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By Signing Duane Brown, Jets Continue to Prioritize Zach Wilson

New York had other options, but they made a necessary investment in free agency to keep their franchise quarterback off the turf.
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Two days after learning that right tackle Mekhi Becton will likely miss the entire season with a right knee injury, the Jets signed a replacement.

New York reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with five-time Pro-Bowl offensive tackle Duane Brown on Thursday.

Brown, who turns 37 before the end of this month, gives the Jets an experienced asset that can fill in seamlessly for Becton, turning this possible crisis into a minor adjustment leading into the preseason. 

New York had internal options. They could've used rookie Max Mitchell at right tackle, promoting Conor McDermott or Chuma Edoga on the depth chart to a starting spot.

As quarterback Zach Wilson enters his second season, however, New York chose not to mess around, spending $22 million to ensure that their phenom has a sufficient amount of time to throw the football.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh said it best on Wednesday, still digesting the news that Becton would be out for the foreseeable future. 

"The most important thing, no offense to anyone else on the team, is to protect the quarterback," Saleh told reporters at training camp. "So, the person who’s best prepared to protect the quarterback will be out there."

In other words, sure this team had other choices to fill Becton's shoes internally, but when it comes to Wilson's safety in the pocket, they weren't going to mess around.

Remember, this season is crucial in Wilson's development. The signal-caller showed some flashes last year, but he couldn't completely transition to the next level, often struggling with decision making, accuracy, consistency and more. 

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This offseason, general manager Joe Douglas took matters into his own hands, surrounding Wilson with playmakers. He drafted wideout Garrett Wilson, running back Breece Hall and tight end Jeremy Ruckert, signing tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin while also re-signing receiver and returner Braxton Berrios. 

Mix those assets in with receivers Corey Davis and Elijah Moore, along with running back Michael Carter, and Wilson now has ample options to choose from each time he drops back for a pass. 

Douglas made a big move on the offensive line as well, bringing in veteran guard Laken Tomlinson to flank second-year guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. 

All of a sudden, on paper, this team has a formidable unit on offense, a group that hinges upon Wilson's performance and his ability to effectively move the football down the field. 

Taking away one starting tackle had the potential to be a devastating development for this club. Considering the talented teams New York will face this year, a weakness up front would almost certainly be exploited each and every Sunday. Wilson would have less time to get rid of the ball, something that could derail this entire offense. 

It's unclear as of now which position Brown will be playing in green and white, whether he's lining up on the left or right side. Either way, with Becton out of the picture, New York is adding a reliable tackle, a player that has experience to get the job done and help bring the best out of everyone around him.

Now, with the Becton situation solved, the focus shifts back to Wilson and whether or not he can take a step forward in 2022. 

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