The New York Jets continue to tinker with their roster after setting their original 53. Who could they target amongst the recent departees?
The New York Jets’ unveiling of their 53-man roster has been anything but final.
Joe Douglas and Co. have continued to tinker with the Jets roster as their Sept. 12 opener against the Carolina Panthers looms. New York wasted little time in attacking the waiver wire, primarily focusing on defensive replacements in the wake of several medical absences. Tim Ward came over from Kansas City on the line in hopes of replacing some of Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry’s production. Meanwhile linebacker Quincy Williams joins his brother Quinnen after two seasons in Jacksonville and can hold down the interior linebacker spot while Jarrad Davis heals. Reports have also linked the Jets to former Cleveland safety Sheldrick Redwine, though no official announcement has been made.
The active nature of Jets management suggests the team isn’t done making moves, even as the countdown to Carolina reaches single digits. ESM has compiled a list of final cuts from elsewhere that would improve the Jets’ immediate fortunes in the skill positions for the better. Some have been claimed for practice squads, but are eligible to be added to an active roster.
Throw by Garrett Gilbert was on the money 💰
And Aaron Parker finds the end zone 🙌
— NFL (@NFL) August 29, 2021
QB: Garrett Gilbert, Dallas
Gilbert enjoyed a lucrative run as the quarterback for the Orlando Apollos, the class of the short-lived Alliance of American Football. The Buffalo native played his AAF success into backup gigs with Cleveland and Dallas, performing respectably in a single start with the Cowboys while filling in for Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton last season. Dallas opted to go with Cooper Rush and waiver wire addition Will Grier as the backup for Prescott’s return. Gilbert has since been signed to the New England Patriots’ practice squad, where he and Brian Hoyer are the prime candidates to backup Mac Jones.
The Jets’ backup situation has been the subject of much scrutiny: the team opted to go with Mike White (he of a passable preseason but zero NFL regular season pass attempts) as their primary name behind Zach Wilson while keeping the well-traveled Josh Johnson amongst their own practice corps. Obviously, the Jets hope no backup will be necessary this year. Robert Saleh has made it clear that the team wasn’t going to add a veteran backup for the sake of having one on the roster with Wilson. But the Jets should no better than anybody about the importance of a reliable name in the second slot: no green quarterback has started a full season’s worth of games since Ryan Fitzpatrick went all 16 in 2015. Gilbert would a great addition that could fill in in case of a Wilson emergency.
RB: Alfred Morris, NY Giants
Frankly, the Jets are very well equipped in their run game and might be better off exploring a trade involving their rushing surplus. Rookie Michael Carter is obviously off-limits but offering Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, or La’Mical Perine to a team in need of rushing (i.e. Jacksonville and/or Baltimore after respectively losing Travis Etienne and J.K. Dobbins to season-ending injuries) is an endeavor worth investigating.
If the Jets were to scour the rushing help from elsewhere, however, Morris (a bit of an early cut, as he was part of the Giants’ initial departures) would a strong candidate to help solve their woes in short-yardage situations. The veteran and three-time 1,000-yard rusher proved to still have some NFL mettle last season, averaging 4.3 yards per carry with the Giants (second-best on the team behind Wayne Gallman). New York has tried to address its short rushing game. One such step includes the continuation of the fullback experiment with tight end Trevon Wesco. If they want to go a more traditional route, Morris would be the best option from abroad.
Blessed be the waiver wire 🙏 pic.twitter.com/EuVr4LFQMn
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 6, 2020
WR: Keke Coutee, Houston
True to their nature, the football gods have thrown another wrench into the Jets’ best-laid opening day plans: reports from this week indicate that Jamison Crowder has tested positive for COVID-19 in an isolated case. Crowder has been the Jets’ most potent and consistent offensive weapon over the last two seasons and has established himself as one of the most reliable slot targets in the league.
On the current roster, this seems like a big opportunity for rookie Elijah Moore to make a name for himself. But if the Jets want to add someone with a little more experience in the short term, Coutee would be the way to go. The experienced slot man was part of Houston’s final cuts but was quickly added to the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad.
A fourth-round selection in 2018, Coutee had a roller-coaster career with the Texans but was capable of athletic plays (including offensive trickery) and making himself open. Coutee’s catch rate of 82.5 percent (33 receptions on 40 targets) was good for ninth in the league amongst qualified receivers.
— Chris Clark (@ChrisClark_) December 4, 2015
TE: Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia
The Jets have granted TE1 duties to Tyler Kroft, solidifying the move by trading Chris Herndon to Minnesota. Formerly of Piscataway, Kroft has been a reliable red zone option in Cincinnati and Buffalo but it’s been a while since he held full-time primary tight end duties. Kroft and Wesco were the only tight ends kept amongst the original 53, but the Jets later re-added Daniel Brown and Ryan Griffin.
Speculation has surrounded one tight end from the City of Brotherly Love, as some have implored the Jets to trade for Zach Ertz. Those rumors have been quelled by Ertz himself (who insisted he wishes to retire in Philadelphia) But the Eagles also released a reliable veteran target, one capable of making big plays and is used to an expanded role in the starting lineup.
Rodgers previously worked with another Rodgers…the unrelated Aaron. In fact, Richard (no relation) is the recipient of one of Aaron’s most famous touchdowns (seen above). His career sputtered with consecutive years on injured reserve, but he filled serviceably when both Ertz and Dallas Goedert went down. During a three-game stretch in November (two starts), Rodgers tallied 161 on nine receptions, two of which went for touchdowns (his first since the 2017 season).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags