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Jets sign veteran Pro Bowler Duane Brown after losing Mekhi Becton to serious knee injury

Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News on

Published in Football

NEW YORK — With Mekhi Becton’s season-ending injury and the uncertainty on the offensive line as the backdrop, the Jets made the expected move and signed veteran lineman Duane Brown, a source confirmed Thursday.

Brown is now the frontrunner to start at right tackle this season, although coach Robert Saleh labeled it an “open” battle Wednesday with Conor McDermott, Chuma Edoga and Max Mitchell also in the mix.

But Brown, who reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Jets, brings the highest pedigree and most experience to the position by far as a five-time Pro Bowl selection. Less than a month shy of 37 years old, he’s also a stopgap solution on a rebuilding squad.

“The most important thing, no offense to anybody on our team, is to protect the quarterback,” Saleh said. “So the person who is best prepared to protect the quarterback will be out there.”

The Jets and Brown had mutual interest even before Becton’s fractured his kneecap. The sides met over the weekend, and Saleh has a history with the Virginia Tech product as both got their NFL starts with the Texans in 2008.

 

“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. We’re always going to search far and wide and there’s interest on both sides, obviously,” Saleh said before the signing. “And [Jets GM Joe Douglas] been working on that one for a little bit, but we’ll see where everyone’s at with regards to that conversation.”

“Getting a guy like Duane Brown is kind of being spoiled in a sense of having so much great talent at one position,” Saleh added later. “We do have faith in our backup offensive line. Anytime you get hurt, you have to test your depth. So it doesn’t create panic at all, in my mind, anyway. A guy like Duane is a bonus.”

Brown was a Pro Bowl selection with the Seahawks last season while protecting Russell Wilson, who, at least in stature and style, is similar to Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.

The Jets play their preseason opener Friday in Philadelphia, where Wilson and the starters are scheduled to play one or two series before handing it over to the backups.

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