Jets Final Roster Cuts: Douglas Cleans House at Multiple Positions

Kenny Yeboah

Getty New York Jets tight end Kenny Yeboah headlines the 2021 roster cuts.

The New York Jets 2021 roster cutdown deadline is technically on Tuesday, August 31 at 4 p.m. ET, but the action is well underway.

Look no further for every Jets’ roster cut as this list will update in real-time as moves occur. That means favorite this page Gang Green nation because you’ll want to check back in as the next 24 hours or so unfold.

Here’s a glance at all the NYJ preseason transactions with a complete look at New York’s updating 53-man roster available here.

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Recapping First 2 Rounds of Cuts

Before we get into the latest Green & White transactions, here is a brief recap of everything that occurred during the initial rounds of cuts, where the roster decreased from 90 players down to 80.

The Jets released kicker Chris Naggar, safety Bennett Jackson, defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour and running back Austin Walter while shifting offensive lineman Cameron Clark onto the long-term injured reserve.

The big surprises at the time were Dwumfour and Clark. The former was coming off a nice performance against the New York Giants where he displayed promise. The latter is still recovering from a neck injury that he suffered on the first day of padded practice.

General manager Joe Douglas attempted to shift Dwumfour and Walter onto the injured reserve as well, but the two players have since been waived with injury settlements.

From there, edge rusher Carl Lawson and defensive back Zane Lewis were shifted to the long-term IR after season-ending injuries, which actually resulted in Bennett Jackson’s short return. Alex Lewis also retired, so Douglas countered by bringing in guard Isaiah Williams and edge Aaron Adeoye to account for their losses.

These decisions set up six more cuts to get down to 80; wide receivers Josh Malone and Manasseh Bailey, linebacker Edmond Robinson, guard Tristen Hoge and two more IR/medical designations with cornerback Corey Ballentine and edge Vinny Curry shifting off the active roster.

Curry’s announcement was unexpected, as he revealed a rare blood disorder that caused clotting. The veteran pass-rusher will miss all of 2021.

All caught up? Fantastic, now let’s get to the present.

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Working Our Way to 53

Bennett Jackson, S

This was totally expected, but it’s still cruel nonetheless. Jackson returned to act as a warm body at safety for the final preseason game, and while the franchise may have told him he’d have one last chance to prove he deserved a roster spot, he probably never had more than a two percent chance of actually making the team after having been cut a couple of weeks before.

Jackson’s release freed up room for edge rusher Shaq Lawson, who the Jets acquired via trade. The organization remains at 80.

Lamar Jackson, CB

I nicknamed the other Jackson on the roster as ‘the Longshot’ in my recent cornerback breakdown because he never had much of a chance to make the 53. The 2020 undrafted free agent played a large role during his rookie campaign, in which he famously got burned on a last-second Hail Mary to Henry Ruggs III of the Las Vegas Raiders, but he was always more bad than good (60.9 completion percentage allowed in 2020). Douglas drafted several cornerbacks to replace players like Jackson and that’s exactly what took place on Monday, August 30. According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, the plan is for the cornerback to join the practice squad if he clears waivers. The roster count decreases to 79.

Lawrence Cager, WR

Cager is another undrafted free agent from 2020 that could return to the franchise via the practice squad. The Jets wide receiver core is deeper than it’s been in years, so the 6-foot-5 wide-out never had much of a chance. He scored a touchdown in the most recent preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but we still listed him as a candidate to get waived because of his situation and his fumble/interception that occurred later in the outing. Down to 78.

J.T. Hassell, S

This move could be looked at as the first true surprise of the cutdown for the Jets. Hassell was our number one standout performer against the Green Bay Packers and he was a consistent overachiever throughout training camp. The defensive back was my pick for the third safety role until sophomore Ashtyn Davis returns from injury, but it appears that Sharrod Neasman beat him out for the moment. Davis also rejoined the team today, so that may have had something to do with this cut. Hassell made one epic mistake against the Eagles when running back Boston Scott ‘broke his ankles’ in the open field. That play may have led to his demise. Down to 77.

Corey Levin, C/G

This is great news for players like Dan Feeney and Jimmy Murray. Levin was their top competition at backup center and with a lack of depth at guard, it’s semi-surprising that the journeyman is one of the first players to get cut. Douglas could be cooking up a plan to claim or trade for more talent at interior offensive line, so keep an eye out for a possible move at this position. Down to 76.

Aaron Adeoye, EDGE

The recent AAF flyer was never long for this roster and the Shaq Lawson trade practically sealed his fate before the news ever dropped. Brian Costello of the New York Post officially announced the cut on August 30. Down to 75.

Jeremiah Valoaga, EDGE

A Robert Saleh recruit that had played with the Jets HC in San Francisco. Valoaga actually started gaining some momentum after the Carl Lawson injury, but it appears that he did not do enough to make the roster. The defensive end was a staple on both defense and special teams during the preseason with 132 total snaps. Down to 74.

Josh Johnson, QB

The veteran signal-caller was rumored to have been released by Mike Mitchell of The Jet Press on August 30, but official word did not confirm this transaction until August 31. It’s a big shocker, but one I had a strange feeling was coming. Johnson looked really strong during the third preseason game but the franchise seems content with Mike White, the steady Zach Wilson understudy all summer. Unless we see a big move from Douglas at backup quarterback, like a Nick Foles trade, White should have the QB2 role locked up after this cut. Down to 73.

Jimmy Murray, C/G

Even after the Levin decision, it appears Murray won’t survive the cutdown. The interior lineman had an encouraging performance against the Eagles but the Jets will rely on Feeney and Williams on the interior for now. Murray could remain with the franchise via the practice squad. Down to 72.

David Moore, G

After injuries at guard that included the Lewis retirement, Douglas took a flyer on an undrafted prospect in Moore. He had some high praise initially as a UDFA that multiple teams were interested in, so the Jets could see him snagged off waivers if teams still see him as an option to develop. Moore was beaten out by veteran Isaiah Williams. Down to 71.

Hamilcar Rashed Jr., EDGE

The energetic UDFA became a fan favorite after a spark that helped lead the Jets over the Giants during the Snoopy Bowl. In the end, this cut proves he still needs more time to develop after poor performances in the final two preseason outings. Rashed has prowess as a pass-rusher, but his run defense leaves a lot to be desired. He’ll need to clean up that aspect of his game if he wants to make it as an NFL edge rusher. The Jets have six edge rushers left on the roster as of now, included injured players like Kyle Phillips and Jabari Zuniga. Down to 70.

Vyncint Smith, WR

WOW, Vyncint Smith had become a favorite to make the roster after showcasing his ability on special teams as a gunner against the Giants. The Jets are crowded at wide receiver and the speedster has a history of dropped passes, but many expected them to keep seven at the position. They could still choose to do this if Jeff Smith makes the 53, with the other alternative being six that make the roster. The ripple effects of this cut are huge for other bubble candidates like Braxton Berrios who may have just become a lock to make the team. This also means trade candidate Jamison Crowder is likely staying put. Down to 69.

Josh Adams, RB

Many fans wanted to see Adams make the team over La’Mical Perine but it was never going to happen. Perine is a 2020 fourth-round pick that would have definitely been claimed off waivers, Adams has bounced around practice squads his entire career. The power-runner is expected to make the Jets’ P.S. once again, assuming he clears waivers, so it may not be the last time you see Adams in green. Down to 68.

Kenny Yeboah, TE

Another BOMBSHELL for Jets fans. The popular undrafted prospect has been waived according to Costello. Yeboah had a lackluster summer that ended with a bang, lighting up the Eagles’ secondary for 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns in game three of the preseason. The second was a highlight reel Hail Mary grab, while the first was a seam route that displayed burst from the tight end position. The rookie was an upside prospect and a talent that could have developed into an improvement for the franchise in an area of need. Now we will all anxiously wait and see if he clears waivers. Down to 67.

Chris Herndon, TE (TRADE)

Excuse me? This makes no sense and we will have a follow-up story coming shortly, but Herndon looked like a shoo-in to make the roster after the Yeboah cut, otherwise why ditch the rookie? The only explanation is that Gang Green will go the third route and bring in a tight end from somewhere outside of the organization because as of now it’s just Tyler Kroft and Ryan Griffin left, plus fullback Trevon Wesco and expected cut Daniel Brown. The Jets will receive “draft pick compensation” in return, which means the count drops to 66.

After a long delay, the final roster cut dump finally occurred via Rich Cimini among others. Analysis can be found below.

Daniel Brown, TE

Brown is the tight end that should have been cut weeks ago. No offense to the primary special teamer that joined the Jets in 2019, but he never should have outlasted Yeboah or Herndon, even if it was a technicality. Brown is officially gone now, moving the marker down to 65.

D.J. Montgomery, WR

The wide receiver is another anticipated cut, where fans were just waiting on the official word. Montgomery was behind a plethora of receivers on the depth chart and although he flashed at times, the consistency was never there enough to actually threaten a roster spot. Down to 64.

James Morgan, QB

Morgan was never expected to make the roster either, but his 2020 draft status seemed to allow him to hang around and overstay his welcome. The backup was always going to be White, Johnson or an outside candidate. This was only a matter of time. Morgan is a practice squad candidate because of his draft ties to Douglas. Down to 63.

Del’Shawn Phillips, LB

The weakside linebacker had a connection to defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, but he missed a large portion of training camp with nagging injuries. Phillips finally participated in the final preseason game with the Eagles but never did much to move the needle. The Jets also drafted two linebackers in Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood. Down to 62.

Elijah Campbell, DB

The third man in the slot competition behind Javelin Guidry and Michael Carter II. Campbell had a nice summer but was a victim of circumstance in a deep position. Guidry and Carter ended up ranking first and second for all Jets’ CBs in preseason coverage grades. He also had a bad missed tackle in the finale against the Eagles. Down to 61.

Grant Hermanns, OT

The undrafted rookie always looked like a nice developmental piece and that’s exactly how he played this summer. There were certainly bright moments in his run blocking but he needs more work in pass protection. Practice squad candidate, down to 60.

Camilo Eifler, LB

Another UDFA that could make the practice squad. Eifler was a favorite of mine throughout the summer but it became evident during the final preseason game that he was not quite there yet in terms of being pro-ready. Down to 59.

Noah Dawkins, LB

This one is more surprising than Eifler because Dawkins appeared to have caught Coach Saleh’s eye over the last week or two of camp. He even took reps with the first-team defense ahead of Nasirildeen a couple of times, but it appears the Jets will look elsewhere for help at linebacker. Dawkins brings the franchise down to 58.

Ryan Griffin, TE

If you’re wondering who’s left at tight end right about now, the answer is Kroft (and Wesco). In a totally unexpected turn of events, Douglas and Saleh elect to clean-house at one of their weakest positions. The team will certainly add at least one or two tight ends in the near future, stay tuned. Down to 57.

Isaiah Williams, G

I thought for sure Williams was in after Levin and Murray got cut, but like tight end, the Jets will clean-house on the interior of their offensive line. Feeney ended up being the lone survivor behind Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten and Alijah Vera-Tucker. Down to 56.

Sharrod Neasman, S

I’m sensing a theme here, Douglas decided to trim every ounce of excess fat from his weakest areas. Ashtyn Davis must be healthy enough to play Week 1 because there are no other safeties left on the roster behind Marcus Maye and Lamarcus Joyner. Down to 55.

Tanzel Smart, DT

The veteran defensive tackle seemed to have most fans hoping he would sneak onto the roster. In the end, Nathan Shepherd and rookie Jonathan Marshall beat him out. This is a strategic move by Douglas, as Smart is less likely to get signed by someone else. Perhaps he returns to the franchise later this season. Down to 54.

Ronald Blair, EDGE

The oft-injured Blair loses out to the oft-injured Zuniga based on draft status and potential. The San Francisco 49ers vet didn’t have too many takers coming off a torn ACL, but his ties to Saleh gave him an opportunity in New York. Unfortunately, he was unable to stay healthy most of the summer, causing him to become our final cut of the deadline. Down to 53.

Edge rusher Kyle Phillips was also placed on the Reserve/PUP list to start the season.

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