It’s official, the 2020 first-round pick of the New York Jets — Mekhi Becton — will not take the field again in 2021.
The promising blocker played a total of 48 snaps in year two after his initial prognosis indicated he could return as soon as four to six weeks after Week 1. Of course, with surgery involved this always seemed unlikely.
In the end, four to six became six to eight and before fans knew it, the season reached its final couple of games. With two weeks left to play, head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that Becton would most likely be shut down for the rest of the campaign, “barring a miracle,” and that miracle never materialized.
To make matters worse, there have also been rumors that the coaching staff is fed up with Becton because of his work ethic and maturity.
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Subliminal Message From Becton?
In the film, Christopher Walken plays the character of “Mike,” who gives an epic speech to the leading role of “Johnny” (Mars Callahan). He states:
You got this lion. He’s the king of the jungle, huge mane out to here. He’s laying under a tree, in the middle of Africa. He’s so big, it’s so hot. He doesn’t want to move. Now the little lions come, they start messing with him. Biting his tail, biting his ears. He doesn’t do anything. The lioness, she starts messing with him. Coming over, making trouble. Still nothing. Now the other animals, they notice this. They start to move in. The jackals; hyenas. They’re barking at him, laughing at him. They nip his toes, and eat the food that’s in his domain. They do this, then they get closer and closer, bolder and bolder. Till one day, that lion gets up and tears the shit out of everybody. Runs like the wind, eats everything in his path. Cause every once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals, who he is.
The only hint Becton provided on the meaning behind this tweet was a shushing emoji.
It didn’t take long before Gang Green supporters started to infer about the reference’s true purpose. One response was from “Jetsfan22,” who wrote: “Bad day to be a jackal.” Another (Brandon D. McAuley) just replied with a GIF of Juggernaut running through concrete walls.
A fan by the name of “Bird Bates” applauded with a lion emoji next to a crown emoji. Next, “Dan B.” tweeted: “How long until training camp?” He attached a GIF from the television series “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
They weren’t all positive responses, however. “King of IR,” a fan named “JMU” wrote. “The Real Donny the Dog” gave some input too: “I want to believe this. How [can] we[?] You have not shown that you’re any kind of Lion except maybe a Detroit one.”
One final fan named “Johnnypajamas” responded: “So you’ve retired from football and become a professional Twitter poster. Can the Jets get their money back?”
It’s unclear if Becton meant anything by the tweet but generally speaking, these posts are never totally random. If he’s the lion in this scenario as a few fans suggested, the big blocker’s message heading into 2022 is a bold one — it’s time to show the jackals, or the NFL world, who’s king.
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2022 Outlook at Tackle
This all presents an interesting question heading into 2022, considering the situation the franchise is in. George Fant is coming off a career season at left tackle while RT Morgan Moses is an impending free agent looking for one last big payday.
The Jets also have a top-five pick in the draft at the moment, which could theoretically be used on an offensive tackle like Alabama star Evan Neal.
At the same time, the 22-year old Becton is under contract until the end of 2023. He was also GM Joe Douglas’ first draft pick on the job and even if things got to a point where they traded the day one talent, the dead cap hit ($5.487M) would actually cost more than it would to keep him (pre-June 1 trade).
The best Douglas can do is deal Becton after June 1 and that would still forfeit $2.743M in dead cap, not to mention the potential of the top prospect.
Trading the ‘Big Ticket’ is simply an option that the Jets cannot afford to choose at this point. That leaves one remaining solution — to hope that Becton changes the narrative and becomes the lion.
Jets Fans React to Potential Subliminal Message From Mekhi Becton