Thomas Morstead, NY Jets, Release, Braden Mann
Thomas Morstead, New York Jets, Getty Images

Braden Mann is apparently nearing a return

Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the New York Jets are releasing punter Thomas Morstead.

Morstead is subject to waivers after being released after the 2021 trade deadline.

The release of Morstead hints at the return of second-year leg Braden Mann, who was injured during the Jets’ opening weekend loss in Charlotte. Mann was placed on injured reserve after sustaining an injury on his second attempt of the year, forcing kicker Matt Ammendola to take over for the remainder of the showdown against the Panthers.

Ironically, Morstead gave Mann one of his first kicking lessons. The duo recreated that moment when Mann recently returned to the practice field.

Though Morstead’s Jets career is set to end after only seven games, he was one of the few silver linings in during a tough start to the season. Morstead averaged 48.2 yards per kick on 23 attempts. That tally is good for eighth in the NFL this season and his best since 2016.

Morstead previously spent a dozen seasons with the New Orleans Saints, partaking in the team’s victorious run to Super Bowl XLIV as well as the 2012 Pro Bowl.

The veteran punter was signed by the Jets on Sept. 15 after Mann’s injury. In a tweet, he thanked the Jets for giving him an opportunity and suggested he is looking forward to landing with another team.

“I’m so grateful to the Jets for the opportunity to keep living out my dream. I got to show my kids how to persevere through adversity. Can’t ask for much more than that. Also, if my production this season hasn’t already indicated, there is a lot of gas left in the tank,” Morstead writes.

While Morstead was serviceable in an emergency situation, the Jets have a lot invested into Mann, whom they chose in the sixth round of 2020’s virtual draft.

Mann, a Texas A&M alum, was the winner of the Ray Guy Award in 2018 as the nation’s top punter. His 51-yard average in that season set a Football Bowl Subdivision/Division I-A record, breaking a 21-year hold LSU’s Chad Kessler had on the mark.

Mann was an unfortunate staple of the Jets’ 2020 endeavors, as his 82 attempts led the NFL. After averaging 43.9 yards last season, he was up to 47.4 on 12 kicks over three preseason games. Mann also became a fan favorite amongst Jets fans for picking up four tackles as a rookie, a couple of which were touchdown-saving.

The Jets (2-6) return to action on Sunday as they battle the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email: geoffmags90@gmail.com

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