The NFL training camp path of one former CFLer just got a whole lot easier when the New York Jets released incumbent right guard Brian Winters Sunday.
The New York Jets cut Winters and it paves the way for former Toronto Argonaut Greg Van Roten to take over the position after signing with the gang green in free agency.
The two players were expected to compete for the role in camp, but the Jets made the decision early and save $7.28 million by letting go of their longest tenured player. Van Roten is now the projected starter on a revamped offensive line and should face limited competition from raw fourth-round rookie Cameron Clark.
Van Roten’s first NFL contract was with Green Bay where he played 10 games with the Packers during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Green Bay released him in February 2014, however, three days later Seattle signed the six-foot-three, 308-pounder. However, Van Roten was among the Seahawks final training camp cuts that year, which led to him signing with the Argos in advance of the 2015 season.
The 30-year-old played with the double blue in 2015 and 2016. He was a versatile player who played 32 CFL games at tackle, guard and centre along the offensive line. Jacksonville took interest in February 2017, although after a brief off-season stint on the Jaguars roster, he was released in May.
Carolina brought Van Roten in and during his first season with the Panthers he played in 10 games on special teams and served as a backup centre and guard. In January 2018, the Rockville Centre, New York native put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension. He earned a starting job, playing all 16 regular season games at left guard for Carolina that season — the only player to take every offensive snap for the Panthers.
Following 11 starts and a dislocated toe injury which ended his 2019 season, Van Roten was coveted by multiple NFL teams during free agency and inked a three-year $10.5 million deal with his hometown Jets.
Now the former boatman will be a key part of a unit designed to keep young quarterback Sam Darnold upright and return the Jets to prominence.