Jets Release Veteran Team Leader Suddenly: ‘Curious Situation’

Robert Saleh

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh during the 2022 season.

When the NFL transaction wire was released on December 15, a New York Jets roster move headlined the notice.

Moments later, the official Jets Twitter account confirmed it, Gang Green is cutting veteran safety Will Parks from the 53-man roster. The journeyman defender and core special teamer had become a team leader in 2021 and 2022, so this is a bit of a surprise here in Week 15.

Jets May Try to Bring Back Will Parks on the Practice Squad

According to CBS Sports insider Josina Anderson, “the Jets released S Will Parks after he practiced today.” She explained: “I’m told, it became a ‘numbers game’ with all the injuries, per league source.”

ESPN’s Rich Cimini confirmed Anderson’s report, adding that the “Jets are hoping to get [Parks] back tomorrow on the practice squad if he clears waivers.” He continued: “Apparently, some roster gymnastics due to injuries/numbers.”

Cimini also noted that Parks was absent from practice on Wednesday, December 14, due to a “non-injury related reason,” calling it a “curious situation.”

We’ll know if the Jets get Parks back in 24 hours, but for now it means Ashtyn Davis and undrafted rookie Tony Adams will both be stepping into a larger role moving forward.

Team reporter Ethan Greenberg detailed Parks’ time in New York:

“Parks re-signed with the Green & White in March after he was originally claimed by the Jets last December. He spent the summer with the team before he was waived and signed Sept. 14. Parks played in 11 games this season and made 5 tackles. He took 48 snaps on defense and 136 on special teams. Originally a sixth-round pick of the Broncos in 2016 out of Arizona, he played four seasons in Denver before a stint with the Eagles in 2020. Parks has played in 87 games (21 starts) in his career and has made 194 tackles and 4 interceptions.”

Jets Roster Move Incoming?

Based on the inside information from Anderson and Cimini, we can assume that the Jets are freeing up a roster spot in order to bulk up an area of need. The latest injury news on defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and wide receiver Corey Davis seems like both could miss Week 15 against the Detroit Lions.

So, should we expect a practice squad signing at one of those two positions?

If the Jets come to the realization that Williams could be absent this weekend, as well as in Week 16 versus Jacksonville — being that it’s a short week and a Thursday night outing — they could elect to sign someone like Tanzel Smart to the active roster.

A promotion makes less sense at wide receiver, considering the Jets have plenty of depth with Denzel Mims and Jeff Smith ready and waiting.

As for players returning from the injured reserve, no one really lines up with this decision to cut Parks. The NYJ IR is made up of long-term season-ending absences like Alijah Vera-Tucker and Breece Hall.

Offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi could come back this season, but he only hit the reserve on December 3, meaning he’s not eligible for a couple more weeks. Max Mitchell is obviously not returning either, according to head coach Robert Saleh, and linebacker Marcell Harris was said to have suffered what could be a season-ending ankle injury.

On that note, maybe the Jets sign an extra linebacker like 2021 draft pick Hamsah Nasirildeen to the 53-man roster, since he’s officially out of practice squad elevations for the year.

There is one other potential area of need, cornerback. Brandin Echols has already been ruled out this week and the Jets don’t have much behind Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed Jr. and Michael Carter II. Bryce Hall is the next man up, but it’s possible Saleh wants another veteran CB on the roster like Jimmy Moreland or Craig James.

Of course, the answer could always be none of the above, but is there anyone left out there on the free agent market that Gang Green might target? We should find out more over the next day or two.

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