Jets Sign College Teammate of Jermaine Johnson, Announce 2 Cuts

Calvin Jackson Jr.

Getty Washington State wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr. agreed to sign with the New York Jets on May 9.

The other day on May 7, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that “four or five” non-roster rookies stood out at this weekend’s first-year minicamp.

Today on May 9, the franchise announced two signings — wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr. and offensive tackle Derrick Kelly. The corresponding cuts were tight end Brandon Dillon and wide receiver D.J. Montgomery.

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‘Last Chance U’ WR & Ex-Giants Tackle Make an Impression

Jackson’s signing wasn’t exactly a surprise. In case you missed it, the Washington State wide receiver was highlighted as a rookie camp stand-out this weekend.

The Jets may have also acted quickly to block an AFC East rival. Pro Football Network insider Mike Kaye reiterated an earlier report that Jackson was set to try out with the Miami Dolphins after visiting with Gang Green.

General manager Joe Douglas decided not to let him leave, as the Jets continue to add wide receiver depth for Zach Wilson. Of course, Jackson’s story mirrors a popular 2022 NYJ draft pick.

The wideout was a teammate of defensive end Jermaine Johnson II in junior college (JUCO) and the two were both featured on season three of the Netflix documentary series, “Last Chance U.” That season followed Independence Community College in Kansas.

The 5-foot-10 wideout finally got his shot at Washington State in 2021, torching competition with 66 receptions and 987 yards through the air. He added seven touchdowns in 13 games played. Jackson’s father, Calvin Jackson Sr., was a former six-year NFL pro and defensive back for the Dolphins.

Saleh and Douglas also inked offensive tackle Derrick Kelly II. According to team reporter Ethan Greenberg, the 6-foot-5 blocker first “signed with the [New Orleans] Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Florida State in 2019.”

He continued: “[Kelly] spent his rookie season on the practice squad, made the 53-man roster in the 2020 season and played in 6 games. Kelly, who overlapped with Jets second-year LB Hamsah Nasirildeen for two seasons in Tallahassee, spent most of last season with the Giants practice squad. Kelly played in 34 games at FSU and started 28 over four seasons.”

By NFL standards, the offensive tackle is still technically a rookie despite entering the league in 2019. He’ll get another chance to appear in his first professional game with the Jets.

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Special Teamer Headlines 2 Cuts

These corresponding moves by the Jets weren’t the biggest shock. In fact, both were mentioned as possibilities in our list of 10 projected cuts from last week.

Dillon joined the organization from the Minnesota Vikings last season, but he has yet to make an impact at the NFL level with one career reception for six yards. After the Jets bolstered the tight end position in a huge way this offseason, there was no reason to keep the Marion product around.

Montgomery is the larger name here. The former Cleveland Browns prospect latched on with the Jets practice squad and eventually played in his first three games in 2021.

Although he caught three of six targets for 36 yards, Montgomery appeared to provide more value on special teams as a potential gunner and kick-return coverage blocker. As the Jets have filled those roles over the past season, the wide receiver became expendable.

Douglas continues to fill out this roster with talent, down to the 90th man. For the moment, Tarik Black and Rodney Adams beat out Montgomery for a reserve role in the receiving core, as well as UDFAs like Jackson, Irvin Charles and Keshunn Abram.

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