It’s officially cut week New York Jets fans, and our expert writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller are back again to talk NYJ football.
As always, if you missed any of our recent roundtable chats, feel free to catch up below.
- Week 1: What to watch in training camp, Joe Douglas’ next moves.
- Week 2: Predicting every major training camp battle.
- Week 3: What Jet would you bet your career on? Love one, hate one, steal one.
- Week 4: Zach Wilson comparisons, roster bubble & how the Jets can contend.
- Week 5: Green & White scrimmage overreactions, preseason primer.
- Week 6: First round of cuts, unofficial depth chart & Snoopy Bowl standouts.
- Week 7: Second round of cuts, replacing Carl Lawson & recapping Green Bay.
Today we’ll put most of our focus on Tuesday’s roster cutdown, hitting on a few different major positional battles, but we’ll also give our thoughts on the Shaq Lawson trade and the situation at backup quarterback.
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Filling Voids at Backup QB, Edge Rusher
1. We’ve discussed this before, but the landscape has changed. Should the Jets address the backup quarterback situation, or is the answer already on the roster after what we’ve seen in the preseason?
Josh Johnson won’t win any beauty contests as the Jets’ No. 2, but he looked solid in the preseason finale versus the Philadelphia Eagles and that was with minimal practice time. He’s a veteran that is intimately familiar with the system and can simply get the job done. Don’t be surprised if the Green & White decide to add a veteran if he shakes free, but if I had a gun to my head right now I’d say Johnson is the backup.
James Morgan and Mike White are likely destined for the practice squad. With COVID still being a thing, it would make sense to have someone close by they can turn to if they have to break the glass for an emergency.
I still have some strange gut feeling that White will end up being the backup, but if it were up to me I’d choose Johnson or look outside of the organization. I agree with Paul here though and don’t see them doing that for the Week 1 backup role. They could claim a quarterback off waivers, but that player would likely start the season on the practice squad until they learn the playbook.
Some options would be players like Kurt Benkert or Nick Mullens that are familiar with the system already. I’m not opposed to this from an insurance standpoint but I saw enough from Johnson on Friday night to lock him in as Wilson’s clipboard holder. Between the long-time NFL veteran and new quarterback assistant Matt Cavanaugh, the Jets have done well to account for the tragic loss of Greg Knapp, which was a tall task for Douglas.
2. Is the Shaq Lawson move enough to account for the Jets’ injury problems at edge rusher, and can this scheme succeed with the players it has right now?
Enough to account for? I’d aggressively push back on that because there is no replacing Carl Lawson and what he meant to this team. He can be a serviceable rotational EDGE rusher that can provide a little pop.
The Jets essentially got him for free: less than $1 million in salary and they traded a sixth-round pick that they got for Jordan Willis. A great deal for Douglas and I love the fit on this team.
Agreed, I like the move but was hoping for more. The only player that might have actually replaced Carl Lawson pound-for-pound was Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones. That dream is most likely dead after Sunday’s acquisition. At the same time, I’m glad that the Jets did SOMETHING because the alternative was clearly worse.
Gang Green has a few promising edge rushers in Bryce Huff, Hamilcar Rashed Jr. and even Jabari Zuniga (if he could ever stay healthy). These players are also young and a work in progress when it comes to the gritty aspects of the game. That’s where Shaq Lawson comes in. I actually expect the former Buffalo Bills’ first-round pick to step in and start, being that he’s the top run defender in this group. Even John Franklin-Myers, who should start opposite him, has struggled mightily in this area.
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Predicting Jets’ Roster Cuts in Hot Topic Areas
3. Who do you believe makes the final 53-man roster at the wide receiver position between Braxton Berrios, Vyncint Smith, Jeff Smith and any other bubble candidates you deem are worthy?
I think the Jets are going to keep seven wide receivers on the roster in no particular order: Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole, Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios, and Vyncint Smith.
Berrios is too reliable in the slot and as a return man. Plus Vyncint Smith is a speedster that brings great special teams ability and the coaching staff loves his potential. Jeff Smith is a dark horse candidate but I can’t see them keeping more than seven so it’ll be a tough challenge to overtake one of the aforementioned contenders.
We are running out of time for this to happen, but I’m going to propose a last-second shocker at wide receiver. The Jets will keep seven wide receivers as my partner laid out so eloquently, but those seven will include Berrios and both Smiths.
I’m terrible at math but in this scenario, I did not miscount. Douglas is a hawk on the trade market and I believe he pulls off a deadline deal to move Crowder for some draft capital, or an area of need like cornerback. I love the veteran and I don’t need to be reminded that he’s been our best receiver the past two years, but at the same time he’s gone in 2022 and he has developed little-to-no chemistry with Wilson this summer.
All three of those bubble candidates have done enough to earn a role on this roster. Berrios was returning punts and kickoffs against the Eagles, and he did a really nice job in doing so with 36 yards per kick return and a long punt return that was called back for a penalty. Vyncint Smith has shown potential as a gunner, due to his blazing speed. He’s also made strides at receiver. Jeff Smith might be the most intriguing tool of the trio though. He reminded me of Tavon Austin in his prime, the way offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was using him on Friday.
4. Who do you believe makes the final 53-man roster at cornerback, focusing on the rookies and bubble candidates?
I know things have been rough for my boy Isaiah Dunn, but I really want the Jets to keep him on the roster. Sadly the numbers game is what it is and I can’t see how he makes it.
Several of the draft picks will make it in Brandin Echols, Michael Carter II, and on top of those, I see Javelin Guidry, Bless Austin, Bryce Hall, Jason Pinnock and Justin Hardee making it. That’s a lot of bodies but they need the depth.
We’re pretty much in lockstep this morning — which is kind of rare. I also have seven cornerbacks making this roster and my list does not include the promising UDFA Dunn. He just didn’t live up to the hype during the preseason, with awful performances at Green Bay and MetLife against Philadelphia. The good news is that it’ll be much easier to sneak him on the practice squad after the dreadful outings.
Joining him on my list of cuts will be Lamar Jackson and Elijah Campbell. It was always an uphill battle for both players and they just didn’t do enough to warrant a roster spot over a Douglas draft pick like Pinnock or Echols. Austin has also seemingly saved his job, for now, something I doubted earlier this summer. He and Hall are still the likely starters, although Echols could push one of the two for the role.
5. Give me one or two major shockers to make or miss the final 53-man roster.
Josh Adams shouldn’t be a surprise to miss the roster, but fans have fallen in love with him. He always seems to gain yards, but the coaching staff doesn’t love him half as much as the fans do. La’Mical Perine is going to make it, he has looked great in camp and he’s a Douglas draft pick. While that shouldn’t matter, it does.
A surprise to make it? How about Jonathan Marshall, the ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ of the Jets 2021 draft class. He was an athletic dart throw and has shown some nice pop. If he makes it, the best he can hope for is a part in the rotation. The other possibility is slapping him on the practice squad and developing him this year. The coaching staff has really liked his progress.
I’m a big Marshall fan too, but it looks like his run defense could still use some fine-tuning. I’d like to see him make the roster but I have a feeling Douglas will try and sneak him on the practice squad. If that’s the case, I really hope they don’t lose him on waivers. He has the potential to become a sleeper draft pick. Also agree with the Adams-Perine conversation.
My big surprise (besides the Crowder trade above) will be Kenny Yeboah. I have not been his biggest supporter this summer but I also understand how lousy the Jets’ tight ends are. The rookie is no sure thing and has obvious flaws in terms of consistency, but his ceiling is so much higher than Ryan Griffin. I’d shop Chris Herndon on the trade market for a conditional sixth or seventh-rounder first, but assuming there are no takers, I’d cut Griffin who’s missed the past two weeks with a hamstring injury.
Two other minor ones; I think Zuniga sticks around and joins the PUP list after making the roster. The Jets would then use his spot to either ‘call up’ someone they cut, or claim an edge rusher off waivers. I also have guard Isaiah Williams making this roster. The journeyman was only picked up the other day, but he bullied the Eagles in the run game with impressive grades. The Jets are thin at interior O-line and Williams could take over the role vacated by Alex Lewis.
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