Another former New York Jets contributor has signed a new deal here in mid-May.
A few hours after ex-NYJ pass rusher Jacob Martin inked a new contract on May 19, former starting right guard Greg Van Roten did too according to ESPN NFL insider Field Yates. “The [Las Vegas] Raiders have signed veteran G Greg Van [Roten],” Yates informed.
“GVR” spent the 2022 campaign with the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills. He appeared in 16 games for Buffalo last year, starting four, and earned a role as a reliable rotational piece and special teams blocker. The NFL journeyman had spent the previous two seasons with the Jets.
Chaminade Success Story Greg Van Roten Lived Out ‘Lifelong Dream’ With Jets
Although Van Roten faced criticism from a contingent of fans near the end of his NYJ tenure, the Chaminade (Mineola) alum was still living out a childhood dream as a local success story out in Long Island.
During a letter to fans after the 2020 COVID season without supporters at the stadium, GVR told the New York Post’s Brian Costello that “I grew up on Long Island, rooting for the Jets,” and signing with Gang Green was “the culmination of a lifelong dream.”
“My grandpa was a fan, my dad took me and my brothers to games at the Meadowlands,” Van Roten explained. “After eight seasons in different NFL and CFL cities, I was coming home.”
Having said that, the starting right guard admitted that “coming home” during the COVID-impacted season wasn’t quite how he picture it. “When you’re growing up and you pretend to take that last-second shot or score the game-winning touchdown, you always end it with, ‘And the crowd goes wild!'” He went on. “Now, you could hear a pin drop. There was no juice, no energy … just emptiness. I can’t wait to welcome the fans back. We missed you.”
Unfortunately, that 2021 campaign was Van Roten’s final one playing with the words “New York” written across his chest. After two mixed seasons with the franchise according to Pro Football Focus — 54.4 run-blocking grade in 2020, 75.0 in 2021, three sacks and 24 QB pressures allowed in 2020, three sacks and 33 pressures allowed in 2021 — the Jets decided to release GVR.
He ended up starting 23 games for the organization, appearing in 30.
“I have thought about what it will be like to run out of the tunnel with my teammates,” Van Roten relayed through Costello in 2021. “To hear the roar of the crowd. I can remember going to Jets games as a kid, seeing Fireman Ed leading the ‘J-E-T-S’ chant. We got a taste of the home crowd during our last preseason game. When I heard the chant just before kickoff, it felt right. It felt how football is supposed to feel.”
Ex-Jets’ Greg Van Roten Should Get Opportunity to Start With Raiders
Looking at the Raiders depth chart, GVR could maneuver his way into another starting gig with a decent training camp in Las Vegas. Dylan Parham (a 2022 third-round pick) and Alex Bars (a former undrafted prospect) are listed as the current starters at guard, and the latter is coming off a poor 2022 campaign.
According to PFF, Bars was borderline atrocious in the run-game last year with a 39.6 grade out of 100. His pass protection wasn’t much better, with five sacks and 38 quarterback pressures allowed over 528 pass-blocking snaps.
He was also charged with three penalties, per PFF.
Van Roten hasn’t always been remembered fondly for his time in New York, but for what it’s worth, his stats and analytics were far better than a player like Bars. That means Jets fans could see GVR starting again in 2023 if all goes well with the Raiders.
According to the current NFL schedule, the Jets head to Vegas to play the Raiders on Sunday Night Football in Week 10. We’ll see if Van Roten is out there for LVR by the time that matchup occurs.