Bills Sign Veteran Offensive Lineman From AFC East Rival

Greg Van Roten

Getty Greg Van Roten #62 of the New York Jets looks on during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium on October 31, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Buffalo Bills continued to beef up their offensive line ahead of the start of mandatory minicamp on Monday, June 13, signing guard Greg Van Roten, who spent the last two seasons playing with their AFC East rival, the New York Jets.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound offensive lineman, who started his NFL career as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2012, signed a one-year contract with Buffalo.

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After two seasons with the Packers, Van Roten spent a brief offseason with the Seattle Seahawks before heading to the CFL to play with the Toronto Argonauts. In 2017, the Penn alum returned to the NFL to play with the Jacksonville Jaguars but landed with the Carolina Panthers before the season started.

Van Roten became a full-time starter for the Panthers by the 2018 NFL season. In 2019, after starting 11 games, he suffered a dislocated toe which placed the Penn alum on injured reserve.

In 2020, Van Roten signed a three-year contract with the Jets, taking over as the team’s starting right guard. After starting 12 games, and not missing one snap on the season, he suffered a foot injury while playing against the Las Vegas Raiders, per the Jets Wire.

During the 2021 season, Van Roten appeared in 17 games (started 10 at guard), but lost his job as starter midseason after the Jets acquired Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, per USA Today’s Gary Phillps. Van Roten was released by the Jets after the franchise claimed former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Nate Herbig off waivers in May. The move saved the Jets $3.5 million in cap space.

According to Syracuse.com’s Matt Parrino, Van Roten has been on the Bills’ radar for quite some time. “Buffalo was one of the teams in the mix for him two years ago before he ultimately signed with the New York Jets,” Parrino tweeted.


Van Roten Is Versatile, Having Played Multiple Positions on the Offensive Line

Throughout his seven years in the NFL, Van Roten has played in 77 games and started in 50, per Bills Wire. The 32-year-old has also shifted between playing left guard, right guard, and center, and such versatility bodes well for his chances of earning a spot on the 53-man roster.

However, Van Roten will be facing some heavy competition on the offensive line. In addition to recently signed veteran guard David Quessenberry and Pro Bowler Rodger Saffold, there Bills’ depth at guard includes Ike Boettger, Cody Ford, Ryan Bates, and Jacob Capra.


The Reaction to the Bills Signing Van Roten Was Lukewarm

The Bills’ announcement that they were signing Van Roten was met with tepid excitement. While it’s not a big splashy move, NFL analyst Ross Tucker commended the Bills’ depth. Tucker tweeted, “Bills second team OL might be better than a few teams starters.”

WROC-TV reported Thad Brown tweet that Van Roten was “a very solid vet guard” despite taking awhile “to latch on in NFL. Despite some injury issues, Van Roten “could be a really good 3rd OG. Cody Ford may have a very tough uphill battle to make this 53.”

One popular Bills fan account was hyped at the new addition. They tweeted, “Greg Van Roten brings interior offensive line depth to an already solid group. 7 years of experience in teams such as the Jets, Panthers and Packers. Great addition to strengthen the protection for JA17.”

Greg Van Roten

GettyGreg Van Roten #62 and Alex Lewis #71 of the New York Jets during morning practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on July 28, 2021 in Florham Park, New Jersey.

Despite underperforming last season, Van Roten still received a high vote of confidence from Jets head coach Robert Saleh. During a press conference in May, Saleh said the door would always be open for Van Roten to return:

GVR is a phenomenal man. Really appreciate the time with him, and it’s not over. Just talking with Joe [Douglas], we’d love to have him back as the offseason goes. GVR has a place in this league and he’s got starting opportunities at a few places. Talking with Joe, we thought we’d give him that opportunity to see if he can get somewhere to compete for a starting job. But at the same time, the door’s not closed here. We would love to have Greg back.

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