Grading Joe Douglas: Greg Van Roten is a solid addition to the New York Jets offensive line
The top and most overwhelming priority for the New York Jets this offseason was upgrading the offensive line. A unit that was among the worst in the NFL over the past two seasons saw significant upgrades and added depth.
One piece that will be called upon to help the offensive line improve is Greg Van Roten, signed in free agency. The guard follows the mold of an under-the-radar, low-risk signing preferred by general manager Joe Douglas so far this offseason.
The lowdown: After barely registering during his first four seasons in the league plus two seasons in Canada, Van Roten has developed into a solid starting player for the Carolina Panthers. He has 27 starts over the past two seasons.
In 2018, he made 16 starts and played a career-high 1,058 snaps on the offensive line. His 2019 was cut short due to a dislocated toe, limiting him to just 11 starts.
What Van Roten Brings: He’s strong with long arms but it is not just physical qualities that he brings. Van Roten, not surprisingly given his Penn education, is known for being a smart player who quickly can make a diagnosis at the line. This can be an asset for a young quarterback like Sam Darnold and help his maturation and development.
He has been solid the past two years as a starter for Carolina, even if an injury and a dip in form hit him last season.
Where Van Roten fits: He likely slots in as one of the two starting guards for the Jets, leaving Alex Lewis and Brian Winters to battle it out for the other position.
He is a proven and steady addition to the line and is an upgrade for the Jets in the interior.
Long-term outlook: At 30-years old, this is Van Roten’s big chance to shine. He grew up a Jets fan and has always wanted to play for the green and white.
This is a big opportunity for him as there were some thoughts last year that he could lose the starting job in Carolina (which he later claimed). The Jets give him the chance to be a starting guard for the next couple of seasons. At least in 2020, he looks like he will be called upon to start.
His three-year, $10.5 million contract has $3 million in guaranteed money. All that comes in 2020 so the Jets hold some flexibility if they want to upgrade at guard after this season.
Grading the move: Van Roten is a solid interior offensive lineman signed to a cap-friendly deal that can and should let the Jets have flexibility with how they build their line moving forward.
He is an upgrade at either guard position for the Jets. This is a player who was on the ascend two years ago in Carolina and has the potential to be good for the Jets.