3 Jets players may have to look over their shoulders to protect their jobs this offseason

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, allen lazard
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

What comes with the New York Jets having drastically improved their roster this offseason are the proverbial casualties that could follow down in the depth chart.

Evan Massey of Fan Nation’s Jets Country identified three Jets players that may not have room to shine on the team any longer.

Should the Jets cut Allen Lazard, Brandon Echols and Izzy Abanikanda?

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, allen lazard
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Massey labeled running back Izzy Abanikanda, defensive back Brandin Echols, and wide receiver Allen Lazard as the three most-likely candidates that will get cut as the final 53-man roster gets finalized. He cited contracts, poor play from 2023 and crowded depth charts at each of their positions as the main reasons why they may be released from the team this spring or summer, saying this about Echols:

“The 26-year-old defensive back has shown flashes of talent and potential, but with the Jets stacked in the secondary, his time with the team has likely come to an end,” Massey wrote.

Echols will have stiff competition for time on the field in stacked cornerback rotation

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Echols took his lone interception to the house in 2023 and had two defended passes along with 11 total tackles in 2023. The three-year cornerback earned a 56.1 player grade from Pro Football Focus for the year, but with a stacked rotation at CB including Sauce Gardner and Michael Carter II, the third-stringer may be expendable before he kicks off his fourth season in the NFL.

Lazard also has a battle at wide receiver with three workhorses stamped for 2024

Below him in Massey’s rankings was Lazard, who did not live up to WR2 expectations in 2023 with 311 receiving yards and only one receiving touchdown, along with a paltry 46.9 percent catch percentage. He has three years left on his four-year, $44 million deal he signed with the Jets ahead of last season.

New York may look at the remainder of that contract as roughly $33 million they can save and allocate toward an improved talent that fits their structure better at some point before the free agency or trade markets close. That is only heightened by the Jets having Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams and Malachi Corley cemented as their top-three receivers, with Corley also looked at as a wideout that can transition from his designated role in the slot to see occasional time on the outside.

Abanikanda is the odd man out as RB4 in the Jets lineup currently

New York Jets running back Israel Abanikanda (25) rushes with the ball in the second half. The Buccaneers defeat the Jets, 13-6, in a preseason NFL game at MetLife Stadium on Saturday

Lastly, Abanikanda likely won’t see the field next season unless a wave of injuries sweeps through the running back rotation. Breece Hall needed only six more rushing yards to earn his first 1,000-yard season in 2023 and is viewed as a breakout candidate again for 2024. RB’s Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis are both ahead of Abanikanda on the depth chart too, which gives New York reason to release him to have flexibility in their ranks.

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