The Jets got their big offensive line reinforcement.
Veteran left tackle Duane Brown will sign a two-year contract with the Jets, a league source said. The deal is for two years and $22 million, a source confirmed.
The Jets needed a proven player to protect Zach Wilson after losing Mekhi Becton likely for the season because of a fractured kneecap.
Brown, who turns 37 at the end of the month, is a five-time Pro Bowler and very durable. He played in all 17 games for the Seattle Seahawks last season – appearing in 98% of their snaps – and made the Pro Bowl.
In his 14 NFL seasons, Brown has started all 203 games he’s played for Houston and Seattle. He was first-team All-Pro once and second-team twice. Brown has missed just four games over the past four seasons and played at least 96% of the snaps in each of those seasons.
They showed interest in Brown even before Becton got injured in Monday’s practice. Brown met with the Jets over the weekend. They were looking for insurance at tackle with Becton and George Fant both coming back from knee surgeries.
Now Brown will step in and could start at left tackle for the Jets, although no decision has been made.
Fant was penciled in to be the starting left tackle this season. He performed well at that position last year after Becton dislocated his kneecap in Week 1. The Jets felt Fant earned the starting job and rewarded him with that before training camp.
Brown, a first-round pick of the Texans in 2008, has played left tackle his entire career. Fant also feels most comfortable there, but he’s also had experience at right tackle. So it should be an easier transition for Fant, who is seeking a contract extension from the Jets.
“Any time you have a chance to add a Pro-Bowler like him and add to the depth of our roster, we’ll look into it,” Robert Saleh said last week. “You can never have enough good O-linemen. You just can’t, especially with the type of offense that we play and all that.”
The Jets' other tackles are Conor McDermott, who is rehabbing an ankle injury, Chuma Edoga and rookie Max Mitchell. The Jets needed depth at that position regardless since keeping Wilson healthy is priority one for this team.
“The most important thing – no offense to anyone else on the team – is to protect the quarterback,” Saleh said Wednesday. “So, the person who’s best prepared to protect the quarterback will be out there.”
Brown has history with Saleh and offensive line coach John Benton. They were all with the Texans at the same time. Brown has also played with Fant and Jets cornerback D.J. Reed with Seattle.
Brown’s name was in headlines as a free agent this offseason when he was arrested July 10 at Los Angeles International Airport on a gun charge for allegedly possessing a concealed weapon.