Jets Expected to Part Ways With Former All-Pro in Offseason

The New York Jets are going to be playing a game of musical chairs on the offensive line this offseason.

Rich Cimini of ESPN stated in a column on Sunday, December 25 that Gang Green offensive tackle Duane Brown “almost certainly won’t be back for the final year of his contract.”

The former three-time All-Pro signed a two-year $20 million deal in August after Mekhi Becton went down with another season-ending injury.

A Troubling Injury for Jets OT Duane Brown

Cimini didn’t specify why he doesn’t expect Brown back next season, but it is easy to read the tea leaves of the situation.

Brown is currently 37 years of age and will be 38 by the start of the 2023 season. He suffered a very serious shoulder injury (a torn rotator cuff according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport) ahead of the Week 1 season opener and was placed on injured reserve.

That knocked him out at a minimum for the first four games of the year but there was a fear inside the building that it could be a season-ending injury.

Back on October 13 Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said Brown “easily could have walked out of here” after suffering his injury but he told the staff, “I’m not going out like this.”

Brown delayed having the surgery that would have ended his season prematurely but eventually, he will have to go under the knife to repair the torn rotator cuff.

According to Rothman Orthopaedics, recovery from that sort of injury can take anywhere from two to four months.

Considering Brown’s age and any additional damage that was incurred playing through the injury this season, retirement is a serious option this offseason.

Cimini said if and when the Jets move on from Brown, the team will get hit with cap charges for the next two seasons:

  • $6.3 million in 2023
  • $4.7 million in 2024

Duane Brown Leaves a Massive Void on Jets OL

When the Jets initially kicked the tires on Brown in the preseason it was with a first world problem mindset. The team’s brass thought they could bring him in as a swing tackle just in case an injury happened in the future.

The Jets’ process quickly changed when Becton was lost for the season and Brown went from a luxury to a priority. That desperation forced the Jets to cough up more money than they were probably comfortable handing out but it solved their issues for the 2022 season.

After returning from his four-week hiatus to start the season, Brown was incredibly solid for the Jets all season long.

The former Virginia Tech product delivered an impressive 74.2 pass block grade in 11 starts this season with the Jets.

Now with him expected to be gone ahead of 2023, the Jets have a massive void to fill in the trenches both literally (6-foot-4, 329 pounds) and figuratively.

Becton has been lost in back-to-back seasons to serious injuries. George Fant is a pending free agent. Rookie sensation Max Mitchell exclusively played on the right side prior to being lost for the season due to blood clots.

That leaves a lot more questions than answers at the offensive tackle spot.