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The biggest surprise cut for the New York Jets before week 1 will be…
Joe Caporoso – It feels logical to look towards holdovers from the previous regime to answer this question. Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle, Dakota Dozier, Trevor Reilly and to a much lesser extent Jace Amaro all jump to mind. If you go beyond those players. If there was a surprising cut of a replacement level right tackle over the summer which the Jets could take advantage of, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Jets moved on from Breno Giacomini. I do not see any scenario where the Jets would keep four quarterbacks so if/when Fitzpatrick returns, Geno Smith is the most likely to go despite being more qualified to be the backup and arguably having more long term potential than Bryce Petty. It just seems unlikely this regime would cut Petty only one year after drafting him.
Dalbin Osorio – The biggest surprise cut, for me, will be Breno Giacomini. Breno was awful last year and the Jets have a chance to have a better offensive line just by his subtraction and the addition of a heathy Ryan Clady. You want continuity on your OL as much as possible, but not to the extent that you don’t try to get better. Granted, I thought the Jets should’ve cut him earlier in the offseason to make a run at new Vikings RT Andre Smith but here we are. I think the Jets are high on Brandon Shell and, in an ideal world, he would be the guy to supplant Breno on the right side. Even without Shell’s ascension, I think that there will be notable cuts throughout the league post June 1st. The money the Jets save from cutting Giacomini will allow them to be players in this second round of free agency.
David Aitken – If the Jets get a reason to cut Breno Giacomini, Maccagnan will gladly take the cap relief. There were reports earlier in the offseason the Jets like Brent Qvale, so his progress is worth monitoring heading into training camp. One surprise cut to keep an eye on is Nick Folk, depending on the quality of UDFA Ross Martin. The Jets played a good chunk of the year without Folk last season and he holds a high cap number for a kicker. Over his time here Folk has proven to be relatively reliable, but last year was a below average field goal kicker in addition to his usual struggles on kickoffs. Overhauling special teams will be an emphasis in training camp, and Folk could be a casualty people may not be expecting.
Kevin Zielaznicki – The most surprising cut the New York Jets make prior to the start of the NFL season will be third year cornerback Dee Milliner. Once heralded as the replacement to Darrelle Revis after the 2013 NFL Draft, many thought Milliner would come in and eventually become a dominant defender for the Jets. Milliner suffered from the injury bug his rookie year and even saw the bench a few times but finished the season strong as he won the NFL Defensive Rookie of December award. Many were hoping that Milliner would be able to pick up where he left off after his rookie season and become the corner the Jets needed him to be, but Milliner never really was able to put his game together and continued his time on the injury squad. Milliner saw very little time last season as he suffered from a wrist injury that kept him off the active roster until November. When he was healthy, he floated near the end of the cornerback depth chart behind Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine, and Marcus Williams. The Jets recently declined to exercise the fifth year option on Milliner’s contract and he will be given one last shot this summer to prove that he can stay healthy and be a contributing player.
Alex Kaczynski – I believe that the Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick dilemma will finally be resolved prior to the start of training camp. Once Fitzpatrick is resigned, there is a very small chance the Jets decide to keep four quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster. With that being said, that essentially guarantees Fitzpatrick a spot and then 2nd round draft pick Christian Hackenberg will be guaranteed another. That leaves one more QB spot up for grabs between Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. After a long training camp battle, I think the Jets will opt to move on from Geno Smith and stick with second year man Bryce Petty as the team’s last quarterback. That’ll leave the Jets quarterback depth chart ugly as usual heading into week one with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter and Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty as his backups.
Cutting Geno wouldn’t have a huge financial impact and the team would actually wind up saving around $1M. Ideally, Fitz will play one to two more seasons and by that point we all hope that Hack is ready to take the reigns of the Jets offense and be the franchise quarterback the team has been searching for. I just do not see a place for Geno on this team if Fitz finally comes to his senses and resigns.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com