Duane Brown

Jets Notes: Brown, Becton, Mims, Curry

Earlier today, the Jets turned a visit from offensive tackle Duane Brown into a two-year deal. He will fill an urgent roster void in the absence of Mekhi Becton, and could provide the team with high-level play if he maintains his Pro Bowl form of last season.

The veteran showed interest in joining the Jets not long after his free agent workout, something which comes as little surprise considering today’s news of a deal. Brown did have other options on the table, though. He had offers outside of New York, including “contending teams,” reports SNY’s Connor Hughes (Twitter link). He adds that Brown admits the playoffs are an unlikely target for the team in 2022, but that the 36-year-old wanted to head to the Big Apple.

Expectations have been raised for Robert Saleh‘s team this year; a campaign which doesn’t result in a postseason berth wouldn’t be considered a failure, but a significant step forward from last year’s 4-13 finish is considered the minimum performance. Brown could help stabilize the OT position, in turn giving a boost to the team’s offense.

Here are some other notes from East Rutherford:

  • The player Brown was signed to replace, Bectonis scheduled to undergo knee surgery next week (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). The 23-year-old was limited to one game last season, and is expected to be sidelined for all of 2022 after he suffered an avulsion fracture of his right kneecap. Per Rapoport, the procedure will be done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles; its success will go a long way to determining the former first-rounder’s health (and career future) moving forward.
  • Denzel Mims remains in trade talk. The 24-year-old wideout has had an underwhelming start to his NFL career, with only 31 catches in two years. He has frequently been named as a standout in training camp, though, something which could boost his trade stock. ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes that Mims could be the victim of a “numbers game” at the position, one which is headed in New York by Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson and Braxton Berrios“It’s up to them if they play me or not,” Mims said, when asked if he has earned a starting role.
  • In a similar vein, the Jets could be forced to move on from one or more notable names along the defensive line when roster cuts take place at the end of the month. Cimini names Vinny Curry as a cut candidate, given the team’s depth amongst other, younger options. Curry, 34, re-signed on a one-year deal in April, but since he missed the 2021 campaign due to a number of health issues, he has yet to play a game with the Jets. Unless the team opts against carrying three QBs, for instance, the Super Bowl winner could find himself on the outside looking in shortly.

Jets To Sign OT Duane Brown

Not long after visiting the team, Duane Brown is indeed joining the Jets. New York is signing the veteran offensive tackle to a two-year deal, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). He adds that the contract is worth $22MM (Twitter link).

Brown, 36, met with the Jets last week, leading to speculation that a contract could be forthcoming. The five-time Pro Bowler had been in Seattle since midway through the 2017 season. The Seahawks’ addition of Charles Cross with their first-round pick in this year’s draft left Brown on the open market deep into training camp.

Further reason for the Jets to add the Virginia Tech product came earlier this week, as it was learned that Mekhi Becton is dealing with another major knee injury which is expected to keep him sidelined for the entire 2022 campaign. With an opening needing to be filled quickly, Brown became a logical candidate to step into a starter’s role once again.

Given the fact that Becton will be under contract through at least 2023 (or one year beyond that, in the increasingly unlikely event the Jets exercise his fifth-year option), the fact that Brown is receiving a two-year deal is significant. He will, in all likelihood, slide into the left tackle spot which was set to go to George Fant for a second consecutive season, although Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets that no decision has been made yet. In any case, the former Seahawks teammates will form the bookends of New York’s o-line, which also added Laken Tomlinson on a lucrative free agent pact. How much the addition of the latter, and now Brown, affects Fant’s contact status with the Jets will be worth watching throughout the year.

As a Pro Bowl alternate last season, Brown demonstrated that he can still operate at a high level despite his age. The Jets will be counting on him to remain an effective blindside blocker for the immediate future. With Becton’s long-term health even more of a question mark, Brown could prove to be a wise stop-gap investment as the team looks to take a significant step forward on offense this year.

Jets’ Mekhi Becton Expected To Miss Season

AUGUST 9: More official word has come down on Becton’s injury. He suffered an avulsion fracture of the right kneecap, according to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The injury, Becton’s second kneecap issue in less than a year, is expected to sideline the former first-round pick throughout the season. Becton will receive a second opinion Wednesday, but it looks like he will be out until 2023. Robert Saleh also conceded Becton will not play this season. The Jets have Brown on their radar, and the 14-year veteran is interested in a deal.

AUGUST 8: It’s gone from bad to worse for the Jets and right tackle Mekhi Becton. According to SNY’s Connor Hughes (on Twitter), Becton suffered a knee cap and patella injury that is expected to sideline him for at least a “chunk” of the 2022 campaign, if not the entire season.

According to Aaron Wilson ofProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter), Becton suffered a “small chip-sized fracture” in his surgically repaired right knee. The lineman is set to undergo more tests to determine the true extent of his injured knee, but according to Hughes, the Jets are “bracing for the worst.”

The former first-round pick exited Jets practice today with the injury, but there wasn’t any initial cause for concern. Trainers described the injury as “stable,” and the MRI was merely precautionary and intended to confirm the original prognosis. However, that MRI ended up showing that the injury was far more troublesome than initially believed. In fact, there’s fear that Becton may have suffered additional damage beyond the knee cap and patella injuries, per Hughes (on Twitter).

This is poor timing for both Becton and the Jets. The lineman had already lost out on the left tackle competition to George Fant, but it sounds like the Jets were still committed to their former first-round pick as their right tackle. Ahead of an offseason decision about his fifth-year option, this was going to be a pivotal third year for Becton. The 11th-overall pick in the 2020 draft, Becton showed his potential in 14 games (13 starts) as a rookie. He suffered a dislocated kneecap and MCL damage during Week 1 of the 2021 campaign, knocking him out for the rest of the season.

Assuming the subsequent MRI confirms the Jets’ concerns, the front office may need to hustle to add a replacement. Backup Conor McDermott is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, and Chuma Edoga has yet to live up to his third-round billing through his first three seasons in the NFL. The Jets hosted Duane Brown last week, and while he left New York without a contract, ESPN’s Rich Cimini tweets that the veteran tackle is still on the organization’s radar. According to Hughes, the Jets already had Brown take a physical and meet with coaches, so it might not take long for the organization to ink the free agent to a contract.

Mutual Interest Between Jets, Duane Brown

Mekhi Becton‘s latest setback leaves the Jets vulnerable at tackle, and while the team let Riley Reiff join the Bears after hosting him on a visit, it may not be prepared to pass on Duane Brown.

The former Texans and Seahawks tackle remains on the Jets’ radar, after visiting the team Saturday, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) mutual interest exists between the parties. Other teams have shown interest in Brown, but he is waiting for a satisfactory offer.

[RELATED: Becton Dealing With Serious Knee Injury]

A 14-year veteran, Brown spent the past four-plus seasons as the Seahawks’ left tackle. Seattle selecting Charles Cross ninth overall closed Brown’s Pacific Northwest path, but the Jets appear to loom as a needy suitor. Becton’s injury news may well drive up Brown’s price. The team is believed to have an offer out, with SNY’s Connor Hughes noting (on Twitter) the ball is in the player’s court here. Other teams’ interest, which Hughes also confirms, and Becton’s injury are undoubtedly complicating matters for the Jets.

The Jets have George Fant preparing to play left tackle for a second season. That would position the former Seahawks backup for a potential windfall in 2023 free agency or via a Jets extension. With Becton’s career at a crossroads, Fant would seemingly become a higher Jets priority. Brown, 37, coming in and relocating Fant to the less lucrative right side would be an interesting development, especially considering the two were Seahawks teammates. Brown has been a left tackle throughout his career, making five Pro Bowls at the position. One of those came last season, albeit as an alternate.

But the Jets are now in need of a starting-caliber tackle. They considered Ikem Ekwonu at No. 4 overall but went with Sauce Gardner instead. Fant’s experience on both sides, having started opposite Becton at right tackle in 2020 and then moving to the left side opposite Morgan Moses, should prove valuable here. Moses signed with the Ravens this offseason. With Becton out of the picture, former third-round pick Chuma Edoga (12 career starts) is working as the team’s first-string right tackle, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets.

Jets’ Mekhi Becton Experiencing More Knee Issues

7:20pm: Becton’s knee injury is more concerning that originally believed, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). This is a new knee injury and isn’t related to the lineman’s previous knee issues, and both the player and organization should receiver some clarity on the severity tomorrow. As Connor Hughes of SNY tweets, there was initial optimism that Becton hadn’t even suffered a sprain, but a subsequent MRI revealed that the injury was worse than doctors initially thought.

3:27pm: The dislocated kneecap and MCL damage Mekhi Becton suffered in Week 1 of last season threw his career off track. Frequent rumors about his weight surfaced, and his stock within the Jets’ organization certainly plummeted. He has since been moved to right tackle.

Becton has now run into more knee trouble. He limped off a Jets practice field Monday and is going through an MRI, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Robert Saleh called the exam precautionary, but coupled with Becton’s history, this should sound some alarm bells for the Jets. This injury happened during the second play of an 11-on-11 period, per Cimini, who adds it came after Becton moved gingerly during individual drills.

Already wearing a bulky brace on his surgically repaired right knee, Becton is battling to stay a Jets starter. The team brought in Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown for a weekend visit, and George Fant has full-season experience at both left and right tackle. A scenario in which the Jets sign Brown and slide Fant to the right side appears to be in play. Brown visiting before this Becton setback is notable as well, as is the Jets’ consideration of Ikem Ekwonu with their No. 4 overall pick this April. The Jets remain interested in the former Texans and Seahawks blocker, per Cimini.

We’ll see if he does take time off,” Saleh said of Becton. “Obviously, you’re concerned for everyone. … You just don’t want to get into a deficit of conditioning. He’s a big man. He’s been working his tail off and he’s done everything he’s been asked to do. Hopefully, he checks out good like we think he’s going to and he can continue on this track. I think he’s going to be fine.”

Gang Green’s first-round pick in 2020, Becton did not participate in OTAs or minicamp. Becton is believed to have still been around 390 pounds at minicamp, and although the Louisville product shed some weight ahead of training camp, Cimini adds his June weight was a point of frustration for some in the organization. Arriving ahead of Adam Gase‘s final year as Jets HC, Becton has played just 14 of a possible 33 games as a pro and has not finished six more due to various issues.

Backup tackle Conor McDermott is also week-to-week with a sprained ankle, adding to the issues the Jets are experiencing up front. They also hosted Riley Reiff ahead of training camp, but the veteran tackle signed with the Bears recently.

OT Duane Brown Visiting Jets

Could Duane Brown be heading east? The veteran offensive tackle is visiting with the Jets and will attend their Green & White scrimmage tonight, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter).

Brown started all 17 games last season for Seattle and earned his first Pro Bowl nod since the 2017 campaign. He ended up ranking a respectable 37th among 83 eligible tackles on Pro Football Focus, with the site grading him pretty much the same for both pass blocking and run blocking.

Despite his performance, Brown remains unsigned in August. There have been rumblings throughout the offseason that the Seahawks could re-sign him, but that ship probably sailed once the team selected Mississippi State LT Charles Cross with the ninth-overall pick in the draft. The Panthers were also briefly connected to the soon-to-be 37-year-old lineman, but that’s about it for reported suitors. Off the field, Brown was arrested back in July after trying to go through security screening with a gun in one of his bags, and he was booked on possession of a concealed firearm.

The Seahawks had deployed Brown as Russell Wilson‘s blindside blocker since acquiring him in a trade with the Texans in October 2017. After starting each of his 133 games for Houston, Brown started all 70 of his appearances in Seattle. The five-time Pro Bowler missed 16 games between 2015 and 2019, but he hasn’t missed a start over the past two years.

The Jets have been seeking some offensive tackle depth. They previously had Riley Reiff in for a visit before he signed with the Bears. It sounds like George Fant won the LT competition and is going to head into the season as the starter, with Mekhi Becton being demoted to the RT spot. Fant underwent offseason knee injury, while Becton was limited to only one game in 2021 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Brown would provide an experienced and reliable option behind that duo, especially over the likes of rookie Max Mitchell, Chuma Edoga, and Conor McDermott.

Free Agent LT Duane Brown Arrested

Free agent left tackle Duane Brown was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at roughly 2pm on Saturday, per TMZ Sports. Police say that Brown tried to go through security screening with a gun in one of his bags, and he was booked on possession of a concealed firearm.

Brown, who will turn 37 in August, has long been one of the top left tackles in the game. Despite his strong 2021 performance, in which he enjoyed perfect attendance, earned the fifth Pro Bowl nod of his career, and rated as Pro Football Focus’ 37th-best OT out of 83 qualifiers, there has not been significant interest in his services this offseason.

The Seahawks had deployed Brown as Russell Wilson‘s blindside blocker since acquiring him in a trade with the Texans in October 2017, and Seattle was reportedly interested in a reunion earlier this year. However, that was when the ‘Hawks, who held the No. 9 overall pick in April’s draft, were not expected to have a chance to land a top collegiate tackle. Ultimately, the club selected Mississippi State LT Charles Cross with its first choice, and it appears that Cross will open his rookie season as the starter at left tackle.

Similarly, the Panthers were in pursuit of Brown back in March, but a deal never materialized. The door to a contract with Carolina may have closed when the Panthers drafted NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu with the No. 6 overall pick, although the team is reportedly not committing to Ekwonu — who lined up at guard in high school and at times during his college career — as the Week 1 LT starter. Carolina could bring in Brown on a one-year pact while Ekwonu gets his professional sea legs on the interior of the line, but that is merely speculation at this point.

One way or another, it would be surprising if Brown were unable to land a starting gig at some point this summer. Quality left tackles are hard to come by, and Brown demonstrated in 2021 that he still has gas in the tank. While his arrest could theoretically complicate matters, it presently does not seem as if it will have a dramatic effect on his NFL future.

We will update this story as more news becomes available.

Seahawks Open To Duane Brown Return, Interested In Trevor Penning

We heard in March that the Panthers were pursuing free agent LT Duane Brown, though nothing has materialized on that front just yet. Brown, who spent the last 4+ seasons as Russell Wilson‘s blindside blocker in Seattle, could still return to the Seahawks, according to head coach Pete Carroll (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times on Twitter).

While Carroll has said the door to a reunion remains open, Condotta expects the team to wait until after the draft (which is now just four days away) to make a decision with respect to Brown or other veteran OTs. Indeed, the Seahawks hold the No. 9 overall pick in the draft as a result of the trade that sent Wilson to the Broncos, and they may want to use that pick on a collegiate left tackle from a class that offers a great deal of high-upside talent at the position.

Alabama’s Evan Neal and NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu are widely expected to be off the board by the time Seattle is on the clock with its No. 9 selection, and none of the sources that Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network has spoken to believe that Mississippi State’s Charles Cross will fall past the Panthers’ No. 6 choice. Assuming the ‘Hawks do not have a chance to draft any of those players, Pauline hears that the team is prepared to pull the trigger on Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.

The small school product did not necessarily profile as a top-10 prospect at the start of draft season, but his stock has risen considerably since the Senior Bowl, and his 6-7, 321-pound frame certainly projects well to the professional ranks. And, although his FCS competition level should certainly be taken into account when evaluating his NFL future, Pro Football Focus’ analysis of Penning includes a 99.9 run-blocking grade, the highest mark that PFF has ever given out.

The Seahawks and Panthers are the only teams to be connected to Brown thus far this year, and if both clubs fill their LT vacancies with high-end rookies, one would assume that they would no longer be interested in the five-time Pro Bowler. Still, there will be teams with a left tackle need once the draft is over, and Brown should be able to find a starting role on a short-term contract despite the fact that he will turn 37 in August.

Panthers Pursuing LT Duane Brown

The free agent market for left tackles is starting to heat up. The Dolphins are reportedly chasing LT Terron Armstead, and the Panthers are pursuing the other top blindside blocker on the market, Duane Brown, as David Newton of ESPN.com tweets.

Brown, who will turn 37 in August, spent the first nine-plus years of his career with the Texans after Houston made him the No. 26 overall pick of the 2008 draft. That stint included three consecutive Pro Bowl selections (and a First Team All-Pro bid) from 2012-14, and he held out of the first seven contests of the 2017 campaign in search of a new contract. He ultimately suited up for one game for the Texans in 2017 before being shipped to the Seahawks in a pre-deadline swap in October of that year.

In July 2018, Brown secured a three-year, $36.5MM extension from the Seahawks, which kept him under club control through 2021. Last summer, he engaged in a “hold-in” in an effort to land another extension in advance of his platform season, and while he did not get it, Seattle did agree to convert some of his per game roster bonuses to guarantees while also offering an injury protection benefit for 2022. Ultimately, that restructuring did not matter too much, as Brown played in all 17 games en route to his fifth career Pro Bowl nod.

The Panthers have been aggressive in upgrading their offensive front this offseason, signing center Bradley Bozeman and guard Austin Corbett, but they are still in need of an LT. Carolina could ultimately upgrade that position in the draft, though the club may need to use its first-round selection on a QB since it missed out on Deshaun Watson.

Brown is obviously near the tail end of his career, but he has enjoyed perfect attendance in three of the last four years and has proven that he still has plenty left in the tank. Sam Darnold, or any other passer the Panthers put under center in 2022, would doubtlessly love to have him and Taylor Moton operating as bookends on the O-line.

It was reported at the end of February that the incumbent Seahawks were interested in re-signing Brown, but it’s unclear if a reunion is still in the cards. Of course, now that the ‘Hawks have traded QB Russell Wilson, it’s hard to say if Brown even wants to remain in the Emerald City. At the moment, though, Seattle’s Drew Lock-topped quarterback depth chart isn’t much less appealing (if at all) than Carolina’s Darnold-fronted crew, so Brown may wait to see what other options materialize unless the Panthers blow him away with the type of offer that he has been seeking for years.

Duane Brown In Seahawks’ 2022 Plans?

Duane Brown joined Jamal Adams in skipping Seahawks activities last summer and as a hold-in to start training camp. However, a restructured contract led Brown back onto the field. And the veteran left tackle played in all 17 Seahawks games last season.

The Seahawks again will face a decision on Brown, who resides as one of the NFL’s oldest players. The 36-year-old left tackle is on track for free agency, but the Seahawks appear interested in continuing this partnership. They are likely planning to re-sign Brown, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes.

A Pro Bowl alternate last season, Brown started every Seahawks game for the third time in his four full seasons with the team. The Seahawks extended Brown for three years and $34MM in the summer of 2018, but the veteran left tackle sought another contract last summer. Although Seattle did not extend Brown, the team’s compromise of additional guaranteed money and injury protection proved sufficient. Brown, a former Texans first-round pick who became a Seahawks trade addition in 2017, is now on track for free agency for the first time.

Russell Wilson backed the Seahawks keeping Brown in the fold last year. Although Wilson is again being mentioned in trade rumors, not too much has emerged on this front this year. Seattle’s roster also does not resemble a rebuilding team’s, which would make a Brown return logical. The Seahawks would likely appease Wilson by retaining Brown, who has started all 203 games he has played in his 14-year career.

Pro Football Focus slots Duane Brown as this year’s third-best left tackle free agent — behind Terron Armstead and Orlando Brown Jr. Armstead appears on track for free agency, but the Chiefs should be expected to use their franchise tag on Orlando Brown. Even approaching his late 30s, Duane Brown should still generate some interest on the market — if the Seahawks cannot complete an extension before the legal tampering period opens March 14. The Seahawks have nearly $35MM in projected cap space, ranking in the league’s top 10 here three-plus weeks away from free agency.