Rumored as a release candidate for months, Brian Winters remains a Jet. And the team’s longest-tenured offensive line starter looks to have a path to return.
Amid an offseason of significant change on the Jets’ O-line, GM Joe Douglas pointed to Winters being back to compete for a starting job up front. Winters, 28, has been a Jets starting guard since 2013. He’s not only the lone holdover from the Nick Mangold–D’Brickashaw Ferguson lines; he is the only O-lineman left from last year’s Week 1 starting lineup.
“We love his competitiveness and toughness,” Douglas said, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (on Twitter). “We should have a really good competition for our offensive line.”
The Jets would save $7.2MM by releasing their starting right guard and incur no dead money in doing so. So it should not be a given Winters will return. Gang Green added players at other positions, signing tackle George Fant and center Connor McGovern. The Jets also re-signed Alex Lewis, who spent 2019 at left guard, and inked former Panthers guard Greg Van Roten.
In Lewis, Van Roten and Winters, the Jets would have three starter-caliber guards — two of which arriving under the Douglas regime. Winters has been with the Jets through three regimes now. He has started 79 games since being a 2013 third-round Jets pick. Talk of a Winters release began to emerge after he went down with a season-ending dislocated shoulder. But three weeks into free agency, he remains with the Jets.
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