Jets Predicted to Cut Rookie After Breakout Performance vs. Giants

Xavier Gipson, Jets

Getty New York Jets wide receiver Xavier Gipson warming up ahead of an NFL game.

The preseason has come to an end for the New York Jets and the rest of the 31 teams in the NFL. That means the next game of football that will be played at the professional level will count.

Before we get there, our pair of experts Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller have to answer some pressing questions ahead of the season.


Surprise Jets Roster Cuts and a Bubbling Corey Davis Situation

1. What will be the biggest New York Jets surprise from cut day on Tuesday?

MO:

I learned this myself after falling in love with Calvin Jackson Jr. last summer, but Xavier Gipson’s cut will be the biggest surprise for most Jets fans.

Recency bias has taken over when it comes to the undrafted wide receiver, but he didn’t do much offensively before the final preseason game and I’m not sure the Jets truly need a returner with Mecole Hardman, Randall Cobb and Israel Abanikanda all making the 53. Gipson is a nice player but if you look around the league, most teams have a shifty speedster of his caliber on their 90-man roster.

Perhaps, with some fine-tuning on the practice squad he’ll become more, but I don’t see the rookie making it through cutdown day in year one.

Boy Green:

I love that answer for the rationale, but I also hate it because Gipson has been fun to watch. Against the Giants he caught seven balls for 79 yards, both of which led the team.

However, I think the news is going to be surprising in a bad way with the Carl Lawson situation. There is a thing in the business called a journalistic antenna, it’s almost like a spidey sense, and when head coach Robert Saleh said Lawson had stuff done to his back my ears perked up.

I hope I’m wrong, but I think it’ll be a serious Lawson announcement whether it be he’s out for the season or he’s slapped on injured reserve after making the initial 53 which would force him to miss a minimum of four weeks.

Thankfully the Jets have plenty of depth on the defensive line, but Lawson has the chance to be an important cog in the machine. Hopefully this back thing isn’t as serious as it appears.

2. Should the Jets replace Corey Davis with a big name, or should they stand pat with what they have in the room?

MO:

If I’m Joe Douglas, I’d be very active on the waiver wire at wide receiver. The goal is to find someone more experienced and reliable than Jason Brownlee, another flashy rookie that impressed this summer.

I’m not sure Gipson or Brownlee get poached in all honesty, so if the Jets trade for or claim a veteran, they could probably get away with stashing both UDFAs on the practice squad for now. This WR corps is not as deep as some NYJ fans seem to think, and I’d certainly add to it if I can.

I’d also monitor the bigger names on the bad teams (insert Mike Evans and Davante Adams) throughout the year, although I don’t expect either to get traded unless their teams are totally down and out by the time we reach the midseason deadline.

Boy Green:

If the Bucs won’t move Evans and I’ve heard from multiple sources they won’t, maybe Chris Godwin could shake free?

The Jets are all-in, and they should do everything in their power to improve the roster. Davis being gone hurts the depth and if Garrett Wilson gets injured, this wide receiver room would be in a very bad place.

3. If the Jets don’t make a significant move to replace Davis, how will that affect the target share of the passing offense for the other guys?

MO:

I’d say Tyler Conklin and the running backs stand to benefit the most. Aaron Rodgers has a history of utilizing pass-catching RBs out of the backfield (Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook and Michael Carter) and the first-string tight end was totally wasted in Mike LaFleur’s offense.

I think Rodgers and Nathaniel Hackett utilize both in 2023, and that would account for the Corey Davis role — assuming no top-end wide receiver is acquired.

Boy Green:

I think the focus would shift to the running backs primarily out of the backfield. That would mean a lot of screens and check-downs for he likes of Hall, Cook, and Carter.

Garrett Wilson was always going to get his, so I don’t think the Davis part of the conversation truly affects him in the same way. However, there will be a big bump for all of the tight ends across the middle of the field.


Tracking the Progress of Zach Wilson and Mekhi Becton on Jets

4. With the preseason over, how would you rate the performance of Zach Wilson from what you saw?

MO:

The main hurdle for Wilson to overcome this summer was his mind, and I think he did that. Rarely did he go for the forced splash play or the wild highlight during the preseason — outside of the Malik Taylor throw and the spin-move scramble — but that’s okay for now.

Eventually, you want to see his confidence return in those areas too, because that’s what makes him special as a quarterback. Having said that, he cleaned up a lot of the small stuff (mechanics, footwork, accuracy, progressions) and outplayed Tim Boyle. What’s not to like?

Boy Green:

Wilson isn’t going to get a bust in Canton, Ohio for what he did this offseason, but it was tremendous progress for the talented passer.

He struggled in the past with doing the mundane tasks of a quarterback, this preseason he was able to do those things. They aren’t sexy and obviously the bar is lower than it normally would be for a former No. 2 overall pick, but Wilson has turned things around.

There is still a ton of work to be done and we’ll see if he gets any opportunities during the regular season to prove that his progress is legitimate.

5. Will 2023 finally be the year that Mekhi Becton can stay healthy for the Jets?

MO:

Oof. Really putting me on the spot here. Every Jets fan would like to answer yes, but there’s nothing behind that response but blind faith.

No one knows for sure if Becton can stay healthy, but I do commend him for getting back into shape and switching up his mentality. Those two things have rebooted his turnaround, and it would be foolish to root against the big man as a supporter of the team.

The Jets need him as much as he needs the Jets — and a healthy comeback campaign might be the only thing that can save this relationship long-term.

Boy Green:

Rodgers said earlier this offseason that visualization is super important. So, if I see it in my head and speak it into existence, then it can happen!

Becton is an important cog to the machine and it’s great to see a player save his NFL career. Same thing with Wilson in a different way, there is still much work to be done but he has had a lot of encouraging steps.

Seemingly overnight he went from backup that couldn’t finish a game to the starting right tackle ahead of the 2023 season.

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