A familiar face for New York Jets fans is back in the news this week.
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What a Stunning Move
In an absolute stunner, the Jets announced that they had waived Austin on September 1 of last year.
The 25-year-old (will be 26 by the start of the 2022 season) originally entered the NFL as the No. 196 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft.
An injury-plagued career at Rutgers caused him to tumble in the draft, but the Jets’ patience was rewarded once he fully recovered.
Over a two-year span, Austin played in 18 games and started in 16 of those contests. He registered eight pass deflections, a pair of forced fumbles, and became a feisty player for the Jets on the backend of their defense.
Despite that, he was surprisingly dumped right before the start of the 2021 season. He ended up joining the Seattle Seahawks and played in 11 games, but only played 18 percent of the defensive snaps.
Now he is looking to continue his NFL career by possibly rejoining the AFC conference.
The Current Depth Chart
Head coach Robert Saleh wanted to ride the backs of the younger players on the roster and it ended up working out.
Several relative unknowns entering the year showed flashes from rookies like Michael Carter II and Brandin Echols. Then other ‘day three’ picks played above their weight class in Javelin Guidry and Bryce Hall.
Then this offseason Gang Green decided to hit the upgrade button with the largest investment at the cornerback position under this regime by adding DJ Reed Jr.
The former San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks stud signed a three-year deal for $33 million. He will now become the top cornerback on the roster.
Despite his stature at 5-foot-9, 193 pounds Reed has proven capable of elite play.
Even Saleh, who originally coached Reed for three seasons in San Francisco, doubted the corner saying, “he can’t play outside, he is too small.” Then when he was cut by the 49ers and signed with the Seahawks, Reed was able to prove what he was capable of.
Saleh was blunt at the NFL’s owner meetings saying, “he proved Seattle right, me wrong, and I’m not afraid to admit that.”
With the confidence in the younger players and this big addition in free agency, the Jets could be done at the cornerback spot this offseason.
If they want him they’d likely have to pull the trigger with the No. 4 overall pick with the New York Giants lurking with two selections at No. 5 and No. 7 respectively.