Former Jets OT Becton to join Eagles, agents say

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Offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, a former first-round draft pick of the New York Jets, plans to sign a one-year deal worth up to $5.5 million with the Philadelphia Eagles, agents Alan Herman and Jared Fox told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday.

The signing, which was encouraged by Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, is pending a physical, the agents said.

The 6-foot-7 Becton started 16 games last season, which he considered an accomplishment given his injury history. Becton missed 33 out of 34 games in 2021 and 2022 due to two surgeries on his right knee.

The Eagles needed to bolster their offensive line depth after losing Jack Driscoll and Sua Opeta in free agency.

Given that need, and the fact that stalwart right tackle Lane Johnson turns 34 in May, there was thought that the Eagles would take a tackle as high as the first round in the draft, but the board didn’t fall that way for Philadelphia.

Stoutland has earned a high level of trust inside the building, as he’s shown the ability to maximize the talent of his players time and again. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment is helping Jordan Mailata, the former Australian rugby player who entered the NFL with zero football experience, develop into a top-end starting left tackle.

Becton, drafted 11th overall by the Jets in 2020, has endured a roller-coaster career featuring a promising rookie year, two seasons wiped out by injuries and a comeback campaign in 2023.

The problems started in the 2021 opener, when a teammate rolled up his right leg. The team never ruled him out for the season, but he wound up missing the remainder of the campaign after an arthroscopic procedure. During the layoff, Becton’s weight ballooned to 400 pounds, with the team privately expressing concerns about his football future.

Becton’s first comeback didn’t last long, as he reinjured his right knee during the first week of the 2022 training camp. This time, it required major surgery. He blamed the coaches for the injury, saying their decision to switch him to right tackle put added stress on his surgically repaired right knee — a claim that was confirmed by his personal doctor.

With his career at a crossroads, Becton, 25, rededicated himself, dropped 50 pounds and reported to camp last summer at about 350 pounds. To the surprise of many, he won the right tackle job and made a seamless return to left tackle in Week 3, replacing the injured Duane Brown.

Back at his natural position, where he delivered highlight-film blocks as a rookie, Becton flashed his immense potential for long stretches in 2023. In the end, he committed 12 penalties (second most in the NFL) and allowed 12.5 sacks, according to Next Gen Stats, but he was satisfied because he accomplished his No. 1 goal, which was to stay healthy.

Becton, who has appeared in only 31 games in four years, became an unrestricted free agent because the Jets declined his fifth-year option.

ESPN’s Tim McManus and Rich Cimini contributed to this report.

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