The release of Pierre Desir leaves some lasting ripple effects across the remainder of this New York Jets season…and beyond.
Another week, another veteran bid farewell in the New York Jets organization.
The Jets released starting cornerback and team interceptions leader Pierre Desir on Tuesday, ending his New York career after nine games. Desir joined Steve McLendon and Avery Williamson as Jets defenders that have been sent away in the midst of this lost season.
How does this affect the Jets (0-9) moving forward? ESM investigates…
Let the Kids Play
The macabre silver lining on the Jets’ side is that their winless status leaves them with nothing to lose from a team standpoint, allowing them seven more consequence-free games, seven chances at free research and development for 2021 and beyond. We’ve seen it on offense with Denzel Mims starring on the receiving front and La’mical Perine seeing his workload increase with Le’veon Bell gone. Defensively, this should be fifth-round rookie Bryce Hall’s time to shine. Hall previously relieved Desir through coaching decisions in the late portions of the most recent loss to the New England Patriots.
It certainly appeared that the release of Desir was at least partially made with the younger players in mind after head coach Adam Gase’s comments on Wednesday.
“I think where we’re at right now we’re really looking to play as many of these young guys as possible,” Gase said, Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated. “We just felt like it was the right decision to give him an opportunity to go try to get an opportunity somewhere else. I don’t think a guy with that experience and a guy that’s been a starter for multiple teams, kind of having him play scout team, and possibly be inactive or a backup really wasn’t fair to him. So, we felt like this was the best decision to make and get these young guys out there and play those guys.”
Hall began his NFL career with placement on the COVID-19/reserve list before being moved to the non-football injury list in September. He was activated for his debut in the New England game and earned two tackles. Desir’s departure could be a big opportunity for both he and fellow rookie Lamar Jackson. The undrafted Jackson could return to secondary after partaking almost exclusively on special teams over the past few weeks.
While Joe Douglas’ inaugural draft class has worked out, for the most part, his free agency class has left much to be desired. That’s particularly true for a triumvirate of former Indianapolis Colts defenders who are no longer with the team.
Desir’s release comes after the Jets already bid farewell to his Racing Capital comrades in Nate Hairston and Quincy Wilson. Hairston was serviceable in relief but struggled in two games this season prior to his October waiving. Wilson, brought in through a trade on draft day, likewise failed to make an impact and was let go last week. The previously released pair have already found new homes, with Hairston going to the Ravens and Wilson joining the Jets’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants in blue. Desir has had a tough season (his receivers earned 35 catches against him, ninth-worst in football), but he still has enough talent and experience to head to a contender’s roster and contribute to a playoff run, much like he did during his Indianapolis tenure.
That doesn’t do the Jets any good in the meantime, and the Jets absorb $3.5 million in cap space with the release of Desir, equaling his guaranteed money upon taking a Jets uniform. Fortunately for their cap situation (just over $29 million currently), nothing adversely affects 2021 (where they still have an excess of $80 million to spend). It simply doesn’t bode well for Douglas’ first free agency class that two members (plus one from last season) are already gone.
Follow Pierre Desir (35) on this 31-yard completion that set up Patriots’ game-tying TD.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) November 10, 2020
Park the Tank
Many Jets fans are completely indifferent as to whether they win or lose at all in 2020. The hardly-restrained jubilation seen when the Jets blew their lead against the Patriots on social media showed just how apathetic or numb fans have become to this woebegone season. Losing, in their eyes, only contributes to the cause of earning the top overall pick next spring. If it means joining the Lions and Browns in 0-16 infamy, so be it.
But the release of Desir shows that any deviation from a full effort will not be tolerated in New York.
As New England made their comeback, some saw Desir slacking and not chasing after receivers at full speed, leading to his benching for the remainder of the game. Now that he’s gone, it’s up to Hall and company to rise where Desir fell. Being an accomplished veteran isn’t enough to exempt a player from trying to erase the goose egg that resides in the Jets’ win column. Time will tell if it allows them to avoid an imperfect fate, but it’s clear that the Jets believe that Hall gives them the best chance to win a football game.
“Some of these guys that are really young, they’re fun to coach because these guys, they’re all ears, they’re trying to do everything possible to put themselves and the team in the best position possible,” Gase said in a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Last year was a good example of having success with some of these guys that a lot of people didn’t think were very good, and we were able to win some games because of it. We’ve just got to keep getting these guys better and find a way to win it at the end of the game. When we get to the fourth quarter and it’s a close game, let’s go win one of these things.”
The Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags