George Fant

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/7/23

Today’s minor transactions heading into the final Sunday of the regular season:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Promoted from practice squad: WR Josh Ali

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jets Activate T George Fant, Place T Cedric Ogbuehi On IR

The Jets continued the dance between tackles George Fant and Cedric Ogbuehi today activating Fant from injured reserve and placing Ogbuehi on IR, according to the team’s Twitter account. The loss of Ogbuehi should be alleviated by Fant, whom the former tackle was originally brought in to help replace.

Fant began the year as the team’s starter at left tackle while current starter Duane Brown dealt with a shoulder injury. Three games into the season, Fant was placed on IR with a knee injury, leading to the signing of Ogbuehi off of the Texans practice squad. Ogbuehi would eventually crack the starting lineup after an injury to Alijah Vera-Tucker and has served as New York’s starting right tackle for the last four games.

In last week’s win over the Bears, Ogbuehi suffered a groin injury early that would take him out for the remainder of the game. Jets rookie fourth-round pick Max Mitchell, who started the first four games of the year before injuring his knee, came in for the injured Ogbuehi last weekend. With Fant back in the picture, it’s unclear whether he or Mitchell will get the nod to start this week opposite Brown. Regardless, it’s a good problem to have as the Jets offensive line continues to work towards full health after a catastrophic first few weeks of the season.

In addition to the offensive lineman exchange, the Jets announced they are promoting linebacker Hamsah Nasirildeen from the practice squad as a standard gameday elevation for tomorrow’s matchup in Minnesota. This is the third time Nasirildeen has been elevated, meaning that, if the Jets wish to bring him up again, the team will have to sign him to the active roster as an official member of the 53-man roster.

Jets Designate T George Fant For Return

The Jets opted against blocking the Patriots from poaching practice squad tackle Conor McDermott on Tuesday. That transaction preceded good news on the injury front for New York.

George Fant is back at practice Wednesday. The Jets have started the veteran tackle’s IR-return clock, which gives the team three weeks to move him back onto the 53-man roster. Fant has been out since Week 3. The Jets are in good shape, activation-wise, with six such moves remaining.

A knee injury led to Fant being shut down. While Fant attempted to play through the malady during a rough day against the Bengals, he did not finish that game and was soon shelved. Fant has dealt with knee trouble for a bit now. He went down with a knee injury late last season and began training camp on the Jets’ active/PUP list as a result.

Fant’s return would be a boon for an offense that has played without its optimal tackle arrangement all season. The team aimed at having Fant at left tackle and Mekhi Becton on the right side, but Becton’s season-ending avulsion fracture soon nixed that. Gang Green then planned on having Fant move back to right tackle to play opposite Duane Brown. The latter’s preseason injury scrapped that concept. Fant’s injury then prompted the team to move second-year guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to tackle, but Vera-Tucker is now out for the season.

Brown and Fant have yet to play together in New York. Should Fant return to action, the former Seahawks teammates will be slated to start together as Jets tackles — at long last. Although the Jets signed Mike Remmers as tackle insurance, they have used fellow in-season pickup Cedric Ogbuehi — signed off the Texans’ practice squad in late September — as their right-side starter during Fant’s absence.

From 2020-21, Fant was a Jets constant at tackle. The ex-college basketball player and ex-Seahawks swingman started at right tackle in 2020 and left tackle, replacing an injured Becton, in 2021. Extension buzz circulated this offseason, but no deal came to fruition. The Jets’ plan to have Fant play on the left side set up the prospect of a considerable raise for the 30-year-old blocker, but Brown’s arrival — on a two-year, $20MM deal — and the knee injury changed the equation for the third-year Jet.

The Jets can activate Fant this week. Moving the veteran back into the lineup in place of Ogbuehi would stand to help new starting quarterback Mike White, who has not taken a snap yet this season.

Jets Place T George Fant On IR

A lingering knee injury forced George Fant out of Sunday’s Jets-Bengals game, and the issue will sideline Fant for a while. The Jets placed the veteran tackle on IR Tuesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

This moves yet another high-profile Jets tackle off the active roster. Fant’s IR shift follows the transactions that sent Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown to the injured list. While Brown will be eligible to return in Week 5, Fant is shut down until at least Week 8.

Robert Saleh classified Fant as “day to day” Monday. Instead, Fant’s IR placement further depletes the Jets at a premier position. The team finished Sunday’s Bengals tilt with Conor McDermott at left tackle. Fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell has played every snap for the Jets at right tackle this season. This is far from the initial configuration Gang Green planned, and Fant’s absence figures to make matters more difficult for Zach Wilson, who is on track to return from his August knee surgery in Week 4.

Fant had a tough day against standout Cincinnati defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who notched strip-sacks against Fant and McDermott. But Fant has been battling this knee problem all season, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. The issue caused him to miss multiple practices last week.

Fant, 30, has been a vital O-line presence for the Jets since signing with the team as a free agent in 2020. The ex-Seahawk spent the 2020 season as the Jets’ right tackle starter and moved to the left side after Becton’s Week 1 injury last season. The Jets named Fant their starting left tackle before Becton’s training camp injury. After being on the Jets’ extension radar early this offseason, no deal came to fruition. Fant’s return from injury will begin a rather important stretch for the former college basketball player. His contract expires at season’s end.

When Fant returns, the Jets will hope to deploy the Brown-Fant tackle combo that has yet to take the field together. After winning the left tackle gig, Fant saw Brown’s late-summer signing move him back to the right side. The Jets signed veteran Mike Remmers as a stopgap option Monday. Remmers currently resides on Gang Green’s practice squad, but the journeyman right tackle is likely to be moved up to the 53-man roster soon.

Jets To Add T Mike Remmers

Two-time Super Bowl starter Mike Remmers will join a team in need at his position. The journeyman tackle is signing with the Jets on a practice squad agreement, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Remmers is expected to be bumped up to the Jets’ 53-man roster soon. The former Chargers, Panthers, Vikings, Giants and Chiefs blocker has not played for a team this season; the Chiefs did not re-sign him after the 2021 campaign.

The Jets have both Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown on IR. They finished their Week 3 game with Conor McDermott and rookie Max Mitchell as their tackles. George Fant, who has worked as both a left- and right-side starter with the Jets, started at left tackle against the Bengals but left early due to a lingering knee injury. Trey Hendrickson finished the game with 2.5 sacks, two of those forcing Joe Flacco fumbles.

Remmers, 33, has made 90 career starts. He is probably best known for tough nights against Von Miller (Super Bowl 50) and Shaq Barrett (Super Bowl LV), but the former UDFA brings a level of experience the Jets are lacking right now. Brown is ineligible to play until at least Week 5. Remmers, who played just four games last season before a knee injury led the Chiefs to place him on IR, has worked primarily as a right tackle but did play inside during the 2018 season in Minnesota. The Jets are more solidified at guard, however; the team’s tackle plan veered off the rails once Becton suffered an avulsion fracture during training camp. Signed to a lucrative deal to replace Becton, Brown is rehabbing a shoulder injury.

The tackle uncertainty engulfing Gang Green comes as the team is readying Zach Wilson to make his season debut. Wilson, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in August, was slated to play behind a Fant-Becton tackle tandem. He could begin his sophomore NFL season behind Remmers and either McDermott or Mitchell. The latter has played 100% of the Jets’ right tackle snaps this season.

Jets To Sign LT Duane Brown, Shift George Fant to RT

AUGUST 14: Fant will indeed be moved to RT, head coach Robert Saleh confirmed (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). That will leave the door open for Brown to assume his familiar role on the blindside.

Saleh acknowledged that Becton is expected to miss the entire season, but Becton is traveling to Los Angeles for a consultation to confirm that prognosis (Twitter link via Cimini).

AUGUST 11: 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 Move Mekhi Becton To Right Tackle

Although padded practices have yet to commence in 2022, the Jets have determined their tackle configuration. Mekhi Becton will slide to the right side, leaving George Fant at the position Becton was drafted to play.

This marks a quicker-than-expected development for the Jets, though the prospect of Becton moving to the right side surfaced in late March. While Becton is still expected to start in 2022, the move is notable.

The team used Fant at right tackle opposite Becton in 2020, when the Louisville product enjoyed a quality rookie season. Questions about Becton’s weight soon surfaced, however, and the kneecap dislocation and MCL damage he suffered in Week 1 of last season sidelined him throughout his sophomore NFL slate. Becton did not participate in the Jets’ offseason program, creating a pivotal stretch during camp. The Jets made it clear early Becton’s area of concentration.

Fant, whom the Jets removed from their active/PUP list Wednesday, is going into a contract year. Fant and the Jets have discussed his deal this offseason. A solid season as a left tackle would only stand to drive up the former Seahawk’s value. Fant, 29, is set to make $9.75MM in base salary this season. He rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 39-ranked tackle in 2021; PFF slotted Becton 31st for his left tackle work in 2020. Fant has played both left and right tackle as a pro; Becton has only worked on the left side. The Jets let 2021 right tackle Morgan Moses walk in free agency in March.

Tackle moves of this sort are not exactly unheard of. The Cardinals flip-flopped tackles in 2017, switching Jared Veldheer and D.J. Humphries‘ roles. That switch came in Humphries’ third year; he remains Arizona’s left tackle. But moves like this are still rather rare. This Jets staff, however, was not in place when Becton began his career at left tackle.

Becton was connected to being over 400 pounds at the end of last season, and the team was not happy with his conditioning before he sustained the knee injury last year. The Jets hosted Riley Reiff this offseason and were linked to first-round tackles, but the team passed on adding notable tackle insurance. This move should create more motivation for Becton, whose value has undoubtedly dipped since going 11th overall two years ago. Becton can still rehabilitate his stock on the right side, but it will represent a new challenge early in a career replete with obstacles.

Jets Activate Mekhi Becton, Carl Lawson, C.J. Uzomah From PUP List

JULY 26: Some good Jets news emerged Tuesday; Becton, Lawson and Uzomah are off the team’s active/PUP list in time for the start of veterans’ training camp workouts. While Lawson will be expected to anchor the team’s edge rush — a role his late-summer 2021 Achilles tear delayed — Becton has more to prove. The 2020 first-round pick has run into rampant health- and weight-related concerns. His coming off the PUP list so soon represents a nice development for the Jets, who are planning to slot him at either left or right tackle. Of course, Becton’s stock has dropped dramatically since his quality rookie season. That raises the stakes for his 2022 training camp.

JULY 21: The Jets placed five players on the physically unable to perform list today, including three offensive linemen. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter), offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, offensive tackle George Fant, defensive end Carl Lawson, tight end C.J. Uzomah, and guard Dru Samia all landed on PUP.

Becton and Fant are set to compete for the starting left tackle role, with the “loser” settling in at right tackle. However, at least to start camp, the two starting offensive tackles will be sidelined as they recover from knee injuries. Becton was limited to only one game in 2021 before suffering his injury, and since health- and conditioning-related concerns have dogged the early part of his NFL career, an early absence won’t help his case in the LT competition. Fant, meanwhile, started 15 games for the Jets last season before suffering a knee injury that ultimately required offseason surgery. If either of the two offensive tackles are forced to miss time, the Jets could turn to the likes of Connor McDermott, Chuma Edoga, and fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell.

Lawson joined the Jets last year on a three-year, $45MM pact, but a torn Achilles during preseason forced him to miss the entire campaign. Considering the Jets could easily move on from the defensive end following the 2022 season, this could end up being a make-or-break year when it comes to Lawson’s future in New York. Uzomah joined the Jets on a three-year deal this offseason after setting career-highs across the board in 2021 with the Bengals (49 receptions, 493 yards, five touchdowns). He’s currently dealing with an undisclosed injury.

Samia spent most of the 2021 season on the Jets practice squad. He’s seen time in 15 career games, including 13 appearances for the Vikings in 2020.

AFC East Notes: Poyer, Becton, Jets, Patriots

Jordan Poyer continues to pursue a new contract, but that won’t keep him away from mandatory minicamp. The Bills All-Pro safety is in attendance for practice this week, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

The impending free agent is seeking a new deal, and the Bills have been in communication with the player’s camp. According to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg, Poyer’s participation may be limited in a pseudo-holdout move.

“I think Jordan is in a good place mentally,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “He’s still staying in touch with his teammates, and hopefully, we’ll see him soon.”

Poyer has been a consistent starter on the Bills defense since joining the organization in 2017, missing only a pair of games. After collecting 100+ tackles between 2018 and 2020, the safety earned his first career All-Pro nod in 2021 after finishing with 93 tackles, three sacks, and five interceptions. The veteran inked a two-year extension with the organization in 2020.

More out of the AFC East:

  • The Jets could turn to a committee approach as they look to replace Jamison Crowder‘s spot at slot receiver, writes ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Many assumed that Braxton Berrios would slide into the role, but head coach Robert Saleh admitted the team is “working through it” and prefers to slide players in and out of the spot to keep things unpredictable. Elijah Moore and rookie Garrett Wilson are among the receivers who could join Berrios in the slot rotation.
  • Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd rejected a better offer to re-sign with the Jets on a one-year, $1.1MM deal, according to Cimini. Incredibly, the 2018 draft pick is the team’s longest-tenured player, and he’s earned a reputation as a hard worker and loyal player. As Cimini notes, Shepard is now the biggest player on the team with Folorunso Fatukasi gone, and that could mean the veteran will see a more significant role in run-stopping situations.
  • Jets offensive lineman Mekhi Becton made it to mandatory minicamp after having sat out previous voluntary sessions, tweets ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The lineman didn’t practice, presumably because he’s still rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. Meanwhile, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano writes that the player’s ability to return to the field could ultimately influence the left tackle competition between Becton and George Fant. “The faster that you can stamp ‘Hey, this is what we feel like is going to be our best going into Week 1 vs. Baltimore,’ the faster we can do that the better,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said (via Vacchiano). “I think it will play itself out fairly quickly. When we get back (for training camp), we’re rolling, we’re running the football, and we’re going to see. It’ll all play itself out.”
  • At least one “prominent” member of the Patriots offense believed the coaching staff was unprepared at the start of the team’s offseason workout, according to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus. Following Josh McDaniels move to Las Vegas, the Patriots haven’t replaced anyone as their offensive coordinator, with former ST coordinator Joe Judge and former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia apparently taking on larger roles on offense. However, it sounds like the coaches are settling into roles, with Kyed describing Judge as the “passing game coordinator” and Patricia as the “running game coordinator.” Naturally, head coach Bill Belichick recently swatted away any questions about the offensive play calling. “If you’re asking about game plans, we’re months away from that — months,” Belichick said. “Months away. Months. What plays are we calling? Mini-camp plays?”

Latest On Jets’ George Fant

Left tackle George Fant was one of a few bright spots for the Jets in 2021, and he is in line for a significant role on the team this season. When speaking to the media yesterday, he provided updates on his health and contract statuses, among other things. 

The 29-year-old said that he is “doing well” with respect to his recovery from offseason knee surgery (Twitter link via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano). He added that he will be recovered in time for training camp. Assuming that is the case, he will be available to continue as a starter, looking to build off his surprising level of play at left tackle last season. Between himself, Mekhi Becton and any lineman the team selects early in the upcoming draft, the Jets will have a number of options to fill out the tackle positions.

Given his high-end play in 2021 (he allowed only 18 pressures in 15 games, ranking him third in the league), Fant was reportedly in conversation with the Jets over a new contract last month. While nothing much as materialized since then, he did say his agent “has had some talks” with the team regarding a new deal. Fant has one year remaining on his current contract, with a scheduled cap hit of $11.1MM.

Further remarks Fant made, per Vacchiano, related to the current state of the Jets’ o-line. While the team lost Morgan Moses in free agency, they did add Pro Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson. He, along with 2021 first-rounder Alijah Vera-Tucker, figure to give the team an improved tandem at guard. Fant acknowledged the possibility of an addition as early as Round 1 tonight along the offensive front, but expressed confidence in the unit as-is, something which may be justified if, among other things, he can replicate his 2021 success.