Jets Release RB After New Signing, Give Jersey Number to Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook

Getty New York Jets new running back Dalvin Cook with the Minnesota Vikings in 2020.

The NFL is a cold business a lot of the time. After making things official with Dalvin Cook on August 16, the New York Jets announced that they were releasing running back Damarea Crockett.

To make matters worse, Cook will be taking Crockett’s jersey number (33) in the process.

The Jets also signed cornerback Nehemiah Shelton, who will replace injury cut Javelin Guidry for the time being. The CB first worked out with Gang Green on August 8, per NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, but they elected to add DT Bruce Hector and DE Pita Taumoepenu instead.

Jets Sign UDFA CB Nehemiah Shelton After Javelin Guidry Injury

Guidry’s injury initially freed up a roster spot for Cook, but the Jets realigned those two positions on August 17 when they swapped an extra ball carrier for a corner.

According to team reporter Ethan Greenberg, Shelton “went undrafted in April and played for the Memphis Showboats of the USFL. The San Jose State product was named All-Mountain West in 2021 and 2022. Shelton finished his career at SJSU with 195 tackles, 8 interceptions and 32 pass defenses in 45 games.”

“He led the Spartans with 8 PDs in the 2022 season and his 2 interceptions co-led the team,” Greenberg added. “In the 2021 season, Shelton ranked No. 3 in the nation averaging 1.4 pass defenses per game.”

Shelton weighs in at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, so he’s 5 inches taller than Guidry. NFL Draft Buzz detailed some of his strengths and weaknesses in March.

“Tracks the ball well downfield and shows good ball skills, including the ability to go up and high-point it in contested-catch situations,” they scouted as a strength, continuing: “His ball skills are very good. … [Shelton] has the natural ball skills for forcing turnovers.”

NFL Draft Buzz also complimented his alertness in zone coverage, fluidity and speed in the slot, as well as his “understanding of route progressions occurring behind him.”

On the flip side, they noted that he “gave up far too many big plays in college,” is “not an asset in run support” and has been “inconsistent getting off of blocks.”

Jets Newcomer Damarea Crockett Is Immediate Odd Man Out After Dalvin Cook Signing

Crockett’s release is not surprising whatsoever. The newcomer was the Jets’ sixth running back before Cook entered the fold, and their seventh after.

And based on his touches during the two preseason outings, he was also squarely behind 2023 UDFA Travis Dye on the depth chart. Unless Gang Green had ideas about stashing Crockett on the practice squad, there was very little opportunity for him in New York.

“Crockett (5-11, 225) joined the Jets in late July,” Greenberg wrote. “He was most recently with the [Denver] Broncos, but did not play last season because of an ACL injury. He originally signed with the [Houston] Texans in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri. … Crockett also had stints with the [Las Vegas] Raiders (2019) and [Green Bay] Packers (2019-20) practice squads.”

While Crockett was an easy first cut in the RB room, the next ones will be tougher. Dye profiles as a practice squad candidate, but things get tricky after that. Assuming Breece Hall and Cook are both healthy enough to avoid the short-term injured reserve — and Israel Abanikanda is a roster lock on a new rookie contract — either Michael Carter or Zonovan Knight could be moved before the 53-man deadline.

Jets RB Dalvin Cook Shows Off New No. 33 Jersey

Just before the Crockett news, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero shared a photo of Cook in his new No. 33 Jets jersey.

“New Jersey swap,” he relayed. “Dalvin Cook is going back to his old No. 33 with the Jets, per his agent Zac Hiller.”

Cook wore this number with the Minnesota Vikings from 2017 through 2021 before switching to No. 4 last year. It’s time to get the nameplates on those Jamal Adams jerseys traded in, Jets fans; there’s a new 33 in New York.

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