(Image credit: John Jones/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
It has been a few days since the New York Jets got to 53 players on their roster. They have made a ton of moves to their team including placing players on IR (injured reserved), who to place on their practice squad, what players to resign, who to acquire via waivers, and more players that the team released.
Before we get into the players placed on IR, it is important to look at the recent changes from the NFL’s CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), a new rule has been passed where each player that has been placed on injured reserve must sit out a minimum of three games and the team can activate an unlimited number of players from the IR list. Now let's take a look at which players were placed on IR.
Placed on IR
OL Conor McDermott - No surprise that Conor McDermott was placed on IR as he was carted off with an injury during the Green Bay Packers game. I would not be surprised if McDermott was out for a majority of the regular season. We are not informed of what the injury is but if a player is carted off with an injury it is not a good sign.
LB Jarrad Davis - This was expected as Jarrad Davis' injury was reportedly going to take him out for a few months. Hopefully, the experimental players Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen perform well during Jarrad Davis' absence. I believe the earliest we can see Davis if he heals quickly is during the Week 6 Bye week.
S Ashtyn Davis - Well that did not take long. Ashtyn Davis was recently taken off the Jets PUP list during the final cut day for the Jets. This is very telling to me as it is clear that the injury is a lot more severe than we thought and the Jets will be giving him more time to heal his injury. Hopefully, Davis will be healthy enough to return in Week 4 to play against the Tennessee Titans at Metlife Stadium.
Players Placed on the practice squad
QB Josh Johnson - They could not sign James Morgan to the practice squad as he would join teammates Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson by signing with the Carolina Panthers practice squad. This was option 2 by signing Johnson to the practice squad. I have no problem with this as like I said he is going to be playing the David Garrard role where he will be teaching the rookie QB in Zach Wilson and help develop him during his rookie season. If Mike White struggles or gets hurt again they can easily bring in Johnson who knows the playbook and be plugged in as the backup.
RB Josh Adams - Josh Adams was the odd man out of the running back core since the beginning of training camp, but his performance vs the Philadelphia Eagles earned a spot on the team's practice squad. Adams has a lot of potential in being a power back for the Jets. A clear example is scoring the game-tying two-point conversion vs the Eagles where he had to power through in order to score the two points. Adams still has plenty of work to do but it would not be a shock if the Jets sign Adams to their active roster if Tevin Coleman or La’Mical Perine get injured anytime in the regular season.
WR Vyncint Smith - Vycint Smith was one of two players I said to keep an eye on during the preseason. He was impressive and showcased his skills on offense vs the New York Giants and as a special teams threat during the preseason. While he did not make the roster I am glad the Jets were able to sign him to the practice squad. He was inconsistent on offense but he is valuable on special teams and if Braxton Berrios gets injured I would not be shocked to see Smith get signed from the practice squad.
WR DJ Montgomery - Montgomery was the other player I said to keep an eye on as someone who could impress during the preseason. Unfortunately, the receiver core was too crowded and he did not flash as much as Jeff Smith, Braxton Berrios, and Vyncint Smith did both on offense and on special teams. He has a ton of potential and has shown a ton of flashes during his tenure with both the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. I like this move putting Montgomery on the practice squad.
TE Kenny Yeboah - Yeboah was a player throughout training camp that heavily impressed the coaching staff. For a while, in the preseason I didn't understand what they saw in him but vs the Philadelphia Eagles, he proved to us and the coaching staff why he belongs with the Jets. He had 4 catches for 100 yards and 2 big touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles. It wasn’t enough for Yeboah to make the roster due to his poor performances vs the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. If Yeboah can improve his ball security, run smoother routes, be more consistent, and clean up his footwork then Yeboah could be a piece of this offense in the future. I do believe Yeboah could be seen on the active roster this season due to Ryan Griffin being injury-prone.
OL Grant Hermanns - Hermanns was a must to place atom the practice squad as he showed a ton of flashes throughout the preseason. Especially as a pass protector as he has strong hands and has the potential of being an anchor on the offensive line if he is more consistent. Hermanns needs to improve as a run blocker as he struggled opening holes in the preseason. If the Jets were not talented at tackle with Fant, Edoga, Becton, and Moses, Hermanns could have made the roster but luckily he got signed to the Jets practice squad.
OL Isaiah Williams - Williams signing to the practice squad is very interesting to me. It shows that the coaching staff really sees potential in him. I think he was signed to the practice squad mainly because he was a late addition to the team and can learn the playbook more while on the practice squad. I can see him back on the active roster in a rotational role on the o-line if Chuma Edoga gets hurt again.
OL James Murray - I wasn’t a big fan of James Murray in the preseason as he struggled on pass blocking and was inconsistent with run blocking. He has a big weakness pulling and trapping as well when making blocks. It would be extremely wise if the team had a backup option on the practice squad at guard. David Moore would have been their first option but he is now a part of the Cleveland Browns practice squad so the team decided to bring in Murray to develop and have as insurance if a player is injured on their practice squad.
DE/EDGE Hamilcar Rashed Jr. - The Jets got lucky here. I am still shocked that the Jets decided to cut Hamilcar Rashed Jr during the final cut day and I was convinced that another team would steal a talented player from us. Luckily no team as of now signed him and the team decided to place him on the practice squad. This is a good move and if the Jets have another injured DE/EDGE rusher on the team, Hamilcar should absolutely be called up to the active roster.
DT Tanzel Smart - Tanzel Smart was the odd man out to the talented defensive tackle core for the New York Jets. He wasn’t impressive in the preseason and it was not a surprise he was cut. I don’t mind him on the practice squad just in case an injury occurs within the defensive tackle core. The team can easily sign Smart off the practice squad if that is the case. This is a strong benefit as they will have a player who knows the playbook for the defense.
DE/EDGE Ronald Blair - Ronald Blair is a strong example of why players should always have a strong and positive relationship with the coaching staff. As it has been noted Blair and Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh have had a connection during their time with the San Francisco 49ers. It was not a surprise Blair was placed on the practice squad but I expect him to be the first option if any Jets DE/EDGE Rusher gets injured during the regular season as he has a ton of experience in Robert Saleh’s defensive system.
DE/EDGE Jabari Zuniga - Wow again the Jets came to their senses and made the right move releasing Jabari from the Jets active roster. He was terrible as a pass rusher and as a run stopper. He clearly was not getting any better and is more of a liability on this team. There were reports that Zuniga was dealing with an injury but the issue was that it was only a minor injury and he was still playing every preseason game. Zuniga was invisible throughout his tenure with the Jets. By the way, not a good sign if Tim Ward, an undrafted player during the 2019 Draft is replacing you on the active roster. So the Jets have decided to sign him to the team's practice squad. By the way, this is a reminder that the New York Jets and GM Joe Douglas wasted a third-round pick on Jabari Zuniga.
LB Del’Shawn Phillips - Again another case of relationships with the coaching staff playing off. This time it is with Jeff Ulbrich the defensive coordinator for the Jets as both he and Philips spent time during their tenures with the Atlanta Falcons. Even though he wasn't that good during the preseason it is still a good idea to stash him on the practice squad as he does know the system Jeff Ulbrich utilizes especially at the linebacker position.
CB Lamar Jackson - I'm not a big fan of Jackson as he has struggled to improve and has shown in the past that he can not cover players without help from other defenders. But what he does have is strong hands, smooth footwork, and is a very physical tackler. It would not be a surprise if the Jets in the future try to experiment with Jackson at the safety position but while on the practice squad must improve his coverage skills as he has struggled to properly cover players in man to man and even in the slot.
Now there are still two more spots for the Jets to fill for their practice squad. It will be interesting to see who they sign to their practice squad next.
Resigned to the active roster
TE’s Ryan Griffin and Daniel Brown - Not surprised that they brought back Ryan Griffin. The Jets were going to enter the first week of the season with only Tyler Kroft at Tight End. I would say Trevon Wesco as well as a rotational Tight End but he absolutely should mainly play as a fullback for the Jets. If Griffin is healthy he should have an impact with the team as a blocking tight end. It is interesting to see what Griffin’s contract will be as they saved 2 million by releasing him during the final cuts. I wonder what the length and salary of his new contact will be. Daniel Brown was also brought back but he will mainly play on special teams as that is where he is more valuable.
S Sharrod Neasman - No surprise Neasman was brought back after news came out that Ashtyn Davis would be placed on IR. Neasman will be the backup for both Maye and Joyner and will be a part of the special teams as he was solid in his role during the preseason.
Acquired Via Waivers
DE/EDGE Tim Ward - Ward was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs after he went undrafted during the 2019 NFL Draft. Tim Ward was a player that impressed during the Kansas City Chiefs training camp. He even was a solid pass protector and even had three sacks in the preseason. He could be more consistent as a run stopper but was decent during the last few preseason games. He didn't make the roster due to how crowded the DE/EDGE rusher depth is within the active roster. Now there is a durability concern with Ward as he has dealt with constant knee injuries throughout his football career and even tore his ACL his final season in college. It is worth the risk due to the lack of depth on the Jets roster.
LB Quincy Williams - Quincy was taken in the 3rd round 98th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2019 NFL Draft. He would spend two seasons with the team and had a lot of promise his rookie season but in the 2020 season, he was placed on IR due to a core muscle injury and was surprisingly released by the Jaguars. Joe Douglas and the Jets decided to give him another chance by claiming him via waivers. Remember when I said connections pay off especially when making an NFL roster? This is an example of it as Quincy is the brother of star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. But honestly, it is worth a shot and the Jets do need depth at linebacker due to the injury of Jarrad Davis.
S Sheldrick Redwine - Redwine was taken in the 4th round 119th overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2019 NFL Draft. To be honest I would rather have JT Hassell than Redwine but it is worth the risk, taking a shot on Redwine. He has a lot of starting experience during his young years with the Cleveland Browns. He is a solid tackler and has the potential to be a solid pass rusher for the team. Now he doesn't have the best hand usage in coverage and catching the football but did a solid job. What is added value with Redwine is his contribution to special teams as he made a ton of plays to tackle returners. He has a high level of awareness and has good field vision when tracking the football. I am excited to see Redwine play for the Jets Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers
CB Blessuan Austin - Easily the most surprising cut from the preseason not named Hamilcar Rashed Jr. I had this guy as the number one cornerback and a lock on my roster prediction for multiple weeks. He was in my opinion the most talented cornerback on the team by far. He was also solid in the games he played in the preseason but didn’t play against the Packers due to a “personal issue”. He was solid in coverage, a strong tackler, and had smooth foot quickness. It seems that the Jets have confidence in younger corners like Isaiah Dunn, Jason Pinnock, Brandon Echols, and Michael Carter II. What is really telling is that Joe Douglas couldn't get a trade partner for Blessuan Austin who they recently put on the trading block. So I don't see him joining a roster quickly. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Bless Austin.