The Jets made sure Brian Winters wouldn’t hit free agency. The team announced Monday night the signing of its starting right guard to a four-year extension. He reportedly will earn about $8 million a season.
Winters, 25, was due to become a free agent in March, but instead of testing the waters, he’ll continue to be a mainstay on the Jets’ offensive line. The 2013 third-round pick started 13 games this season before being placed on injured reserve with a torn rotator cuff.
He earned the starting left guard job as a rookie but went on IR in 2014 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The Jets moved him to right guard in 2015 after Willie Colon suffered a knee injury.
Winters’ return is a solid move for the Jets, who have several roster decisions to make this offseason. The offensive line is one of their biggest question marks.
Left guard James Carpenter was the unit’s only starter to play all 16 games in 2016. Center Nick Mangold, left tackle Ryan Clady, right tackle Breno Giacomini and Winters were placed on injured reserve during the season. Because of a variety of factors (age, salary or durability), it’s unclear if Mangold, Clady and Giacomini will be on the roster next season.