Jets Cut 5-Game Starter Unexpectedly: Report

Will Parks

Getty Former New York Jets veteran Will Parks makes a tackle in 2022.

The New York Jets leaked a roster move on June 8, as ESPN NFL insider Field Yates relayed that the franchise has decided to release veteran safety Will Parks.

Different members of the Jets beat confirmed this news not long after, including ESPN’s Rich Cimini, who noted that Parks “played in 14 games last season with three starts.” The seven-year NFL journeyman also started another two games with Gang Green in 2022, appearing in a total of 17 games during his time with the organization.

Associated Press reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. followed up on the move, stating: “Parks spent last season & end of ‘21 season in NY. Backup on [defense] & key [special teams] player. Jets have 7 safeties listed on roster: Chuck Clark, Jordan Whitehead, Ashtyn Davis, Tony Adams, Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Trey Dean and Marquis Waters.”

Jets Free Up Roster Spot During Second Wave of NFL Free Agency

It’s certainly no coincidence that the Jets have chosen to free up a roster spot right in the middle of the second wave of NFL free agency. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler detailed some of the early transactions that have already occurred at edge rusher this week on June 8.

“Second-wave pass rush market taking shape,” he tweeted. “Leonard Floyd: $7M guaranteed, additional $2M in incentives. Frank Clark: $5.5M guaranteed, additional $2M in incentives (via @AdamSchefter). Among remaining options: Yannick Ngakoue, Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram.”

The Jets have plenty of pass rushers, but Parks’ departure still begs the question — who might general manager Joe Douglas be targeting here in June?

The big names are obviously wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back Dalvin Cook, who have both been released by their former teams. Jets head coach Robert Saleh replied that the Jets “love” their WR room when asked point-blank about Hopkins, however, and he’s also shut down veteran RB rumors involving Ezekiel Elliott this spring.

Hopkins is set to visit the Tennessee Titans this weekend, while Cook has often been linked to the division-rival Miami Dolphins — “his hometown team.”

Douglas could be looking at a smaller addition as well. With all the depth at safety, including two more promising UDFAs in Dean and Waters, it’s possible the Jets GM sees this as an opportunity to bring in more competition elsewhere.

The Jets are still somewhat thin at linebacker, running back, defensive tackle and cornerback — considering Brandin Echols’ offseason suspension. They currently have the fourth-most available cap space in the NFL this season at $24.79 million, but still have important work to do on the contracts of superstars Aaron Rodgers and Quinnen Williams.

Jets Youngsters Likely Ousted Will Parks at Safety

Parks has been cut in the past, typically finding his way back to the NYJ practice squad, but a June departure doesn’t bode well for the soon-to-be 29-year-old. It’s more likely that the wily vet was ousted by an emergence of youth at the position.

Not only did Adams and Davis beat out Parks for an initial 53-man roster spot last summer, but the Jets also added three new potential rookie safeties this spring. Bernard-Converse is the most versatile of the group — a sixth-round selection out of LSU that can play three different positions in the secondary.

“He can play safety, he can play nickel, he can play outside,” Douglas voiced after drafting him. “He’s played a lot of football and obviously, the talent speaks for itself.”

Next up is Dean, a bigger-bodied safety out of Florida who some have given a “great chance” to make the Jets roster in 2023. NFL app uSTADIUM reported that a team source highlighted “his size and ability to help cover TEs/RBs out of the backfield,” adding that the coaching staff “want[s] to slow the game down a bit for him” this summer.

Then there’s Waters, a hard hitter out of Texas Tech. Just this week on June 6, Jets beat reporter Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic wrote that “undrafted rookie safety Marquis Waters made a nice play to intercept [a] pass” that was thrown by fourth-string QB Chris Streveler.

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