Image Credit: (Tyler Greenawalt /USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
You did not think I was going to go this far back, in doing this writing series, did you? Ok well I am not going to do it too much, but this is something that I have always wanted to write about for a few years now. Welcome to another article in my writing series that I call The Stunning Cut. This is a series where I look at cuts in the preseason or in the regular season that stunned many when the news was released. For this one, we go back in time to the 1990s where we talk about one of the biggest and most surprising cuts in Jets history, tight end Mickey Shuler. If you noticed previous articles I wrote about the Jets when talking about the tight end position I keep saying that “this team has never had a consistent tight end since Mickey Shuler’’. So I thought why not look into the day he got cut and how it was super stunning.
Who is Mickey Shuler?
Mickey Shuler is often regarded as one of the best Tight Ends of the 1980s. He clearly is the best Tight End this organization has ever had and it is not even close in my opinion. Shuler throughout his time with the Jets was often the main player for QBs to throw to along with wide receiver Al Toon. To show how good he was, Shuler played with some awful QBs like Richard Todd, Pat Ryan, Matt Robinson, Ken O’Brian and etc. He was a part of the Jets for a total of 12 years and while he had injuries he still was a big part of this offense. Many would think that Shuler would even retire as a Jet due to his impact on the team, but unfortunately, that would not be the case.
The Day Mickey Shuler Got Cut
Once the 1989 season happened Shuler had a severe injury that ended his season and the Jets failed to make the playoffs, thus resulting in head coach Joe Walton being fired. So in came Bruce Coslett who took the reins as the head coach. One move that the Jets made during free agency was to bring in Mark Boyer. Now Boyer was not a scrub, but he was a decent blocking tight end. Boyer was one of the main reasons why Eric Dickerson succeeded in Indianapolis before they made the terrible move of trading Dickerson to the LA Rams.
In the pre-season, something strange happened where Boyer took a large number of snaps with the starters during the preseason. Which was strange as Shuler was performing like his old self in those games. Many in the organization were saying that it was Shuler’s job to lose, including Mark Boyer himself. So it was final cut day and Shuler’s name was on the Jets cut list everybody was stunned. The media, fanbase, and even players on the team could not believe it. Now there never was a clear explanation as to why the Jets made this move, but it was not a good look for the team to say this is Shuler's job, to straight up cutting him. I even watched a few of those preseason games and Boyer never impressed me. But to treat one of the best players this franchise ever had at that position, did not make the Jets come across well.
The Aftermath of Getting Cut
So once Shuler got cut he immediately got signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, Shuler did not do too much with the Eagles and mainly relied as a backup rotational piece. At the time Phil Jackson was the starting tight end and was one of the best tight ends at that time. Honestly, Shuler spent more time on the injury list than he did on the field and he eventually retired after the 1991 season.
In the case of Boyer, he was awful during his time with the Jets. In his 3-year tenure with the Jets, he had 75 catches for 636 passing yards and caught one touchdown. Definitely was a disappointment during his time with the Jets. I am pretty sure going back Coslett would have rather had Shuler over Boyer as this cut gave him and the organization a bad look. Boyer continued playing with the Jets until 1992 when his ankle/back injuries were still ongoing. He eventually retired in 1994 due to those constant back issues.
As for Bruce Coslett, he was fired at the end of the 1993 season finishing with an overall coaching record of 26-38 and a playoff record of 0-1. He would go back to coaching the Cincinnati Bengals for a few seasons and even became their head coach until 2000. Coslet then coached for the Cowboys for one season in 2002, but he was not retained. Coslet has not coached ever since.
Ever since the Jets got rid of Shuler, they have not had a great Tight End since. Like I said there is a reason why I keep saying Shuler’s name when mentioning the Tight End position in many of my Jets articles. I could absolutely say that this position has been cursed since Shuler left. The closest thing the Jets had to a great Tight End was Dustin Keller, unfortunately, he just could not stay healthy and did not sign another deal with the Jets. Mickey Shuler was a part of the New York Jets All-Time Four Decade Team which was revealed in 2003. If the Jets did another decade team list, I would still 100% have Shuler as the Tight End. It is also a shame that Shuler has not even been inducted into the Jets ring of honor, which still boggles my mind how he has not even been a part of it. I would love the Jets to put Shuler in their Ring of Honor and retire his jersey. In fact, I would love Shuler to even be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Hopefully, the Jets have something with the current Tight End core, but nobody has been able to be better in this organization than Shuler has.