Jets Announce First Round of Cuts, Promising UDFA Headlines Group

Michael Dwumfour

Getty Former New York Jets defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour celebrates a fumble recovery on August 14, 2021.

It took until late in the afternoon on August 17 for New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh to deliberate on their first round of roster cuts as a partnership.

When asked about it earlier in the day, Coach Saleh noted that the staff was going to meet after his press conference and “talk to Joe to see where we’re at.”

The franchise was required to drop down from 90 men to 85, but after the Chris Naggar release on Monday, they only had four more cuts to make. Our writers Boy Green and Michael Obermuller made predictions on the initial roster moves and needless to say, a few of the Jets’ decisions came as a bit of a surprise to us.

Our selections went as follows.

Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr. Michael Obermuller
Zane Lewis Zane Lewis
Daniel Brown Daniel Brown
Josh Malone Josh Malone
Austin Walter Del’Shawn Phillips
Tanzel Smart Jeremiah Valoaga

I’ll take the ‘L’ on this one, as I went zero for five after Gang Green announced the four additional moves this afternoon.

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Dwumfour to Depart After Breakthrough Game

The most notable cut was probably undrafted free agent Michael Dwumfour. Two weeks ago, nobody would have batted an eye if the defensive tackle was released, but the Rutgers product and New Jersey native turned a whole bunch of heads during the first preseason game.

The rookie logged one tackle, one pass defense, one quarterback hit, a half-sack and a fumble recovery during his brief appearance on August 14. If not for a calf injury that forced him to leave the game, he probably would have done more.

I can only help but wonder if his injury played a large role in the decision to release him. That, and the fact that the Jets are loaded on the defensive line already. We saw Douglas waive UDFA Teton Saltes after his injury during the Green & White scrimmage, but the rookie offensive tackle managed to clear waivers and find his way onto our injured reserve.

Is the same strategy a possibility for Dwumfour? It’s definitely feasible, but after the tape that the Rutgers graduate put out against the New York Giants, it’s also much less likely no one claims him. With the local ties and the front-row seat, it could even end up being Big Blue that does it.

If it were me, I would have kept the promising rookie over a linebacker like Del’Shawn Phillips that has barely contributed between injuries and inefficiency.

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Some Clarity on Clark

Although I didn’t end up predicting it, there was always a chance of this injury designation occurring and Douglas has proven shrewd with his roster space in the past.

This one wasn’t all that surprising. Left guard Alex Lewis is not currently on the roster after joining the Exempt/Left Squad list but Cameron Clark never technically left it until now.

The optimist in me hoped for the best with the second-year lineman’s neck injury, but in the end, precaution always seemed like the wise decision here. Clark managed to avoid long-term damage to his spinal cord and rushing him back would only risk an aggravation or worse.

It’s unfortunate news for a player that was entering a sort of prove-it training camp, but the nature of this game is rooted in physicality and Clark needs to heal his body before deciding whether or not to give it another go. For now, he’ll join the injured reserve.

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Preseason Mistakes Turn Into Early Cuts

I feel like the player Boy Green and I were most confident about getting cut was defensive back Zane Lewis. The Jets have a plethora of players in front of him on the depth chart and even after a last-stitch switch to safety, things just didn’t seem to be working out for Lewis, who was burnt on a long run by Sandro Platzgummer against the Giants.

Lewis is the blitzing safety that comes around the edge and slips as the running back cuts past him. It definitely seemed like this play could be the end for the DB, until an interception in a stellar Monday practice may have narrowly saved his bacon.

Instead, veteran Bennett Jackson took his spot. The safety spent a portion of the past two seasons with Gang Green and was only utilized on special teams during his time in New York. He only totaled two tackles with the Jets, but I thought his relationship with special teams coordinator Brant Boyer might keep him on the roster a little longer.

As for Austin Walter, my partner nailed this one. It appeared that the running back had actually gained some favor, earning more snaps than Josh Adams against the G-Men.

That all changed when Walter tripped while taking a hand-off from Mike White. He ended up fumbling the football after getting drilled in the backfield. The whole thing wasn’t pretty and the half-back finished with a putrid negative three yards rushing because of it — which was enough to seal the deal on the RB’s chances.

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