(Image credit Bill Kostroun / New York Post)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
Before you read on from here let's take a look at some of the transactions that have occurred within the past week in regards to the NY Jets. Especially involving recent signings and releases made since the last projection I made.
Signings - QB Josh Johnson and LB Edmond Robinson
Releases - LB Brendon White and WR Matt Cole
Here is a reminder of the key to my 53 man roster projection. If I put a player as a Lock that means that there is no chance that the New York Jets will release the player from their team. If they are labeled as Made Roster, well they made the 53 man roster. If they are labeled as Cut well they are not on the 53 man roster.
Let's now take a look at my second prediction of what the 53 man roster will look like.
Locks: Zach Wilson
Made Roster: Josh Johnson
Cut: James Morgan and Mike White
Overview: Around a week ago the New York Jets decided to work out free agent quarterbacks and made the decision to sign Josh Johnson to the roster. This is a great signing as Johnson has had multiple years of experience as a journeyman quarterback playing in 4 different leagues and a total of 16 different teams. Johnson last played for the XFL’s Los Angeles Wildcats in the 2020 season as the starter and was having a good season but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the league ceased operations. This signing had to be done because the quarterback room lacked experience until Johnson joined the roster. My question is why didn’t Joe Douglas sign a veteran quarterback earlier in free agency? Signing Josh Johnson is very telling on the performance of both James Morgan and Mike White during training camp. It is clear that the team doesn't have confidence in both quarterbacks to backup Zach Wilson heading into the first preseason game. Both James Morgan and Mike White are going to have to show improvements and consistency during the next few preseason games; if not then both will not be on the 53 man roster.
Running Back (4)
Locks: Michael Carter
Made Roster: Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine
Cut: Josh Adams, Austin Walter
Overview: The running backs will stay the same as my last prediction. It is clear that Michael Carter is the favorite to get the starting running back position on the roster. He has been a part of the first-team snaps during camp and has heavily impressed coaches during training camp. He is a lock on the roster but I would not say he is going to be the week 1 starter yet as he has yet to play a preseason game and there is always the possibility of Carter getting injured. Coleman, Johnson, and Perine will be battling for the starting roster spot as well and will need to prove themselves in the next few weeks. Josh Adams and Austin Walter need to have a stronger camp and impress the coaches during preseason games if they want to make the 53 man roster.
Lock: Trevon Wesco
Overview: No changes here. Wesco is a lock as the fullback on the roster.
Wide Receiver (6)
Locks: Jamison Crowder, Corey Davis, Elijah Moore
Made Roster: Braxton Berrios, Keelan Cole, Denzel Mims
Cut: Manasseh Bailey, Lawrence Cager, Josh Malone, DJ Montgomery, Jeff Smith, Vyncint Smith
Overview: As of now I would stick with my last prediction for the wide receivers in the 53 man roster. Unless injuries occur I expect Crowder and Davis to be the No.1 and No.2 wide receivers for the team. Elijah Moore looks to be the favorite to be the No. 3 receiver but will need to continue to showcase his skills during the upcoming weeks. The biggest news in the receiving core for the New York Jets involves 2020 2nd round pick, Denzel Mims. There have been a lot of reports that the Jets have placed Denzel Mims on the trading block and can potentially be on the roster bubble as a surprise cut from the team. The trade rumors are not surprising to me as he was working with the third-string receivers during training camp and struggled to adapt to the new playbook. I can see Mims possibly being traded if he continues to struggle but the return won't be more than a Day 3 draft pick. In my opinion, I don't see Mims being cut unless he has heavily regressed during the upcoming preseason games and players like Vyncint Smith and DJ Montgomery continue to shine both in camp and during the preseason. But it is extremely concerning hearing about this news involving Denzel Mims and hopefully, he improves in the upcoming games.
Tight End (3)
Made Roster: Ryan Griffin, Tyler Kroft, Kenny Yeboah
Cut: Daniel Brown, Chris Herndon
Overview: I wouldn't change anything for the Tight End crew for the Jets as of now. I debated putting Tyler Kroft as a lock due to the fact that he has been solid and consistent in camp. But he has been extremely injury prone and I want to wait and see until he actually plays a preseason game on the team. Griffin is a good blocking tight end but he must show improvement and consistency when he is catching the football. Kenny Yeboah has continued to be a name that has impressed the coaches. He is a player that I am excited to see play in the preseason. Hopefully, Kenny can live up to the hype in upcoming preseason games and showcases his skills. If he doesn't improve he can potentially be cut from the 53 man roster. I am still projecting Herndon to be cut from the 53 man roster as he has continued to work with the third-stringers on the team. He has struggled to learn the playbook and has been injury-prone throughout his tenure with the team. If he does not show improvement during the next few preseason games then it would not be a surprise if Joe Douglas and the New York Jets decided to release him and save 2 million dollars to add to the salary cap.
Offensive Lineman (9)
Locks: Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern,
Made Roster: Cameron Clark, George Fant, Dan Feeney, Morgan Moses, Connor McDermott, Greg Van Roten
Cut: Chuma Edoga, Grant Hermanns, Tristen Hodge, Corey Levin, Alex Lewis, James Murray, Teton Saltes
Overview: I feel it is best to start this overview by discussing the scary situation that occurred with New York Jets offensive lineman Cameron Clark.
During practice a few days ago Cameron Clark suffered a neck injury where he was not moving for the past few minutes once the play had concluded. The situation got so dire that Clark was stretchered out and taken to the hospital right away. When this event happened Robert Saleh made the decision to end practice early. No matter what sport you are in you never want to hear injuries like this happening. Especially as this can affect any player off the field more than on the field and affect family and friends that he is close with. Robert Saleh said it best saying, “It’s never good because football goes away at that moment. It’s about the person, his family, everyone in his life. That’s what takes precedence at that moment. Football just goes away.’’
Luckily the injury is not too severe and he is expected to make a full recovery from his neck injury. Which is the best news of the week for the New York Jets to receive. For now, I made the decision to not take Cameron Clark off the made roster label on this article as we have yet to hear when his expected return date will occur. But most importantly I wish Cameron Clark a speedy recovery and will be very excited if he returns to the football field anytime throughout this season.
With the rest of the offensive line, I am not going to make any changes to my earlier prediction. Becton, Vera-Tucker, and McGovern are too valuable to this offensive line and will be locks for the team. Dan Feeney, Connor McDermott, Morgan Moses, and George Fant will be battling for the starting roster spot. Something to keep an eye on with this team is with offensive lineman Alex Lewis. He was recently placed on the exempt/left squad list. First, I hope Alex Lewis is okay and can handle whatever situation is involved with him off the field. Depending on how long he will be on this list, Lewis will miss important snaps that he needs to secure a spot on the starting offensive line. This could hurt his future and give other players the opportunity to possibly become the starter. Including Greg Van Roten as they have been split between him and Van Roten. If Lewis is out longer than expected then it could become an option to let Alex Lewis off the 53 man roster. Which I hope isn’t the case because he was underutilized last season. Edoga has an opportunity to possibly make the roster as he showed flashes when he has played on the offensive line but he must stay healthy and be a little more consistent with the way he plays.
Defensive Tackle (5)
Locks: Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Sheldon Rankins
Made Roster: Foley Fatukasi, Jonathan Marshall
Cut: Michael Dwumnfour, Nathan Shepherd, Tanzel Smart
Overview: John Franklin-Myers and Sheldon Rankins are locks on the roster. Both Quinnen Williams and Johnathan Marshall are dealing with injuries and were recently placed on the PUP list. Now, Quinnen Williams will not be getting released from the 53 man roster as he was one of the few bright spots on the Jets last season. Marshall was drafted in the 6th round in the 2021 draft and is going to need as many snaps as he can to not only make the roster but to possibly play as a rotational player as a defensive tackle. If Marshall gets healthier in the future and plays well in the preseason then he will make the roster. Foley Fatukasi to me is still a hidden gem in this group of defensive tackles and should make the roster. Marshall’s injuries are good news for Nathan Shepherd, Michael Dwumnfour, and Tanzel Smart who are all battling for a spot on the roster.
Defensive End/EDGE Rushers (5)
Locks: Carl Lawson
Made Roster: Ronald Blair, Vinny Curry, Bryce Huff, Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
Cut: Kyle Philips, Jeremiah Valoaga, Jabari Zuniga
Overview: Carl Lawson will be a week 1 starter for the team unless he gets injured. Both Ronald Blair and Vinny Curry have a huge advantage with their experience. Blair was a part of Saleh's schemes with the San Francisco 49ers and Vinny Curry was a part of the Philadelphia Eagles winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Bryce Huff showed flashes last year and if he's going to make the roster he will have to continue his momentum in the next few preseason games. Rashed Jr. has a lot of potential as he was signed as an undrafted free agent to the team. He is a player I am excited to see play in the preseason as it was a shock to me that he was not drafted. If he performs well in the next few weeks he should make the roster. Kyle Philips was recently placed on the PUP list which is not a surprise as he is still recovering from the injuries that ended his season last year. Hopefully, he heals quickly and can participate in camp and eventually preseason games. Especially as he is missing many important snaps in camp. It could possibly hurt his chances of making the 53 man roster. Zuniga, who has had an extremely disappointing tenure with the New York Jets since being taken in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft is going to need to show improvement in the next few preseason games. If he does not then it would not come as a shock if Joe Douglas decided to not include him on the 53 man roster.
Locks: CJ Mosley
Made Roster: Blake Cashman, Jarrad Davis, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Jamien Sherwood
Cut: Milo Eifler, Noah Dawkins, Del’Shawn Phillips, Edmond Robinson
Overview: CJ Mosley can’t be cut because of his contract. It will be interesting to see this season if CJ Mosley still has what it takes and can play as he used to as a Baltimore Raven. Jarrad Davis is another player that I contemplated putting as a lock to make the roster because he has gotten a lot of praise from head coach Robert Saleh. But I want to see how he does during game time. If he can continue his momentum and perform well in the upcoming preseason game then he will become a lock to make the 53 man roster. Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood are the experimental players for this team. I am very excited to see them play in the first preseason and I have high hopes that both Nasirildeen and Sherwood will perform well to not only secure a spot on the roster but possibly as a starter. Blake Cashman is going to need to stay healthy the next few weeks in order to make the roster as he does have the talent when healthy to be a good player on defense. Edmond Robinson was recently signed with the New York Jets to compete for a spot on the roster. Edmond Robinson played in both the AAF and the XFL where he showed flashes on defense. But where Robinson showcases his true value is in special teams. I can see Robinson making the roster and mainly being utilized in special teams as that is where he is more valuable.
Locks: Bless Austin and Bryce Hall
Made Roster: Michael Carter III, Isaiah Dunn, Justin Hardee, Brandon Echols, Jason Pinnock
Cut: Corey Ballentine, Javelin Guidry, Bennett Jackson, Lamar Jackson, Zane Lewis
Overview: No changes yet for this position. This position can go either way due to how weak it is and every corner has a chance to make the 53 man roster. Bless Austin and Bryce Hall are the two locks on the roster as they were the only corners last season that played well and I myself have the most confidence in. Micael Carter, Brandon Echols, and Jason Pinnock were all drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft and have leverage over other corners in making the roster. In order for them to be classified as locks on the roster, they are going to have to perform well in the upcoming preseason games. Isaiah Dunn has continued to be a name that has impressed the coaches. If he keeps his momentum up in the preseason then he should make the 53 man roster. Justin Hardee signed a three-year extension with the Jets during free agency. Hardee is decent on defense but he shines as a special teams player and can make the roster to mainly play on special teams. Corey Ballentine will be a player that will battle for a spot on the 53 man roster and mostly play on special teams due to his inconsistent play on defense. Bennett Jackson has experience in this position but is going to need to have a strong few weeks in order to possibly make the roster.
Locks: Ashtyn Davis, Lamarcus Joyner, Marcus Maye
Made Roster: None
Cut: Elijah Campbell, JT Hassell, Sharrod Neasman
Overview: Marcus Maye was put on the NFI list due to him holding out for a bigger contract after Joe Douglas placed the franchise tag on him. I think Marcus Maye will play out the year being tagged as the starter for the New York Jets. I hope Joe Douglas can handle this situation with Maye better than how he handled Jamal Adams. He is starting to make the same mistakes that he did with Adams. I doubt that Lamarcus Joyner or Ashtyn Davis is good enough to replace a player like Maye who did a fantastic job replacing Jamal Adams. Unless Marcus Maye continues his holdout in the regular season he should 100% be the starting safety on this defense. Lamarcus Joyner was signed to a one-year prove-it deal with the Jets and I am shocked that he accepted the deal with the team. He was a part of Las Vegas’s defense during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Every season he has played he has had at least three interceptions. Ashtyn Davis was recently placed on the PUP list after unsurprisingly dealing with his injuries from last season and is still recovering from them. Hopefully, Davis will recover quickly but Davis being injured gives plenty of more snaps for Campbell, Hassell, and Neasman to showcase their skills to possibly earn a spot on the roster or practice squad.
Made Roster: Chris Nagger
Cut: Matt Ammendola
Long Snapper (1)
Locks: Thomas Hennessy
Locks: Braden Mann
Overview: Special teams remain the same for now. I am excited to see how both Chris Nagger and Matt Ammendola perform in the upcoming preseason games. It is one of the many intriguing position battles to keep an eye on during the next few weeks.