The New York Jets, along with the other 31 NFL franchises, were tasked with trimming their roster to a final 53 this past week.
There were some tough cuts, but only one of them was a major surprise when Gang Green announced they had released veteran cornerback Bless Austin.
The 25-year old was the most experienced corner on the roster and had been running with the ones throughout the entire offseason.
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A Huge Surprise in Final Roster Cuts
The Jets secondary was already going to be young with the group they cobbled together, but with the release of Austin, they’re basically newborns.
Justin Hardee is the only member of the cornerback room that has been in the NFL longer than two years and he is set to be a core member of the special teams group, not the defense.
Over the last two years, Austin had played in 18 games, starting 16 of them for the green and white. While certainly, he wasn’t a perfect prospect by any means, Austin brought a swagger and confidence to the room.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh called the firing a result of the “numbers game” and a desire to roll with the youth on the roster.
“It was surprising for me, I didn’t see it coming at all. I don’t think anybody did. It’s tough. I mean, he’s been a starter for us for the past two years. So I guess we just got to figure out what’s next now.”
A Brand New Venue for His Talents
Austin wasn’t only a surprising cut to Jets fans, NFL teams were also caught off guard.
Which provided a unique opportunity for the Seattle Seahawks to pick up a starting-caliber corner in early September.
According to multiple reports, the Seahawks have added Bless Austin to their defense.
Seattle apparently has an affinity for former Jets defensive backs, but they conveniently had a spot open up in the cornerback room after trading away Ahkello Witherspoon to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 2023 fifth-round draft choice.
With Austin now off the roster and having found a new home, the Jets are risking it to get the biscuit.
The projected starters at corner with Bless gone is Bryce Hall, Javelin Guidry, and Isaiah Dunn. The second-year corner out of Virginia is the most experienced corner, although that is not saying much since the rest of the group is a combination of first and second-year players.
We have often talked about the risks of playing this level of inexperience on the backend of the defense. The Jets could be forced to win some shootouts if they’re going to come down with some dubs.
Although this does provide a perfect science experiment for the Jets’ coaching staff to throw these young pups into the deep end of the pool and see if they swim.
2021 is going to have ugly moments, but perhaps these battle scars the corners incur could be super beneficial long term in their development.
How does the saying go, no pain — no gain?
Prepare for a lot of pain, but also in the same breath invaluable experience moving forward.