In the end, three players were cut — although more have been let go since then — running back Austin Walter, offensive lineman Isaiah Williams, and safety Zane Lewis. Yesterday on May 9, one cleared waivers and agreed to remain with the franchise.
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Lewis Transferred to Reserve/PUP List
According to our very own Heavy on Jets reporter Michael Obermuller, “Zane Lewis will remain [with the] Jets after initially being waived on May 6,” joining the “reserve/physically unable to perform list.”
The defensive back was released with a “failed physical designation,” per Pro Football Network reporter Aaron Wilson, but the Jets have decided to keep him within the organization for the moment.
Lewis has been sidelined with a season-ending torn patellar tendon that occurred the same week of training camp that Carl Lawson was injured. The 6-foot-1 safety has yet to appear in an NFL game after entering the league in 2020. Before that, he made 30 appearances for Air Force — 94 total tackles (five for a loss), 21 passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble.
He will not count against the Jets’ 90-man roster for mandatory minicamp.
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Should the Jets Still Add a Safety?
General manager Joe Douglas has been doing a great job of improving the organizational depth of this franchise. The goal is to eventually have quantity and quality, but certain position groups have taken a backseat to others this offseason.
For example, cornerback and tight end have seen a major emphasis from Douglas this spring, while safety and linebacker could still use some work.
The Jets’ current safety group has plenty of bodies — the quantity part of the equation — but the quality of the unit is unclear. Jordan Whitehead was brought in to be an every-down starter. After him, things get murky.
Douglas decided to re-sign veterans like Lamarcus Joyner and Will Parks, instead of pursuing a bigger name in free agency or the draft. Those two will join youngsters like Jason Pinnock, Elijah Riley and Ashtyn Davis in what could turn into an open competition at free safety.
Joyner certainly has the leg up on the others based on experience, but he’s also working his way back from a lost season in 2021. The veteran also turns 32 in November, and should not be seen as a guaranteed starter at this point in his career.
That’s not all — the Jets have also signed various safety reserves over the past several months, including special teams ace Kai Nacua, ex-Cleveland Browns contributor Jovante Moffatt, and undrafted free agent Tony Adams.
Outside of Whitehead, there are very few certainties at this position in 2022. Gang Green will most likely hope for one of their prospects to step up and surpass Joyner as the season takes shape.
If that doesn’t occur, Douglas can look for a more permanent solution in 2023.