Jets Announce Unexpected Retirement, Sparking Possible Reunion

Avery Williamson

Getty A reunion could be in store for former New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson after B.J. Goodson decided to retire.

Well, that was fast.

Exactly eight days ago, the New York Jets announced that they had agreed to sign linebacker B.J. Goodson. On September 22, the defensive addition decided to hang up the cleats.

In a surprising turn of events, Goodson decided to retire after one game with Gang Green in which he didn’t see much action (seven special teams snaps).

The linebacker was brought in as a veteran presence that could start in place of the injured Jarrad Davis and Jamien Sherwood, but defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich ended up starting Quincy Williams against the New England Patriots instead. When they did decide to use a three-LB set, which was rare, they went with rookie Hamsah Nasirildeen over Goodson as well.

It’s unclear if the decision was made due to lack of playing time or lack of passion but whatever the reason, it’s curious that the five-year veteran only stuck around a little over a week.

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Second Time’s the Charm

When the Jets first signed Goodson, they had worked out another linebacker with ties to the franchise — former 2018 stud Avery Williamson.

The 3-4 middle linebacker was a rare free-agent signing that performed for the Green & White, with 120 total tackles in his inaugural season. He did miss 2019 with a torn ACL before bouncing back in 2020. Williamson was eventually traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the deadline.

He was always a fan favorite and although general manager Joe Douglas did end up dealing him away, it was more telling that he decided not to cut Williamson before the 2020 season. The linebacker would have made an easy cap casualty if Douglas didn’t like what he saw. Instead, he started six games and accumulated 59 tackles with one interception.

Williamson went unsigned this offseason, now 29 years of age. It’s true, his best days might be behind him but he’d also come cheap. Considering his experience and leadership both on and off the field, the six-year pro would be an asset for a team like the Jets.

For starters, this linebacker core is bruised and battered. Gang Green had to sign Del’Shawn Phillips from the practice squad yesterday (September 21) and they also brought back Noah Dawkins in his place. Besides Davis and Sherwood, Blake Cashman is also sidelined with injury.

Secondly, this core is young and unproven outside of C.J. Mosley. At the very least, Williamson could help mentor a player like Sherwood or Nasirildeen. Plus, it might finally turn fans’ dreams into reality with Mosley and Williamson side-by-side.

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Calling All Linebackers

If head coach Robert Saleh and company determine that Williamson isn’t the guy, they have a few more options to choose from.

One is a controversial name that drew headlines when the Jets worked him out in early September. That, of course, was Reuben Foster. The former San Francisco 49ers LB played under Saleh before and the HC vowed that he wouldn’t have brought him into the building if he believed that there were any character issues.

Foster has been accused of domestic violence multiple times but was acquitted and never charged. He’s also been accused of weapons charges, failed NFL drug tests, and torn his ACL and LCL. The former first-round pick has worked out with other teams since the Jets but he has yet to receive an offer.

If Foster is a bit too risky for you, here are a few safer options that I compiled during the waiver period after the 2021 roster cutdown.

  • Benardrick McKinney: A six-year veteran free agent that is a sure tackler with a similar skill set to Davis. Would be an asset in the run game and holds up decently in coverage for a 3-4 middle linebacker.
  • Kamal Martin: Signed to the Carolina Panthers practice squad but left unprotected. Young and well-balanced linebacker that started his career with the Green Bay Packers.
  • Jahlani Tavai: Signed to the Patriots practice squad but left unprotected. Tavai fits the 4-3 system and performs best on early downs and special teams.

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