on an extension. However, it sounds like the two sides are temporarily pumping the brakes on a potential deal.

Daniel Oyefusi of The Miami Herald writes that while Tagovailoa’s next contract is the most “consequential matter” in Miami, it isn’t the most pressing. A source also made it clear that an agreement isn’t imminent and there’s “no rush” to finalize a deal.

When we last heard about the impending negotiations, there was a general sentiment that neither the Dolphins nor Tagovailoa wanted the extension talks to hang over training camp, much less the regular season. The two sides could simply be delaying talks until after free agency and the draft, which would still provide an ample amount of time to negotiate before practices start.

The former first-round pick is currently slated to play the 2024 season on a $23.17MM salary via the fifth-year option. Tua is coming off a career year where he set career highs in passing yards (4,624), touchdowns (29), and completion percentage (69.3). He also managed to get into all 17 games, a significant accomplishment after he missed 14 contests through his first three years in the NFL due to injuries and concussions.

More notes out of the AFC East…

  • The Jets recently added Mike Williams to their receivers room, but with the former Charger coming off a torn ACL, he won’t immediately be seen on the practice field. GM Joe Douglas told reporters that Williams will not be ready for the start of training camp, but there’s optimism that he’ll be good to go for Week 1 (per SNY’s Connor Hughes). Williams himself echoed that sentiment, telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that it’s his goal to be ready for the regular season opener.
  • Two more Jets injury updates, both coming on the offensive line. After being limited to five games last season thanks to an Achilles injury, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, coach Robert Saleh told reporters (via team reporter Caroline Hendershot). Meanwhile, new addition (and old friend) Morgan Moses revealed that he played through most of last season with a torn pec, telling the team’s website that he’s looking forward “to having two arms this year.”
  • While the Patriots have been busy re-signing their own free agents, the new regime is making it clear that they’re not following the same formula as Bill Belichick. ESPN’s Mike Reiss points to the recent release of special teams ace Chris Board, “who was a Belichick favorite.” While the former head coach/chief decision maker used to invest in top-of-the-market deals for key ST players, Reiss notes that new head coach Jerod Mayo and de facto GM Eliot Wolf “appear less willing.” Reiss also points to defensive back Myles Bryant, who “lost a top advocate in Belichick.” After spending the past four seasons in New England, Bryant remains unsigned, and the Patriots are only willing to bring him back if his salary is reflective of a “depth player” vs. a “key cog.”
  • After Von Miller was arrested on a domestic violence charge, the NFL considered suspending the Bills linebacker. However, commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters (including ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler) that a suspension “was not appropriate based on the facts,” although the case remains under review by the NFL. Miller told reporters in December that the allegations were “100% false.”

Jets Prefer Alijah Vera-Tucker At G; Team Wants To Re-Sign Greg Zuerlein, Thomas Morstead

This year’s free agency and draft outcomes may dictate where the Jets place Alijah Vera-Tucker, who has shuttled between guard and right tackle over the past two seasons. But the team does have a preference for the former first-round pick.

As injuries have piled up over the past two seasons, the Jets have opted to kick Vera-Tucker to right tackle. Not long after each move, a season-ending injury occurred. Joe Douglas praised Vera-Tucker’s versatility and noted it is a resource the team can use as it assembles its 2024 roster, but the team still wants the 2021 draftee to master one job.

Despite the Jets expressing interest in keeping Vera-Tucker at right tackle on a full-time basis,’s Rich Cimini points to an internal preference of the USC product returning to guard and staying there. The Jets have three starting spots to fill up front. If Vera-Tucker is moved back to guard, that mission will include two new tackles. Mekhi Becton is not expected to be re-signed.

Vera-Tucker has played fewer than 400 career snaps at RT, being moved because of injuries at tackle in the past two seasons. He suffered a torn triceps in 2022 and a torn Achilles last year; both injuries occurred in Denver. The Jets, who recently released Laken Tomlinson, will need AVT to remain upright as they break in a new O-line configuration following years of waiting on Becton to stay healthy.

Elsewhere on the Jets’ roster, they want to bring back both their 2023 specialists. The team would like to re-sign Greg Zuerlein and Thomas Morstead, Cimini adds. Zuerlein has been the Jets’ kicker for the past two seasons; he played out another one-year deal (worth $2.6MM) in 2023. Morstead came over on a one-year deal as well, rejoining the Jets after a season with the Dolphins.

After being a Cowboys cut in 2022, Zuerlein has settled in with the Jets. The former Rams specialist turned in his best season since an All-Pro 2017 campaign, making 35 of 38 field goal tries. The strong-legged kicker out of the Division II ranks is now a 12-year veteran who is now 36, but the Jets are interested in an all-late-30s ST corps. Morstead will turn 38 later this week.

The Jets are also interested in retaining Jordan Whitehead, but Cimini offers that the two-year safety starter does not qualify as a high priority. A six-year veteran, Whitehead is only going into his age-27 season. The former Buccaneers Super Bowl starter intercepted four passes and broke up nine more last season; he has six picks as a Jet. With Kyle Dugger and Antoine Winfield Jr. off the market, players like Whitehead stand to be a bit more appealing. The former Bucs fourth-rounder played out a two-year, $14.5MM deal.

Zuerlein and Morstead will certainly be much cheaper to retain, but if the Jets let Whitehead walk, they will need to fill a starting role. Tony Adams, who usurped Adrian Amos for the other starting role last year, remains under contract. Ashtyn Davis and Chuck Clark, a 2023 trade acquisition who missed the season due to injury, are also due for free agency.

Jets Not Expected To Re-Sign T Mekhi Becton; Latest On New York O-Line

FEBRUARY 29: Following up on his previous report, Pauline names the Titans and Falcons as teams to watch on the Becton front. Tennessee struggled up front last season, and at least one tackle addition will no doubt be a top priority for the team. Atlanta does not have a pressing vacancy along the O-line, but Pauline notes the team’s offensive line coach (Dwayne Ledford) worked with Becton in college. A prove-it deal sending him to either team in free agency could be in the cards as a result.

FEBRUARY 28: A January report indicated Mekhi Becton was likely to sign his second contract elsewhere. It now seems all but certain the former first-round pick will not be back with the Jets.

Buzz circulating around Becton for weeks has pointed to the injury-prone tackle signing a one-year deal with another team, Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline notes. The New York Post’s Brian Costello takes it a step further, indicating Becton and Duane Brown will not be back with the Jets. Brown, 38, played out a two-year, $20MM deal in New York but ran into injury trouble in both seasons.

[RELATED: Jets To Release G Laken Tomlinson]

Becton returned after missing 33 games from 2021-22, beginning the season at right tackle but seeing time on the left side due to other Jets injuries as well. While displaying tremendous confidence in his bounce-back ability last offseason, Becton did not distinguish himself — beyond a slimmed-down physique — in his contract year. Pro Football Focus slotted the 2020 first-rounder 66th among tackles, a downgrade from his last healthy season.

While it seems likely a team will give Becton a second chance — especially on a thin tackle market — the Louisville alum makes sense as a player who will need to prove it on a one-year deal before a big-money contract is considered down the line. Becton is still just 24, though his injury- and weight-related struggles will impact his market.

Elsewhere on Gang Green’s O-line, Costello adds the Jets have not decided on the positions of Alijah Vera-Tucker. The three-year veteran is in line to return as a starter, but Costello offers that the team may not have his position nailed down until after free agency. Drafted to play guard, Vera-Tucker has slid to right tackle in each of the past two seasons due to injuries elsewhere. While the Jets have been intrigued by the prospect of the 2021 first-rounder sticking at RT, Costello adds the team may view the position hopping as part of the reason for his back-to-back season-ending injuries.

With this free agency class far deeper at guard compared to tackle, the Jets targeting an inside starter and keeping Vera-Tucker outside could be the way they go about this. The team had previously viewed Vera-Tucker as a potential Pro Bowl-caliber guard, so it will be interesting to see how it arranges its pieces up front. Clarity from the draft also may be necessary, as the Jets are being linked closely to drafting a tackle in Round 1. By most accounts, they were prepared to do so last year (Broderick Jones) before the Steelers swooped in.

Additional uncertainty may exist regarding Joe Tippmann‘s position, but Costello adds the college center is likely to work in that role despite seeing regular guard duty in 2023. Drafted as the center of the future in last year’s second round, Tippmann deferred to the re-signed Connor McGovern. The latter is due for free agency, clearing a path here.

Rather into former Packers, the Jets will probably consider David Bakhtiari if/once Green Bay releases him. The former All-Pro tackle missed almost all of the 2021 and ’23 seasons due to knee trouble that came out of the New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear. A Bakhtiari-Jets partnership — a matter that has been considered since Aaron Rodgers‘ arrival — may only come about, per Costello, if the injury-prone talent accepts he would be in a competition for a job rather than handed the Jets’ LT post.

The 11-year veteran was in place as the Pack’s LT starter for two of Rodgers’ four MVP seasons, picking up five All-Pro honors himself. Though, the 32-year-old blocker’s five knee surgeries over the past three years have changed his career path. Regardless of Bakhtiari’s status, the Jets appear prepared to reshape their O-line in a high-stakes offseason for the franchise.

Jets Add T Dennis Kelly To Practice Squad

The Jets were the first team to meet with La’el Collins since the veteran right tackle hit free agency. While they may still be in play to sign the experienced starter, they are adding immediate insurance while Collins takes other visits.

Veteran Dennis Kelly is joining the Jets on a practice squad agreement, the team announced Wednesday morning. Kelly, who spent the 2020 season as the Titans’ full-time right tackle starter, worked out for the Jets last month. This move comes shortly after Alijah Vera-Tucker‘s Achilles tear; the guard/tackle is now on IR.

Kelly, 33, adds another potential stopgap option for the Jets, who have post-draft pickup Billy Turner on their roster. Max Mitchell was initially summoned to replace Vera-Tucker against the Broncos, logging 38 offensive snaps to Turner’s six. Kelly would stand to represent more insurance for the Jets, who have now placed two tackles on IR. Either Michell or Turner will be in line to start at right tackle in Week 6.

Vera-Tucker cannot be classified as a full-time tackle just yet, but the organization has discussed the prospect of shifting the former first-round guard to the edge on a full-time basis. That is on hold for now, with the USC alum facing another extended rehab timetable. Vera-Tucker suffered a triceps tear last year in Denver and returned this offseason back at right guard. Duane Brown‘s early-season injury prompted the Jets to slide Vera-Tucker back to right tackle, where he was playing when he went down last year.

Tackle issues have gripped the Jets for a bit now. Both Brown and then-starter George Fant missed time last season, and Mitchell’s rookie year ended early due to blood clots. Mekhi Becton missing 33 games from 2021-22 and needing an extensive rehab effort to make it back by training camp this year. Becton needed to miss a bit of time in Week 5, though he has started every Jets game — at both right tackle and then back on his preferred left side — this season.

A 12th-year veteran, Kelly has 54 starts on his resume. Ten of those came back in 2012, as an Eagles rookie, but he has mostly worked as a spot starter since. Kelly was technically a spot starter in 2020, with the Titans’ preferred right tackle option — first-rounder Isaiah Wilson — becoming a historic bust. En route to an AFC South title, Tennessee used Kelly as a 16-game starter that year. Kelly spent the 2021 season with the Packers and was with the Colts last year. The Eagles brought him back this summer but did not retain him on their 53-man roster or practice squad.

The Jets also signed wide receiver Irvin Charles to their active roster from the practice squad and added defensive end Elerson Smith to their P-squad. The team released defensive end Jalyn Holmes from its taxi squad.

Jets OL Alijah Vera-Tucker Suffers Torn Achilles

2:27pm: Further testing has, unexpectedly, revealed the worst-case scenario. Vera-Tucker has suffered a torn Achilles, Rapoport notes. The news confirms the 24-year-old will be sidelined for the rest of the season, and marks a massive blow to the team’s offensive line. At least one year remains on his rookie contract, but the team can keep him in place through 2025 if they elect to exercise his fifth-year option in the spring.

12:03pm: The Jets won what was dubbed the ‘Nathaniel Hackett Bowl’ on Sunday, delivering an impressive offensive performance in the process. The unit was dealt a notable blow on the injury front, however.

Alijah Vera-Tucker suffered a calf injury in Week 5, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Further testing is required, but Rapoport adds that an Achilles injury is not expected to be in play. Major injuries of the latter nature are usually known before an MRI confirms them, so a shorter-term absence should be expected in this case.

Still, losing Vera-Tucker for any stretch would be signficant for a Jets team which has struggled to find stability up front. The 2021 first-rounder took over at right tackle following the injury suffered by blindside blocker Duane Brown – something which forced Mekhi Becton to move to the LT spot. Vera-Tucker’s play at tackle (rather than guard) had prompted New York to consider a full-time switch. Those plans will now be put on hold, though.

The USC product had experience on the inside and outside coming out of college, and finding the ideal spot for him has been a talking point for the Jets amidst their struggles up front. Vera-Tucker played exclusively at left guard as a rookie, but he has split time at guard and tackle on the right side since then. Strong run blocking has led to overall PFF grades in the low 70s in 2022 and the early stages of this season. Comparative struggles in pass blocking (something which has plagued many Jets O-linemen) have, however, remained a constant in his young NFL career.

Becton’s ability to log an every-down role this season has been a welcomed development given his lengthy injury history, and much will be expected of him with Brown on injured reserve and Vera-Tucker set to miss time. MRI results will go a long way in determining how long the latter is sidelined, but even a brief absence would tax the Jets’ tackle depth even further. Veteran Billy Turner and 2022 fourth-rounder Max Mitchell – neither of whom have seen signficant playing time this year – would be in line to fill in for Vera-Tucker in the starting lineup.

Jets Considering Alijah Vera-Tucker Long-Term RT Stay

Considerable scrutiny followed the Jets’ offensive line this offseason, and the team’s shaky tackle foundation crumbled early. After spending several months rehabbing his previous injury, Duane Brown has a new one and is on IR. That forced a shakeup that may have a long-term impact.

Tackle injuries last year prompted the Jets to slide Alijah Vera-Tucker from guard to right tackle. Vera-Tucker soon suffered a season-ending triceps tear, and the Jets moved him back to guard this offseason. Back at right tackle after Brown’s latest injury, Vera-Tucker has started two games there. The Jets are now looking into the USC product remaining there in the long term.

Robert Saleh said he has spoken to the third-year blocker about moving to right tackle on a full-time basis, SNY’s Connor Hughes notes. Indicating Vera-Tucker looks “natural” at right tackle, the Jets are contemplating a big move. Citing Vera-Tucker’s potential as an All-Pro guard, the Jets had wanted to keep the 2021 first-rounder at the position he was drafted to play. But AVT’s early performance at right tackle looks to be changing the organization’s thinking.

Brown’s injury led the Jets to shift Mekhi Becton from right to left tackle, returning the 2020 first-round pick to the position he had been eager to play again. While Becton is one of the NFL’s biggest injury risks, the slimmed-down tackle has been available for each game this season. The Jets then inserted second-round rookie Joe Tippmann into the lineup at right guard alongside center Connor McGovern. Laken Tomlinson remains at left guard.

Vera-Tucker played left tackle during his final USC season, the COVID-19-truncated 2020 slate, but worked as a Trojans starting guard in 2019. Brown sustained a hip injury in September and is out until at least Week 7. Vera-Tucker remaining at tackle could keep the veteran blocker on the bench, unless the Jets want to demote Becton, who worked extensively with the second team before winning the right tackle gig to start the season.

The team does not have Becton, Brown or Billy Turner signed beyond 2023. Vera-Tucker would represent some tackle certainty for a club that largely lacks it. McGovern is also on a one-year deal, and Tippmann has been viewed as the team’s long-term center. The Jets will have major O-line decisions to make coming out of this season, but Vera-Tucker moving outside permanently would make guard a need in 2024. Vera-Tucker excelling at right tackle would also improve his earning potential. While two guard $20MM-per-year salaries exist (Quenton Nelson, Chris Lindstrom), right tackle features eight players at $17MM AAV compared to just two at guard.

Jets Place LT Duane Brown On IR

SEPTEMBER 24: Saleh’s comment about Becton’s position switch notwithstanding, SNY’s Connor Hughes reports it will be Becton taking over at left tackle. Right guard Alijah Vera-Tucker is shifting back to right tackle — a rumored move during training camp — and second-round pick Joe Tippmann is moving into the starting lineup at right guard.

The Jets had preferred to keep Vera-Tucker at guard, but the team’s long-running tackle problems will bring the 2021 first-rounder back to tackle. Becton spent the offseason insisting he would return to left tackle, his position as a rookie back in 2020. Becton criticized the Jets shifting him to right tackle last year but has been back at that post since midway through camp. This will be Becton’s first regular-season left tackle work since Week 1 of the 2021 season.

SEPTEMBER 23: Zach Wilson‘s second start in 2023 will come without the Jets’ starting blindside blocker in place. Left tackle Duane Brown has been ruled out for Week 3, per a team announcement.

The Jets have since placed Brown on IR, meaning he will miss at least the next four weeks. New York’s plan at the blindside will become increasingly important with Brown’s replacement(s) now tasked with filling in on a medium-term basis.

Brown has been dealing with hip a injury, and the ailment kept him out of practice this week. In spite of that, head coach Robert Saleh had expressed optimism Brown would be able to suit up on Sunday against the Patriots. Now that the team will be shorthanded up front, questions have been raised regarding who will fill in at the left tackle spot, with Mekhi Becton representing an option.

Pointing toward a right-to-left tackle switch being unlikely, however, Saleh said “[Becton’s] been practicing a certain way this entire week, so to move him at the last second would be irresponsible on our part” (h/t ESPN’s Rich Cimini).

Becton was moved to right tackle on a permanent basis this offseason after tensions over his usage last year came to a (rather public) head. After dealing with a litany of injury issues, the former first-rounder has been able to play every snap so far, though, an accomplishment in its own regard considering the missed time which has dominated his Jets tenure. Given Saleh’s expectation Brown would play tomorrow, it would indeed come as a surprise if the team elected to shift Becton to the blindside (where he was originally drafted to play) on short notice.

Presuming the Jets keep Becton at the RT spot, Billy Turner could find himself in the starting lineup tomorrow. The latter has 75 starts to his name, including seven last year with the Broncos. One of several players with ties to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Turner was brought in on a one-year deal to provide experienced tackle depth given the team’s uncertainty up front.

Turner last saw time at left tackle in 2020, though, so an adjustment period would be needed if he were to be called upon to man the blindside tomorrow. Likewise, swingman Max Mitchell‘s only time last season came at right tackle, so using him at the LT spot would mark a new endeavor for him. In any event, it will interesting to see how the Jets proceed along the O-line as they look to protect Wilson during his time at the helm.

Latest On Mekhi Becton, Jets’ Offensive Line

As the Jets’ months-long issue along the offensive line moves into the mainstream, via a brief Hard Knocks segment, the team still has not turned to Mekhi Becton as a first-stringer during training camp.

After showing promise as a rookie, Becton saw extensive injury troubles and weight issues sidetrack his career. The 2020 first-round pick has not played since Week 1 of the 2021 season, but he lost around 50 pounds this offseason. Becton criticized the Jets’ coaching staff for moving him to right tackle last year, a switch he believes led to his knee reinjury. But the talented blocker is now believed to be onboard with playing on the right side. The Jets are trying Becton at right tackle Thursday, Rich Cimini of tweets, marking the first time that has taken place during this year’s camp.

The Jets still have not used Becton as a first-stringer this year. Despite Duane Brown remaining on Gang Green’s active/PUP list, Becton has worked behind Billy Turner and Max Mitchell at tackle. Even as the team’s depleted front has struggled in joint practices with the Panthers and Buccaneers, Saleh is waiting on giving Becton extended run.

The biggest thing for Mekhi is to show that he can play a game without having to be spelled out,” Robert Saleh said, via the New York Post’s Brian Costello. “It’s unfair to the team to prepare a guy to start if you are not sure he can make it through a game. He is moving in the right direction.”

While Becton brings a much higher ceiling compared to Turner and Mitchell, his injury baggage is among the most extensive in recent NFL history. Missing nearly two full seasons, Becton also missed practice time earlier in camp and asked out of the Jets’ Hall of Fame Game. He did return to play 27 snaps against the Panthers last weekend, marking a good sign. The Jets may soon have no choice but to bump Becton into their starting lineup, given the state of their line. But Saleh continues to proceed cautiously.

As injuries mounted last season, the Jets shifted emerging guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to right tackle. The 2021 first-rounder suffered a season-ending triceps injury while at that position, but the team returned him to guard this offseason. The team is again considering Vera-Tucker at tackle, Saleh said (via Costello), though the third-year HC reminded that the team loves the USC alum at guard. Vera-Tucker has also missed recent time due to injury, along with the Jets’ other guard starter — Laken Tomlinson. Neither practiced against the Bucs on Wednesday.

Should the Jets try a “best five” scenario in Week 1, Cimini offers that Wes Schweitzer — who is competing with Connor McGovern at center — could be shifted to guard as Vera-Tucker slides back to right tackle. Although Schweitzer is competing at center, the ex-Atlanta and Washington starter has extensive guard experience. He started at right guard against Carolina last weekend. The Jets also have second-round rookie Joe Tippmann in the mix, rounding out a deep O-line interior on a team that has faced tackle questions for months.

While Saleh has said Vera-Tucker has All-Pro potential at guard, urgency to place a competent line in front of Aaron Rodgers may supersede the team’s long-term plan for the third-year blocker. As for Brown, Saleh said the team’s preferred left tackle option is moving closer to a return from offseason shoulder surgery.