After transitioning over from safety to linebacker as a rookie, Sherwood was undersized and ill-prepared in year one. Later, he tore his Achilles — another setback for the youngster. None of it has stopped him from studying, training and learning the position behind C.J. Mosley, however.
Sherwood was a core special teamer that appeared in all 17 games in 2022, but he only logged 25 snaps on defense. Now he’s expected to take over Kwon Alexander’s role as the starting strongside linebacker in year three, and he’s making that transition as part of a different weight class.
“So, with weight, I came in at like 212 [pounds as a rookie]… today I weighed in [at] like 234 [pounds],” Sherwood revealed on August 17. “From that standpoint, I made significant weight gain as well but as far as the physical standpoint, in college being 10 yards back [at safety], I was able to hit people bigger than me [because of] that speed coming up. But now, being five yards away from everybody, it’s kind of hard so I’ve been really working on using my hands just to get on and off of blocks.”
Sherwood also noted that adding weight in his legs has helped with his strength inside the box, detailing a fascinating new diet that involved eating four-to-five meals a day along with two workouts a day during the bulking period. That’s intense!
Jets’ Jamien Sherwood Finally Feels Comfortable at NFL Linebacker Role
Sherwood also talked about the cerebral side of his position, and why he feels more comfortable than ever playing NFL linebacker.
“I feel like I’ve come far,” he voiced. “I feel like I’ve made a great transition just from the standpoint of not knowing anything to feeling like I know just about everything on the field.”
Sherwood admitted later that when he first came into the league as a safety, he didn’t know anything about linebacker run gaps, or where to even line up in certain looks. “These last three years… I’ve just had time to sit back and actually watch film and understand what’s going on in front of me,” he said.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh has praised Sherwood for his intelligence and work ethic in the classroom ever since he first joined the organization. That mindset and mental wherewithal has led to the 23-year-old learning each of the three linebacker roles in Saleh’s NYJ defense (MIKE, SAM and WILL).
“I wouldn’t say it’s challenging,” Sherwood responded when asked about learning multiple positions, “it’s just your dedication to what you want. Regardless, you never know what tomorrow’s going to look like, you never know if you’re going to be on the team or not, so the more you can do for the team, the more you can do for yourself. I feel like that just puts you in a good spot, whether it’s on specials teams, offense or defense.”
The young man added that “if my coach is looking for a guy, I always want to be the guy that he can depend on.”
“Jamien Sherwood is penciled in as the third linebacker in the starting lineup next to C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams,” The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt stated on August 17. “He’s gotten reps both outside next to Mosley — and as Mosley’s top backup inside.”
2023 Is Jamien Sherwood’s Audition to Become C.J. Mosley’s Successor
Mosley won’t be the Jets’ middle linebacker forever. He just turned 31 in June, and he’s already shown signs of aging on the field in terms his pass coverage and overall speed to the ball.
The Jets passed up the opportunity to re-sign Alexander this offseason, and you almost wonder if Saleh feels it’s finally time to give Sherwood a real look as a long-term successor to Mosley in 2023.
Granted, Sherwood will be playing a different role this year so long as Mosley is healthy, but the starting experience could be invaluable toward his future inside this defense. The Jets did not restructure Mosley’s contract in 2023, giving themselves a clear out in 2024.
According to Over the Cap, general manager Joe Douglas can save $17 million in cap space by moving on from the veteran linebacker as a designated post-June 1 cut next spring. Gang Green would still be hit with dead charges of $4.476 million in 2024 and $5.952 million in 2025, but Mosley’s release would be manageable.
If he gives the Jets another renaissance season in 2023, they could also move on in 2025. Either way, Mosley’s shelf life as a high-paid linebacker is likely coming to an end over the next couple of years, and Sherwood is being groomed to replace him.
This season could key, and make for a sort of audition for the decision-makers like Saleh and Douglas who are currently running this organization.