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NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: OG Brian Winters

NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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NY Jets’ offensive guard Brian Winters will be looking to hold on to his roster spot in 2020.

The NY Jets made a number of additions to the offensive line in free agency, but one player who will return is offensive guard Brian Winters.

Now the longest-tenured member of the roster, Winters will be joined by a new-look unit featuring the likes of Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern, and George Fant.

Also joining him is the man who very well might take his job in free-agent signing Greg Van Roten.

Many expected Winters to be an offseason cap casualty given his over $7 million cap hit and the $0 in dead cap that it would take to cut him. And following the signing of Van Roten, it almost seemed like a forgone conclusion.

But Winters is still hanging around as we approach the end of July and it doesn’t seem as though he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

A longtime fixture of the Jets’ offensive line, Winters has certainly seen his performance diminish in recent years as injuries have piled up. Just this past season, he played in just nine games before landing on the season-ending injured reserve.

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That’s been the story of Winters’ last few seasons with Gang Green. He’s either been playing through injuries or forced to the sideline because of them.

But going into 2020, what can Winters do to ensure that perhaps his final year with the Jets is a success?

How Brian Winters can find success with the NY Jets in 2020

Winters faces two challenges this summer. On one hand, he’s looking to fend off the newly-signed Van Roten for the starting right guard job. And on the other hand, he’s looking to simply secure his roster spot on the team.

Before Winters can even worry about securing a starting role, he must first prove to the Jets that he’s worth keeping around at his current price tag. Winters is due to make a little over $7 million in 2020, which would be a hefty amount for a backup.

And even given his play over the last couple of seasons, that’s likely a little more than he’s worth as a starter. Nonetheless, the Jets aren’t going to cut ties with Winters unless they need that money, so he should be safe for now.

That being said, a strong showing in the summer would go a long way towards officially solidifying his role on the roster.

There is no one particular area of his game that Winters must work on. He doesn’t stand out as a better run-blocker or pass-protector grading our as fairly average/below-average at both.

However, if there is one thing that could use improvement it’s his tendency to take penalties. Winters was flagged just twice in nine games in 2019, but he tallied six accepted penalties in 2018 and a whopping eight in 2017.

In fact, with the exception of his two partially-injured campaigns, he’s never finished a year with fewer than six penalties. Winters must show more discipline to compete with Van Roten who’s been tagged for just four accepted penalties over the last two years combined.

The former third-round pick has an advantage seeing as he knows the system already and has familiarity with the organization. If he has anything working for him, it’s certainly that.

If Winters could come to training camp fully healthy and prove to the Jets that he’s not only worth a roster spot but a starting job, then 2020 will be a massive success for the Kent State product.

He may not be the preseason favorite to start Week 1, but Winters has started 79 games for the organization over the past seven years for a reason, and it would be foolish to count him out just yet.

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While not the most probable outcome, don’t be shocked if Brian Winters is the Jets’ starting right guard come Week 1.

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