Alijah Vera-Tucker

Jets Rumors: QBs, Offseason, Injuries

After a season that saw the Jets start four different quarterbacks throughout the year, general manager Joe Douglas knows that New York has “a lot of work to do” at the position, according to Connor Hughes of SNY. Of the four passers who started games for the Jets this season, only second-year starter Zach Wilson and practice squad quarterback Chris Streveler are set to return to New York in 2023, after Streveler was announced to have signed a futures contract earlier this week. Veterans Joe Flacco and Mike White, on the other hand, are set to hit free agency.

Wilson was benched midway through the season and saw White take over starting duties. When White was injured, Wilson took over as the primary backup but was soon relegated back to the bench as White got healthy and Flacco started the season finale. Despite rumors that the Jets could move on from Wilson in the offseason, Douglas iterated that New York has “never been a team that has given up on talent early.” Hughes claims that the team expects to continue to work with Wilson moving forward. As for Wilson’s chances of starting, Douglas washed his hands of the decision, deferring the call to head coach Robert Saleh, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Cimini also noted last week a comment from then-offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who speculated that it “would’ve benefited” Wilson to allow him to sit and learn from a veteran. Unfortunately, when the team drafted Wilson, they had no such veteran. White had no NFL experience at the time, despite having been in the league for three years, and the only other quarterback on the roster was James Morgan. The team eventually brought in that experience, signing Josh Johnson late in that year’s training camp and trading midseason to bring in Flacco. LaFleur claimed he hasn’t done a good enough job of developing Wilson, saying that if any position player isn’t producing to the expected level, it’s a failure of the coach.

Wilson could potentially see his competition from this season return. White, who took the reins from Wilson this year, told Cimini that there is mutual interest in his return to the Jets from free agency. He also noted that situations change quickly in the league, hinting that he will keep his eyes open for other opportunities.

Here are a few other rumors from the Jets’ building as the franchise readies for the offseason:

  • Cimini took to ESPN as the Jets’ regular season came to an end and laid out the offseason plan for New York. Setting aside the search for a starting quarterback, mentioned in part above, and the search for a new course on offense after the firing of LaFleur, the Jets’ biggest focus will be free agency and salary cap space. To create cap space for free agent shopping, some guys with big cap hits may find themselves on the chopping block. Cutting players like wide receiver Corey Davis and offensive tackle Duane Brown could result in cap savings of $10.5MM and $5.3MM, respectively. Even players who have made significant contributions may find themselves in danger because of their salaries. Defensive end Carl Lawson could provide $15MM of cap savings, safety Jordan Whitehead $7.5MM, and return specialist Braxton Berrios $5MM. Not to mention star linebacker C.J. Mosley who is set to have a 2023 cap charge totaling $21.5MM.
  • In terms of what to look for in free agency, offensive line struggles severely hampered the team’s success this year. Starting guards Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker should return next season. After undergoing triceps surgery, Vera-Tucker is expected to be back in time for training camp, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Tackle Mekhi Becton is a question mark after missing the team’s last 33 games due to injuries and weight issues. Becton told Hughes he feels “real good” after losing a “lot” of weight and will be ready for Organized Team Activities. If Becton can’t deliver, the Jets are in trouble as they will watch tackle George Fant hit free agency and Brown could be a cap casualty or could just retire. Starting center Connor McGovern is also set to hit free agency.
  • While offensive line will be an important position to build, their most important signing may come on the defensive line. Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will be with the team through next year due to the fifth-round option of his rookie contract, but that may not be enough to satisfy Douglas and company. Williams has established himself as one of the best at his position and will likely expect to be paid like it. Douglas will want to find an extended contract for Williams long before the idea of free agency enters his mind.
  • Lawson had a strong first year in New York despite coming back from an Achilles injury. Lawson’s recovery hit a snag when he needed a second surgery. He even tweaked something in rehab and was expected to miss a chunk of the season, according to Hughes. Despite not even running until about a month before camp, Lawson started all 17 games and recorded his highest sack total since his rookie season.
  • Running back Breece Hall‘s rookie season was cut short after the second-round pick suffered a torn ACL in October. According to Costello, Hall claims that he will be ready for the start of next year.

Jets OL Alijah Vera-Tucker Out For Season

The Jets’ offense has been dealt another massive blow on the injury front. Head coach Robert Saleh announced on Monday that offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker is out for the remainder of the season due to a triceps tear (video link).

[RELATED: Jets RB Hall Suffers Torn ACL]

Saleh added that Vera-Tucker will require surgery to repair the damage suffered during yesterday’s win over the Broncos. The news marks another significant loss on the offensive line, a unit which was already dealing with numerous injuries in 2022.

The tackle spot has been a particularly sore one for Gang Green. Mekhi Becton was ruled out for the season prior to Week 1 due to his most recent knee injury. That precipitated the signing of veteran Duane Brown, who was unable to make his Jets debut until Week 5. George Fant, meanwhile, was slated to serve as the team’s starting right tackle after the addition of Brown, but he is on IR as a result of a knee injury. Saleh indicated that it is unlikely Fant will be activated this week.

Given the uncertainty along New York’s offensive front, Vera-Tucker has had to wear multiple hats in 2022. Seeing time at both tackle spots, along with right guard, the 2021 first-rounder has filled in as needed along the line. That marks a significant change from last season, when the USC alum played exclusively at left guard – the spot now occupied by free agent signing Laken Tomlinson.

Given a solid PFF grade of 75.2 in run blocking this year, Vera-Tucker had not fared as well in pass protection. The 23-year-old was charged with 16 pressures allowed, leading to a 61.4 rating. Still, his absence will be felt on a Jets’ offense which just lost starting running back Breece Hall for the remainder of what had been a promising season. Saleh said Cedric Ogbuehi will step in as the team’s starting right tackle.

The 5-2 Jets will look to move ahead with a depleted offense and maintain their early success beginning on Sunday when they host the Patriots.

Jets RB Breece Hall Sustains ACL Tear

OCTOBER 24: An MRI has confirmed the Jets’ fears. Hall did, in fact, tear his ACL, Rapoport tweets. The rookie RB also has a meniscus injury, adding further to the lengthy recovery process he now faces to be able to return in 2023.

OCTOBER 23: The 5-2 Jets are one of the league’s biggest surprises through the first seven weeks of the 2022 season, but the club may have been dealt a brutal blow in Sunday’s victory over the Broncos. Rookie running back Breece Hall was carted off the field during the game, and head coach Robert Saleh said in his postgame presser that early tests indicate a serious knee injury (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of Per Rich Cimini of, the team fears that Hall tore his ACL, which would obviously end his season.

Gang Green’s record is largely a product of its defense, which is a top-10 unit in terms of both yards allowed and points allowed per game. One of the bright spots on offense, though, has been Hall, the No. 36 overall pick of this year’s draft. The Iowa State product received single-digit rushing attempts in each of the Jets’ first three games of the season, and he showed enough to earn more playing time in recent weeks. From Weeks 4 to 6, Hall carried the ball 55 times for 279 yards (good for a 5.07 YPC rate) and three touchdowns. In Week 5, he added two receptions for 100 yards.

Hall was enjoying a similarly productive outing against Denver, ripping off a 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Unfortunately, he suffered the knee injury shortly thereafter, and it appears that one of the most exciting rookies in the league may be sidelined until 2023.

2021 fourth-rounder Michael Carter posted a respectable 4.3 YPC average in his first professional season, though his presence was clearly not enough to deter the Jets from selecting Hall this year. Carter is simply not as explosive as his younger counterpart, and his 3.8 YPC rate in 2022 is suboptimal. Nonetheless, he will be asked to pick up the slack in Hall’s absence, with Ty Johnson also likely to see an increase in playing time. Johnson, a sixth-round pick of the Lions in 2019, has yet to get a carry this season and has just one catch for four yards. New York also has Zonovan Knight on its practice squad.

Cimini points out that versatile O-lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, who is now playing right tackle, and wide receiver Corey Davis also exited the Broncos game early. Vera-Tucker sustained an elbow injury, while Davis went down with a knee ailment. Both players will undergo further testing on Monday, though Davis may have dodged a bullet; he was cleared to return to the game, but the coaching staff exercised caution by keeping him off the field.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/30/21

Here are Thursday’s reserve/COVID-19 list updates:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Activated from virus list: OL Cody Ford, CB Cam Lewis
  • Activated from practice squad virus list: TE Quintin Morris

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Placed on practice squad virus list: LB Omari Cobb

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/21/21

Once again, we’ve had a busy day of moves on and off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Here are the players who were placed on the list or activated off of it today:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Dalton Keene (remains on IR)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Washington Football Team

Jets Sign First-Round OL Alijah Vera-Tucker

Jets fans are still waiting for their team to ink second-overall pick Zach Wilson to his rookie contract, but the organization did manage to sign their other first-round pick today. The team announced that they’ve signed first-round guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.

The USC product was selected with the 14th pick during this past year’s draft. The offensive lineman’s rookie contract is worth a fully guaranteed $15.88MM, including an $8.9MM signing bonus.

A darling of scouts across the league, Vera-Tucker was lauded for his versatility and hard-nosed playing style during his time at USC. AVT was already considered a top offensive guard prospect heading into the 2020 season, but he added even more intrigue following a successful transition to tackle. After earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019, he made a jump to the first team in 2020. He also earned the Morris Trophy this past season, awarded to the best OL/DL in the Pac 12 (as voted by players).

Vera-Tucker lacks elite athleticism, which means his future will probably be on the interior. Indeed, the rookie is currently projected to start at left guard for the Jets.

Following the signing, the Jets have only a pair of rookies who remain unsigned: Wilson and second-round wideout Elijah Moore.

Latest On Unsigned First-Round Rookies

After the Falcons inked first-round tight end Kyle Pitts to his rookie deal earlier today, there are eight first-round rookies who remain unsigned:

1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB (Clemson)
2) New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB (BYU)
3) San Francisco 49ers (from Texans via Dolphins): Trey Lance, QB (North Dakota State)
13) Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater, OT (Northwestern)
14) New York Jets (from Vikings): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL (USC)
15) New England Patriots: Mac Jones, QB (Alabama)
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams): Travis Etienne, RB (Clemson)
26) Cleveland Browns: Greg Newsome II, CB (Northwestern)

This isn’t a huge cause for concern, as first-round contracts are pretty standard and by-the-book. However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has an explanation for why at least a handful of these players still haven’t put pen to paper. According to the reporter (via Twitter), there are still some “wrinkles to work out” for the notable quarterback deals. This sentiment would presumably apply to each of the top-three picks, and it could even be referring to Patriots first-round quarterback Mac Jones.

There’s a number of minor details that agents could be pushing for, including signing bonus terms or any other contract language that goes beyond the standard, boilerplate options. On the other side, teams could be pushing for some type of offset language, meaning the organization would get some financial flexibility if the player for some reason doesn’t finish their rookie contract with the team.

When it comes to the quarterbacks, most of the agents are probably waiting to see how Lawrence’s deal unfolds in Jacksonville. Alternatively, if Bill Belichick and the Patriots (somehow) give in to any demands from Jones camp, you can bet the top-three QBs would argue for similar benefits. While there are a number of reasons why the other, non-QB players have yet to sign, one could guess that the two offensive lineman may be pushing for similar terms (Vera-Tucker could also simply be waiting for his teammate to sign their contract). Etienne is in a unique position as one of only two first-round running backs (or, like Vera-Tucker, he could be waiting for his teammate), while Newsome recently fired his agent.

The teams and the players will want the contracts settled prior to training camp in late-July, but that still leaves a few weeks for negotiating.

Ten First-Round Picks Remain Unsigned

This year, NFL teams have been quick to tackle their rookie paperwork. Still, there are a decent number of unsigned draft picks remaining, including ten of this year’s first-rounders: 

In a sense, this is a sign that things are back to normal in football following the pandemic. For example, by June 12th of 2019, 22 first-round picks had put pen to paper, with 222 rookies inked on the whole. However, around this time last year, there were just two first-round picks officially in the fold – Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown.

Offset language and similar minutia could be holding these ten deals up, but there’s no reason to panic. In all likelihood, these rookie contracts will be squared away before the start of training camp this summer.

Vikings Trade No. 14 Pick To Jets; Jets Take Alijah Vera-Tucker

It’s shaping up to be a big night for the Jets. After selecting BYU quarterback Zach Wilson No. 2 overall, the Jets have traded back up to snag the Vikings’ No. 14 overall pick. In the process, they’ve leapfrogged Bill Belichick and the Patriots, who were unable to move up from No. 15.

With the 14th pick, the Jets selected USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. The choice wasn’t met with much of a reaction from the crowd in Cleveland, but GM Joe Douglas was practically doing cartwheels. A darling of scouts across the league, Vera-Tucker has been lauded for his versatility and hard-nosed playing style.

AVT was already considered a top offensive guard prospect heading into the 2020 season, but he added even more intrigue following a successful transition to tackle. After earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019, he made a jump to the first team in 2020. He also earned the Morris Trophy this past season, awarded to the best OL/DL in the Pac 12 (as voted by players).

Vera-Tucker lacks elite athleticism, which means his future will probably be on the interior. Either way, his high-IQ play style and versatility should make him a contributor for the Jets right off the bat.

Here’s the full breakdown of the deal that brought Vera-Tucker to the east coast:

Vikings Receive

  • Pick No. 23
  • Pick No. 66
  • Pick No. 86

Jets Receive

  • Pick No. 14
  • Pick No. 143

Draft Trade Rumors: Bears, Falcons, Bengals

Here’s a few of the latest draft rumors, with a focus on teams that could be moving up or down the board in the first round:

  • The Bears, who hold the No. 20 overall pick, have been rumored as a team that could be climbing up the draft board to grab a QB, but as Albert Breer of writes, they haven’t been particularly active in trade discussions just yet. A lot can happen in a week, and Breer says rival clubs do expect Chicago to at least consider a bold trade to land a top passer. On the other hand, such a deal will be very expensive in terms of draft capital, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune hears from some sources that GM Ryan Pace might try to protect his draft assets to fill his club’s multiple needs. Still, Pace’s job and HC Matt Nagy‘s job are very much in jeopardy, and unless the duo is particularly high on a second-tier QB like Florida’s Kyle Trask, expect the team to exhaust all possible avenues for a trade up.
  • The Falcons may be open to all options when it comes to their No. 4 overall pick, but Breer is getting the sense that Atlanta is perfectly content to stay right where it is. Whether the Falcons take a QB with that pick or the top non-QB prospect in the draft remains an open question, but they have put a very high price on their selection, and it sounds like they will need to be overwhelmed by a trade offer to move it.
  • The buzz around the Bengals has pointed towards the team keeping its No. 5 overall pick and selecting LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase. Director of player personnel Duke Tobin said that he has engaged in talks with teams looking to move up to No. 5, but he wants to stay put and select a premier talent (Twitter link via Geoff Hobson of
  • Other teams are expecting the Dolphins to keep the No. 6 selection, but GM Chris Grier says that he will continue listening to trade offers up until the pick is in (Twitter link via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald). If he does get an offer that convinces him to move down, he won’t want to slide too far.
  • Connor Hughes of The Athletic says Jets GM Joe Douglas could try to engineer a trade up from the No. 23 overall pick, especially if an OL like Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater or USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker should start to fall. However, he doesn’t see Douglas moving into the top-15.