Former starting right guard Greg Van Roten had a rollercoaster ride of a tenure in New York over his past two seasons with the Jets.
You see, the veteran was living out a childhood dream — considering he was born in Rockville Centre, Long Island, and grew up a diehard fan of the franchise. He even appeared to hold a leadership role on a young roster in 2020, as the union player rep for Gang Green and someone who organized team outings.
Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last as “GVR” became the subject of public scrutiny throughout his second campaign due to inconsistent play and a postgame comment about rookie quarterback Zach Wilson that rubbed a contingent of fans the wrong way. In the end, Van Roten was replaced by former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Nate Herbig in early May.
Upon his release, the theory was that the Jets wanted to provide him with an opportunity to find a potential starting role in 2022. Today on June 13, he may have found just that, as GVR decided on his next NFL chapter.
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GVR Signs With Bills
NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero was the first to report the signing, which sent Van Roten to Buffalo where he’ll join what is likely to be the Jets’ top competition in the AFC East.
“The #Bills signed former #Jets G Greg Van Roten to a one-year contract,” Pelissero informed as others around the league reacted.
Jets beat reporter for the Associated Press Dennis Waszak Jr. weighed in: “Van Roten, a Long Island native and noted #Isles fan, heads upstate to the AFC East-rival Bills after two seasons with the #Jets.”
GVR will reunite with veteran wide receiver, Jamison Crowder, as the second ex-NYJ starter to ink a deal with Buffalo this offseason. Both will battle for a role on the first-team unit with quarterback Josh Allen, and prep for at least two upcoming meetings against their old squad in 2022 — assuming they’re able to secure a roster spot.
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As the Dust Settles for Each Franchise
The Bills are known for having one of the best offenses in football right now but one weak spot might be the guard position. That’s why this is a perfect fit for the experienced veteran, who could see a legitimate shot at a starting job on a playoff contender.
ESPN currently has the 25-year-old Ryan Bates plugged in as the starter across from 2022 addition Rodger Saffold III. Bates did start four games last season — replacing Jon Feliciano after a bout with the COVID-19 virus.
Cody Ford and Ike Boettger could also figure into the conversation at right guard, but Van Roten enters the scene with more experience than most of his competition.
As for the Jets, they’re set up to have one of the better guard duos in all of football with Alijah Vera-Tucker and Laken Tomlinson manning the starting roles. If there is a question mark on the Jets’ offensive line, it’s at tackle.
Projected starters Mekhi Becton and George Fant are both returning from surgeries this summer. When healthy, the pair flaunts a yin and yang type combo of pass protection (Fant) and run-blocking (Becton), but availability is the major concern.
If the Jets keep their starting five intact, they might end up having the better blocking unit in comparison to Buffalo. The rest will come down to the quarterbacks and playmakers on offense, and that’s where the Bills still hold the advantage on paper.
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