The New York Jets have one of the deepest defensive line rotations on paper that they’ve had in years.
That is going to lead to some brutal roster decisions as we progress through training camp. One insider recently shared his predictions for what is to come this August and the results were stunning.
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Good Players Getting Cut
Rich Cimini of ESPN shared his final 53-man roster predictions in June and he featured some surprising cuts.
The most noteworthy came when he was slicing down the defensive line room.
“It’s a rotation-heavy line that loaded up in free agency and the draft, setting up a numbers game that will result in two or three legitimate players getting cut — i.e., Vinny Curry and Bryce Huff. Carl Lawson, returning from surgery on his left Achilles tendon, could start camp on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) but should be ready for Week 1. Micheal Clemons will have a hard time seeing the field, but he’s not going anywhere as a fourth-round pick.”
Curry signed with the Jets back in April on a one-year deal for $1.12 million with over $895,000 of that guaranteed. To see him get released months later with that large of a guaranteed percentage would be surprising.
The same goes for Huff, although not for the same contractual reasons. The former undrafted free agent only has a year left on his contract for $900,000, but none of it is guaranteed, per Over The Cap.
Last season the Memphis product only got to play in nine games and started in seven of those contests. Although in limited action the talented defender showed what he was capable of with a career-high 70.9 pass-rush grade from PFF.
Huff is someone the staff really likes and while there have been some injury issues, he seems too talented to cut.
Someone Is Going to Have to Go
However with all of that being said, when you start counting all of the players in the defensive line room, someone is going to have to go.
Gang Green has 17 players listed as a defensive lineman or defensive end on the roster:
- Jermaine Johnson
- Micheal Clemons
- Bradlee Anae
- Vinny Curry
- John Franklin-Myers
- Jonathan Marshall
- Jacob Martin
- Sheldon Rankins
- Hamilcar Rashed Jr
- Nathan Shepherd
- Tanzel Smart
- Solomon Thomas
- Tim Ward
- Quinnen Williams
- Jabari Zuniga
If you study the San Francisco 49ers formula of rotating defensive linemen and some of the things head coach Robert Saleh has said, they usually keep around 10ish players on the final roster.
It’s not a hard-and-fast rule so you have to leave a little wiggle room but that is the number give or take.
There are a handful of names that you could trim the fat on the roster with guys like Anae, Rashed, Smart, Ward, and Zuniga but that leaves you with 12 players. Those players would need strong camps to change the minds of the front office.
As Cimini noted in his column when teams get more talented, these roster cuts get harder and harder. The toughest of those decisions are going to come on the defensive line and it’ll be fascinating to watch throughout the summer.