Alijah Vera-Tucker Inks Rookie Contract, Solidifies Trenches for Jets

The New York Jets officially signed rookie offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker ahead of training camp next week.

The team announced the news on Tuesday evening. AVT signed a four-year contract worth $15.9M which is fully guaranteed. That also features an $8.9M signing bonus and a standard fifth-year team option.

This signing ensures that there won’t be any holdout drama ahead of camp and locks in an important cog in this Gang Green machine.

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History in the Making

AVT being back in the news is a perfect excuse to talk about how historic his selection was by the Jets.

In two NFL drafts, general manager Joe Douglas has had three first-round picks to use. With two of the three, he has selected an offensive lineman.

Douglas snapped a 14-year drought when he selected Mekhi Becton with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. That was the first time the green and white had taken an offensive lineman in the first round since 2006.

Here’s an even greater stat, Douglas selected offensive linemen in the first round in back-to-back drafts for the first time since *checks notes* 1977, 1978. This excludes the 2006 draft when they took a pair of hog mollies in the same class (D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold).

That tells you what is important to the head honcho for the Jets, especially as a former offensive lineman himself.

Paving the Way for a Better Jets Offense Coming to a TV Near You

Some of the best teams in Jets history have had stalwart offensive lines that not only created rushing lanes but protected their franchise signal-callers.

Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is properly bubble wrapped with a combined 671 pounds of meat between Becton and AVT.

Speaking of Wilson, it’s paramount to his development to remain upright. During this recent period of trench neglect, it’s not surprising that so many quarterbacks have struggled under center for the green and white.

Selecting an offensive lineman in the first round may not be sexy or win many headlines, but that’s exactly what this team needed to build a winning foundation for the present and future.

Now they have a pair of players that could prove to be franchise pillars for the next decade.

Also, it just so happens both of those players will be linked at the hip, not only historically, but also literally.

Becton has been tasked with protecting the blindside. While Vera-Tucker has experience across the offensive line (both at guard and tackle), he projects to line up right next to his fellow cornerstone at left guard.

They’re both super talented individually, but getting the opportunity to play next to each other will take both of their games to another level.

That will provide a sense of security for Wilson that his entire left side is protected with the best possible talent a team can draft.

When you evaluate the rest of the offensive line you have to feel very good about Morgan Moses. The veteran right tackle was a late addition to the roster when he surprisingly became available in May.

Although not everything is peaches and cream. There are two big question marks at center and right guard in the trenches.

Although if you believe what the Jets have told us throughout this process they strongly believe Connor McGovern is going to have a major bounceback in 2021. They also have expressed an optimism that the better talent around him will also contribute to a return to form.

At right guard it’s a royal rumble-esque free-for-all and it’s anyone’s guess who will win that scrap. The early betting line is on Greg Van Roten, but he’s not superman, a strong effort from someone else could be enough to flip the script.

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