Stay or Go: Should Jets bring back Morgan Moses?

·4 min read
Morgan Moses treated image
Morgan Moses treated image

We break down which Jets players who are entering free agency or the last year of their contracts should stay or go.

Here's a look at Morgan Moses...

Overview

After Washington released veteran tackle Moses in May, several teams were interested in picking him up and the Jets eventually signed him to a one-year deal in July.

Moses was widely expected to beat out George Fant for the starting right tackle role, so it was a surprise when Fant was named as the opening day starter. However, Mekhi Becton suffered a knee injury in the first half of the opener that ended up sidelining him for the entire season.

Fant moved across to left tackle and Moses ended up starting at right tackle for the remainder of the season, helping the Jets to stabilize a unit that had struggled for the past few years. However, he suffered a knee injury right near the end of the season finale to add further uncertainty to his situation as he heads to free agency.

Case to stay

Moses had started every game from his second season in 2015 through to the end of 2020, at times displaying toughness to play through injuries. This was exactly what the Jets needed in 2021 as they had one of the most injury-ravaged rosters in the NFL.

Sure enough, Moses again stayed healthy enough to start 16 games and provided a steadying influence with his reliable pass protection and powerful run blocking.

He also displayed improved on-field discipline as he only committed three penalties all year, having averaged almost 10 per season over the previous six years.

After a solid 2021 season, Fant will be back and presumably will take over the right tackle role with Becton scheduled to make his return from injury on the left. However, with durability concerns for Becton lingering, perhaps it makes sense to shell out for a fallback option who is known for his durability in Moses.

Jul 28, 2021; Florham Park, NJ, USA; Offensive linemen Morgan Moses and Mekhi Becton during drills as the New York Jets hold their first practice of training camp at their practice facility in Florham Park, NJ on July 28, 2021.
Jul 28, 2021; Florham Park, NJ, USA; Offensive linemen Morgan Moses and Mekhi Becton during drills as the New York Jets hold their first practice of training camp at their practice facility in Florham Park, NJ on July 28, 2021.

Case to go

The Jets were able to sign Moses on a team-friendly deal in 2021, but his performance over the course of the season solidified his reputation as someone who is still a reliable starter, even though he’ll be 31 in March.

Moses should therefore seek a multi-year deal with guaranteed money and a higher salary in this offseason, and the Jets might not be in a position where giving starter money to someone who in an ideal world will be a rotational backup is the best use of resources.

His injury in the season finale further clouds matters. Moses suffered an MCL injury, although after a second opinion he decided it wasn’t necessary to get surgery. Can the Jets be as confident in his durability coming off such an injury? Conversely, however, it might mean fewer teams will be prepared to outbid them for his services.

At 31 years old, Moses doesn’t necessarily only have a few years left. After all, Andrew Whitworth started 15 games this year and he’s now in his 40s, and it’s not like Moses is a player who relies on his athletic ability. However, the Jets are looking ahead, so may be more focused on filling out their depth with someone who has the potential to move into a starting role down the road.

Another factor is that Moses arguably isn’t an ideal scheme fit within the Jets’ offense. He did a fine job in 2021, but they’ve tended to target tackles with more athleticism than Moses, and that’s probably the type of player they’re more likely to invest in to fill out their rotation.

Verdict

At the end of the season, Moses told the media he loved playing for the Jets, but when asked about free agency, he said he would “see how it goes.” That made it sound like he perhaps doesn’t expect to be back in 2022.

The Jets would surely jump at the chance to bring Moses back on another low-cost, low-risk deal. However, after his solid 2021 season, he’s sure to get some tempting offers from other teams around the league, and the most likely outcome is that he’ll head somewhere else so he has a chance to head to camp as a starter.