NY Jets might decline Alijah Vera-Tucker's 5th-year option

The Jets declined to commit to Alijah Vera-Tucker

Alijah Vera-Tucker
Alijah Vera-Tucker / Al Pereira/GettyImages

The NY Jets will be looking to almost completely revamp their offensive line this offseason. The only two guaranteed starters entering the new year are the oft-injured Alijah Vera-Tucker and 2023 rookie standout Joe Tippmann.

The Jets are hoping to lean on Vera-Tucker, whose versatility and outstanding play have been a breath of fresh air for a struggling offensive line. Unfortunately, his recent injury history has caused some concerns about his future.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas spoke to reporters at the NFL Combine last week, and when asked if the team would pick up Vera-Tucker's fifth-year option this offseason, the Jets GM was noncommittal.

Vera-Tucker will enter the final year of his rookie contract in 2024, but the Jets can pick up his fifth-year option by May, leaving him under contract for over $15.3 million in 2025. Douglas doesn't seem so sure that will happen, however.

The NY Jets are uncertain about Alijah Vera-Tucker's future

Douglas' comments are notable, given the way he's handled the last two fifth-year option decisions he's been forced to make regarding Quinnen Williams and Mekhi Becton.

When Douglas was asked about Williams' option at the 2022 NFL Combine, the Jets GM made it clear the plan was to pick it up. The Jets did so a couple of months later. As for Becton, however, Douglas was noncommittal when asked at last year's Combine. As we know, the Jets did not pick up Becton's fifth-year option.

Much like Becton, the pause with Vera-Tucker comes as a result of durability concerns. The former first-round pick has played in just 12 games over the last two seasons as a result of multiple major injuries.

Vera-Tucker missed 10 games in 2022 after suffering a torn triceps and appeared in just five games in 2023 before tearing his Achilles. Both injuries occurred early in the season in a game against the Denver Broncos.

The good for Vera-Tucker is that the Jets don't play the Broncos in 2024. More importantly, both injuries can be seen as freak accidents that are not correlated with one another. That wasn't true for Becton, whose persistent knee issues were undeniable.

Still, the Jets are adopting a wait-and-see approach with Vera-Tucker. They haven't determined what position they plan to play him at in 2024, and they haven't even determined if he'll be on the roster beyond next season.

The Jets are likely waiting to see how far along Vera-Tucker is in his injury rehab before making a decision on his future. $15.3 million is a sizable chunk of money to commit to a player with genuine injury concerns.

The Jets still see Alijah Vera-Tucker as a hopeful offensive building block moving forward, but it remains to be seen if they're willing to commit to him beyond 2024 just yet.