Jets Predicted to Cut 25-Year-Old Former Starter After Incident

Brandin Echols

Getty New York Jets cornerback Brandin Echols makes a tackle in 2021.

After head coach Robert Saleh’s announcement that the New York Jets will be skipping mandatory minicamp in 2023, training camp is just around the corner for Gang Green.

With that comes roster cuts, and Sports Illustrated Jets writer Ralph Ventre released a “way too early 53-man roster projection” to get the ball rolling. While most of his predictions didn’t stray too far from what’s expected, Ventre did offer one big surprise for the NYJ community to consider — cornerback Brandin Echols’ potential release after an offseason incident.

Ventre settled on five CBs making the roster: Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed, Michael Carter II, Bryce Hall and Justin Hardee. Some might argue that Echols has the leg up over Hall based on 2022 playing time, or that Saleh ends up keeping six cornerbacks as he did last summer.

Here was Ventre’s rationale: “Gardner and Reed accounted for one of the baddest CB duos in the NFL and Carter is solid in the slot. Meanwhile, Echols may have lost his roster spot, in part, due to his recently imposed suspension.”

More on NFL’s Decision to Suspend Jets CB Brandin Echols

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported the news that Echols would be suspended by the league on May 25, tweeting: “The NFL suspended Jets DB Brandin Echols for the first game of the 2023 season, per the wire.”

In a separate tweet, Pelissero added that “Brandin Echols’ suspension is for a violation of the personal conduct policy, I’m told. He was accepted into a diversionary program earlier this year, related to his role in a high-speed crash in 2022.”

He also linked an article from the Daily Record that detailed the auto accident. According to reporter Lori Comstock, Echols “was accepted in a diversionary program to avoid assault by auto charges in a high-speed crash in Florham Park in 2022 that partially paralyzed another man.”

“Florham Park Police in January charged Echols with the fourth-degree crime and issued him several motor vehicle summonses for reckless driving, speeding, unsafe lane change, improper passing and failure to wear a seatbelt, according to police records obtained by the Daily Record,” Comstock later informed.

However, Echols’ admission into the diversionary program — which includes a 36-month rehabilitation program under the supervision of a probation officer, financial restitution, a six-month suspension of his driver’s license and an official record of the arrest — does dismiss those charges upon completion (per Comstock and the Daily Record).

While this does appear to be a setback for Echols as a pro athlete — and by no means fits the culture that Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas have attempted to build — the organization has offered second chances in the past based on the character of the man, and NYJ drafted the Kentucky product, in part, because he was able to battle his way up from junior college.

It’s also a one game suspension, which is relatively easy for the team to overcome so long as current starters Gardner, Reed and Carter are all healthy. This should be an interesting decision for Saleh and his staff to make in August.

Echols started all 14 appearances in 2021 with two interceptions, nine passes defended and one defensive touchdown. He also beat out Hall for the main backup role after the Jets brought in Gardner and Reed, logging 13 games in uniform last year with two passes defended.

Jets CB Bryce Hall Appears to Be Struggling During OTAs

Who knows how the Jets view this suspension behind the scenes. What is apparent is that Hall isn’t making this decision any easier for Gang Green.

If Echols were to be cut, the Jets would need Hall to step up as the key backup behind Gardner and Reed, should either leave the game with injury. So far at OTAs, the former starter has done the opposite as his loss of confidence appears to have carried over from 2022 into 2023.

Not only was he torched in coverage on a viral touchdown bomb by Aaron Rodgers on June 5, but there was also this Connor Hughes (SNY) tweet on June 6.

“Bryce Hall is having a rough start to practice,” it read. A simple tweet, but a noticeable one during OTAs — where players typically only get noticed for really strong or poor play.

It certainly feels like the once-promising fifth-round selection has fallen on hard times within the organization. The question is — why? And is his inconsistent form enough to save the 25-year-old Echols after legal problems?

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Craig Collins
Craig Collins
3 months ago

The Jets aren’t going to cut Echols and they aren’t going with just 5 CBs. That’s absurd!!! That would leave no backup for Sauce and Reed. MC is only a slot CB, Hardee is only a STer, and Bryce Hall doesn’t have the speed the Jets want. That’s why he never played last year. The only way Echols would get cut is if either Jarrick Bernard-Converse or UDFA Derrick Langford light it up in TC and preseason and make them feel comfortable with him playing in case of injury to Reed or Gardner.