There’s a lot going on with the New York Jets at the end of May.
The one thing no one is talking about is Blake Cashman. He’s the forgotten man in the linebacker room.
Other Things Stealing the Headlines
One of the biggest stories as the COVID restrictions are loosening is the return of a certain former All-Pro linebacker. Mosley is expected to take one of the starting linebacker positions in head coach Robert Saleh’s 4-3 scheme.
Another one of those spots is expected to be taken by former first-rounder Jarrad Davis of the Detroit Lions. Gang Green doled out over $75 million in guarantees during free agency and it’s worth noting that Davis was the first player that got a contract from the Jets back in March.
That leaves one vacant linebacker spot up for grabs.
Following the 2021 NFL draft, it seemed like the Jets’ gameplan was for that position to be filled by one of their picks.
In the fifth round, the green and white added Jamien Sherwood out of Auburn and in the sixth round picked Hamsah Nasirildeen out of Florida State. Both players primarily played in the defensive backfield during their college careers but the Jets plan on transitioning both players to linebacker.
Despite all that talent and those storylines, the player everyone is forgetting about may have the best chance to lockdown that final starting linebacking position.
Injuries Are the Main Thing Holding Him Back
Cashman fits the necessary profile to play the weakside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.
He has really good speed (4.5 40 yard dash), has good coverage ability, and can match up (whether against tight ends or slot receivers), plus he’s tough as nails.
The former Minnesota defensive stud went from unknown walk-on to team captain with the Gophers. He’s the kind of guy Jets fans can and should be rooting for.
Although Cashman’s biggest bugaboo has been following him since his college days: troublesome shoulder injuries.
He had surgery on both of his shoulders in college and only played a full season once (2018).
While in the pros, it’s been the same crap, different day.
In two seasons Cashman has played in only 11 out of 32 possible games due to a myriad of injuries (groin, hamstrings, and more shoulder ailments).
The third-year linebacker has to control what he can control. Since he’s been dealing with a variety of injuries over the years, Cashman decided to dedicate himself to the gym this offseason. The results have been outstanding.
The improved physique won’t guarantee that he’ll stay healthy, but it won’t hurt either.
Cashman appears to be in the best shape of his life which is one of the worst cliches in sports around this time of year, but this time it seems accurate.
This is a pivotal moment in his career. In 2021, there’s a clear fork in the road. With two years left on his rookie contract and only $225,000 left in guarantees, it’s make or break this season.
If, and it’s a huge if, Cashman can stay healthy this season he could be a hidden defensive gem that Saleh can take advantage of at a critical position of need.