With the legal tampering period of NFL free agency set to begin two weeks from Monday, NFL insider Tony Pauline reported last week that the New York Jets were set to go all in on their pursuit of Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin.
What’s the latest on impending free agents Joe Thuney and Jack Conklin?— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) February 27, 2020
PFN Insider @TonyPauline has the latest on what he’s hearing from the #NFLCombine. https://t.co/5sc2ivrMzI pic.twitter.com/uqdHDMZItQ
In the immediate aftermath of that report, there were many who treated it as a done deal. However, Sunday the idea that Conklin to the Jets was anywhere near agreed upon was shot down by Adam Schefter.
Titans’ OT Jack Conklin will have many suitors in free agency, but he is not expected to land with the offensive-line-needy Jets, per sources. Jets like him, but the competition for him will be intense and there will be many suitors.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 1, 2020
With that said, the Jets of course remain in the market for two starting tackles, as left tackle Kelvin Beachum will be 31 in June and is a free agent. At the same time, right tackle Brandon Shell, who was less than impressive in his time on the field, is also a free agent and the Jets are not expected to pursue his services going forward.
That puts the Jets in the market for both a starting left tackle and a starting right tackle, and many observers expect them to sign one in free agency and address the other in the draft. That has brought forward two names of players who have played both left and right tackle in the past.
There are reports that Jack Conklin will sign with the Jets once FA begins.@TonyPauline has been tracking this for several days & was the first to report on Thursday that the #Jets were in hot pursuit of Conklin.— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) March 1, 2020
Here's the latest on what he's hearing.https://t.co/zRRiej5qDz
Specifically, the two names Pauline links to the Jets are Halapoulivaati Vaitai and George Fant. Vaitai, of course, played for the Philadelphia Eagles, where current Jets general manager Joe Douglas worked in the front office prior to taking the job in New York. As for Fant, Pauline has the following to say:
I can also say the Jets are looking at Seattle Seahawks tackle George Fant as another contingency if the Conklin plans don’t shake out. Fant, a former basketball player, is the best athlete of the three yet has started just 24 games the three years he’s been on the field. His athleticism would be a perfect fit for Adam Gase’s offense, which will include wide splits between offensive linemen this season.
There’s obviously a ton of time between now and March 18 when players can sign with new teams, so nothing is written in stone. However, at this point it appears there are teams potentially interested in securing the services of Fant as a starter for the 2020 season.