Talent has walked into NY Jets HQ in Florham Park, NJ
FLORHAM PARK, NJ—Perhaps none other than the New York Jets man with three names—helped along with a hyphen—summed it up best. (And no, this is not in reference to Alijah Vera-Tucker.)
“This is A Crazy business.”
This A Crazy business…
— John Franklin-Myers (@J_FranklinMyers) August 30, 2022
The other hyphenated Jets player, John Franklin-Myers, put it beautifully when tweeting that five-word sentence (with a capital “A” and “C” that started the word “Crazy”).
The sentiment came down on Tuesday night when the world discovered which 53 players would be fortunate enough to call themselves active members of an NFL franchise. And now that the New York Jets roster has been trimmed to 53, the craziness can officially commence.
Perhaps JFM knew what he was doing when he threw out “Crazy” with a capital “C.”
Preseason fan favorites such as Bradlee Anae, Will Parks, and, of course, Mr. Chris Streveler himself, all found themselves on the outside looking in. Other shockers such as Javelin Guidry and Jason Pinnock also stoked Twitter fires.
Although I did leave Pinnock out of one of my earlier roster predictions, the idea that Pinnock could miss out while being joined by Parks, was something I did not see coming. The latter, especially, was dynamite all summer, and it’s a major win that the Jets signed Philly Will to the practice squad.
But I digress …
All in all, there will always be top-notch discussions that only innocent (or not so innocent—what the hell do I know?) flies on the wall are privy to. From a positional coach selling head coach Robert Saleh on a player to Brant Boyer sticking his foot in the ever-so-slowly dying special teams ground, the final cutdown day of the summer is always a crucial step in a football team’s journey.
Although not every player, fan, coach or even executive will come out on the other side 100 percent pleased, the greater point shall not be missed …
These Jets have some serious talent in the building.
The 2022 version is head and shoulders superior to the 2021, 2020 and 2019 squads. On paper, it’s not even close.
|QB||Zach Wilson||Tim Boyle||Trevor Siemian 📛||Aaron Rodgers ❌|
|RB1||Breece Hall||Dalvin Cook||Michael Carter||Israel Abanikanda|
|RB2||Dalvin Cook||Michael Carter||Israel Abanikanda||Xazavian Valladay 📛|
|FB||Nick Bawden||Jeremy Ruckert||C.J. Uzomah|
|WR (Z)||Garrett Wilson||Mecole Hardman||Jason Brownlee|
|WR (X)||Allen Lazard||Mecole Hardman||Irvin Charles 📛||Malik Taylor 📛|
|SWR||Randall Cobb||Mecole Hardman||Xavier Gipson|
|TE1||Tyler Conklin||C.J. Uzomah||Jeremy Ruckert||Zack Kuntz 📛||Kenny Yeboah ❌|
|TE2||C.J. Uzomah||Jeremy Ruckert||Zack Kuntz 📛||Kenny Yeboah ❌|
|LT||Mekhi Becton||Billy Turner||Duane Brown ❌||Carter Warren ❌|
|LG||Laken Tomlinson||Wes Schweitzer||Billy Turner||Chris Glaser 📛|
|C||Connor McGovern||Joe Tippmann||Wes Schweitzer|
|RG||Joe Tippmann||Alijah Vera-Tucker||Billy Turner||Jason Poe 📛|
|RT||Alijah Vera-Tucker||Max Mitchell||Billy Turner||Adam Pankey 📛||Cedric Ogbuehi 📛|
|BASE LE (5-9T)||John Franklin-Myers||Micheal Clemons||Will McDonald||Bryce Huff||Jalyn Holmes 📛|
|BASE DT (3T)||Quinnen Williams||Solomon Thomas||John Franklin-Myers||Micheal Clemons|
|BASE DT (1-2iT)||Quinton Jefferson||Al Woods||Solomon Thomas||Marquiss Spencer 📛|
|BASE RE (5-9T)||Carl Lawson||Jermaine Johnson||Bradlee Anae ❌||Ifeadi Odenigbo ❌|
|SUB L-EDGE (W9)||Will McDonald||Bryce Huff|
|SUB IDL (3-4iT)||John Franklin-Myers||Micheal Clemons||Quinnen Williams|
|SUB IDL (3T)||Quinnen Williams||Solomon Thomas||Quinton Jefferson|
|SUB R-EDGE (7-W9)||Jermaine Johnson||Carl Lawson|
|MIKE||C.J. Mosley||Jamien Sherwood||Quincy Williams|
|SAM||Quincy Williams||Zaire Barnes||Sam Eguavoen|
|WILL||Jamien Sherwood||Chazz Surratt||Marcelino McCrary-Ball 📛||Hamsah Nasirildeen ❌|
|LCB||Sauce Gardner||Brandin Echols||Bryce Hall||Justin Hardee|
|RCB||D.J. Reed||Brandin Echols||Bryce Hall||Justin Hardee||Nehemiah Shelton 📛|
|SCB||Michael Carter II||Brandin Echols||Jarrick Bernard-Converse ❌|
|FS||Tony Adams||Ashtyn Davis||Jarrick Bernard-Converse ❌||Tyreque Jones 📛|
|SS||Jordan Whitehead||Adrian Amos||Trey Dean 📛||Chuck Clark ❌|
|K||Greg Zuerlein||Thomas Morstead||Austin Seibert 📛|
|P||Thomas Morstead||Greg Zuerlein|
|ST PLAYERS||Justin Hardee||Ashtyn Davis||Irvin Charles||Zaire Barnes||Chazz Surratt|
|KR||Xavier Gipson||Israel Abanikanda||Mecole Hardman|
|PR||Xavier Gipson||Mecole Hardman||Randall Cobb|
The cherry on top is the idea that Saleh and the coaching staff kept this roster healthy—something few Jets teams of recent yesteryear could claim.
What, specifically, Franklin-Myers was touching upon in his tweet, we may never know. The man who signed a life-altering extension of his own not too long ago is great friends with fellow defensive lineman Tanzel Smart—who, unfortunately, found himself on the practice squad after a nice camp.
In the end, JFM’s tweet’s purpose matters very little. This is, indeed, a crazy business, and a lot of factors play into these decisions that often make or break the careers of aspiring professional football players.
Consider the actual decision-making
Never will an NFL team consist of the very best 53 guys. It simply does not work that way.
The hard salary cap makes things tricky. Draft statuses, contract situations and waivers all play a part in these decisions. For instance, Will Parks, a man who may have been the Jets’ second-best safety this summer (behind Jordan Whitehead), did not get the nod in spite of how much the coaching staff loves the guy.
Infuriating fans more is the fact that third-year safety Ashtyn Davis is sticking around, despite poor play from an instinctual and fundamental perspective.
It’s pretty simple, really: Parks had a much better chance of clearing waivers than Davis did. The athletic traits and ceiling of a third-round pick like Davis would have the other 31 general managers on high alert, whereas Parks is already back with the Jets on their practice squad.
The Guidry move was surprising, but a spot had to be there for Justin Hardee, a guy Boyer surely fought for tooth and nail. Pinnock was also surprising considering his playing time from a year ago, but his fifth-round draft status does not hold much water.
In the end, Saleh and Douglas stuck to their veteran ways when making tough decisions. Hardee, Nathan Shepherd and Vinny Curry all hung around, while Tevin Coleman represents the only surprising veteran cut.
Where it gets tricky is the following idea: Weighing smart front office and transactional decisions against rewarding those who put their best foot forward in camp is what it comes down to. Never does a coach or general manager want to lose the locker room to a degree in which eyebrows are raising too often.
The, “Wait, what?! How did this guy make it over that guy?” chatter is what teams undoubtedly have to deal with yet also overcome this time of year.
Nonetheless, head-scratching decisions are part of the business. More specifically, they are part of the actual business side of the football business.
The controversial decisions and storylines
Ashtyn Davis and Tony Adams over Will Parks and Jason Pinnock
The most controversial Jets’ roster move brings us to safety. Will Parks, one of the Jets’ better players this summer, and Jason Pinnock, a kid who moved from cornerback to safety in-season a year ago, were cast aside for Ashtyn Davis and undrafted free agent Tony Adams.
It’s controversial simply due to performance.
Davis continued to showcase less-than-stellar football instincts this summer, while Adams did not make much noise at all.
Ashtyn Davis … great first step, great reaction, great break, great discipline in terms of play rec, BUT he just always had a tough time when needing to *break down* and make a tackle. It's either high-flying getting it done or a missed tackle (reckless). #Jets
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) August 28, 2022
Parks, on the other hand, played phenomenally in so many areas.
Will Parks just *wants it* so much more than so many other guys this summer. It's been easy to spot since day No. 1. Excellent tackle against the screen there. #Jets
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) August 23, 2022
Unfortunately, in the end, it made more sense to hold onto a coveted undrafted free agent in Adams and third-round talent in Davis. Parks was much easier to fly under the radar and sneak onto the practice squad.
Ty Johnson and Zonovan Knight over Tevin Coleman
Tevin Coleman represents the lone veteran-cut surprise. The surprising part of the running back situation, to me, is the fact that they have decided to carry four backs.
I thought they would cap it at three, considering how reliable Michael Carter and Breece Hall appear to be.
Perhaps not having a healthy Nick Bawden allowed four to happen. Additionally, not keeping Trevon Wesco now means Mike LaFleur does not have a fullback to play with, which is an interesting thing to keep in mind.
In any event, Zonovan Knight deserved to make this team. And although Jets fans aren’t hot on Ty Johnson these days, his speed does bring something to the table.
Javelin Guidry cut
I really did think there was a chance that Justin Hardee could find himself in trouble this summer. Neither the roster numbers nor youth was on his side, and guys like Ashtyn Davis and Jeff Smith could easily fill his shoes in the special teams department.
But it was not to be.
New York opted to keep Hardee and cut backup slot cornerback Javelin Guidry, which was a shocker to me. Guidry possesses instincts and an overall football wherewithal that cannot be taught, as he usually puts himself in tremendous positions to succeed on the football field.
The Guidry and Parks cuts were the most head-scratching for me, personally.
Vinny Curry over Bradlee Anae
Jets fans did not want to see Bradlee Anae cast aside, and for good reason. The former Utah standout played extremely well this summer.
Not only did Anae squeeze a strip-sack, touchdown highlight in there, but he also showcased excellent discipline on several occasions (as it relates to remaining home on the weakside against the play-action boot).
It might just work out for the Jets and Anae in the end, as it looks like Curry is headed to IR.
Nathan Shepherd over Jonathan Marshall and Tanzel Smart
Much like Ashtyn Davis, Nathan Shepherd is not what you would call a fan favorite. One of the last remaining Mike Maccagnan holdovers, Shepherd is a Jets coaching-staff favorite.
Thanks to solid performances from Jonathan Marshall and Tanzel Smart this summer, some thought Shepherd’s time with the Jets was nearing its conclusion.
It was not to be, as Shepherd yet again made the cut.
Chris Streveler mania was not enough
In what turned out to be anything but a surprise, New York opted to cut quarterback Chris Streveler. I mean, let’s be honest, folks … it would not have made sense to carry him on the active 53-man roster.
Interestingly, Zach Wilson’s injury hurt Streveler. Had Wilson been healthy or actually on IR, Streveler could have made the squad as the No. 3 quarterback. A healthy Wilson would have allowed Douglas to test the trade waters with Mike White, leaving a proven backup in Joe Flacco rostered, whereas an IR-placed Wilson would have freed up a spot to go Flacco, White and then Streveler.
No matter his preseason heroics, the Jets were simply not going to reply upon an unproven quarterback as the backup in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. And there was no way they were going. carry four quarterbacks.
At the end of the day, Douglas made the smart decision. Steveler is now back with the Jets as part of their practice squad.
Denzel Mims is here … for now
Denzel Mims’s roster spot means New York has six wide receivers on its active roster. Then again, there’s still plenty of time before Week 1 arrives.
Mims’s official trade request now means Douglas is fielding offers for the disgruntled second-round pick out of Baylor. While it may be tough to fetch fair value at this point, I do expect the Jets to unload Mims at some point early in the season for a third or fourth-round pick (most likely the latter).
It’ll open up room for New York to get a fullback or another blocking tight end in the building, as five reliable wideouts are all LaFleur needs in this offense.
NY Jets 53-man roster strengths
As the title of this piece mentions, the talent has come to Florham Park, NJ. If you build it, he will … well, whatever. For Douglas and Saleh, it’s more like, “If you value the process, it will slowly but surely come together.”
Jason Pinnock is New York Giants bound, Javelin Guidry is headed to the Arizona Cardinals, Trevon Wesco is now a Chicago Bears employee, Del’Shawn Phillips is with the Baltimore Ravens, and Chuma Edoga signed on with the Atlanta Falcons.
Oh, we’re not done.
Rachad Wildgoose is now with the Washington Commanders, whereas coveted undrafted free agent cornerback Isaiah Dunn lands with the Seattle Seahawks.
Years past would have seen Jets cuts innocently float into oblivion, without an NFL team offering up a second look. These days, Jets cuts are being gobbled up by other franchises, and it’s a tremendous sign that the organization’s process is coming along nicely.
If the 2020 and 2021 NFL drafts were about building the trenches, then 2022 represented the next move on Joe Douglas’s green and white chessboard. He decided to snag those playmakers.
It’s been quite some time since the Jets could claim they employed a legitimate talent like Sauce Gardner. Sprinkle in weapon Garrett Wilson, sophomore Elijah Moore, impressive rookie Breece Hall, and, suddenly, these Jets look pretty damn impressive on paper.
I thought 10 or 11 would be the defensive line number, all along, and the ceiling is where the Jets currently are. It appears that Vinny Curry is IR-bound, so once that happens, Saleh’s defensive line room will dip to 10—unless Bradlee Anae or Tanzel Smart join the active roster.
Jeff Ulbrich’s defense is stout upfront, as the team avoided serious injury on the defensive side of the ball—unlike last year when Carl Lawson hit the shelf for the season.
Not only is the defensive line deep, but it’s versatile as well. John Franklin-Myers and Micheal Clemons have also played inside some this summer, making for a scary sub-package proposition for opposing offensive coordinators.
NY Jets 53-man roster weaknesses
Knowing Mike LaFleur, this one is a kick in the … (insert that area where the sun does not shine).
Nick Bawden’s season-ending IR status coupled with the cut of Trevon Wesco means LaFleur has no fullback at his disposal. It’s surprising considering his scheme calls for a fullback quite often. Then again, he does have plenty of tight ends.
Rookie Jeremy Ruckert, although nowhere near ready, could eventually see reps at fullback or H-back. Having vertical threat Lawrence Cager rostered is a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators, but it does not do much in the blocking department.
Expect to see loads of 12 and 11 personnel this year from the Jets—save for a fullback acquisition to come.
The swing tackle
Douglas attempted to trade Chuma Edoga but could not get it done. Now, with him in Atlanta, New York is left with one reserve offensive tackle in Max Mitchell.
This does not exactly breed confidence.
The only tackle on the practice squad at this moment is Grant Hermanns, the man with an unexpected death wish this summer (he who picked fights with Carl Lawson and Micheal Clemons—god bless his fearless soul).
Douglas is surely monitoring the offensive tackle situation league-wide.
If veteran Lamarcus Joyner or Jordan Whitehead goes down, there’s very little behind them. Ashtyn Davis is much more of a special teamer at this point, while Tony Adams is still incredibly raw.
Will Parks would most definitely be elevated from the practice squad in a situation where another safety is needed, but the active 53-man roster does not look all that deep at safety.
The Marcell Harris injury did not help matters, but the Jets could have opted to keep five linebackers. Instead, they went with just four: C.J. Mosley, Kwon Alexander, Quincy Williams and Jamien Sherwood.
In this 11-personnel-led NFL, Mosley and Alexander will receive a bulk of the playing time, no doubt. But a contingency plan is needed in the event disaster strikes.
Perhaps defensive end Jacob Martin could play on the second level in a pinch.