Welcome back to another edition of the Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, brought to you by PrimeSport, official sponsor of the New York Jets and the NCAA. Grab your tickets to the 2017 Men’s Tournament right here!
Despite a thorough housecleaning this offseason, the New York Jets still have a few players lingering on their roster who will either be gone before the season starts or will be playing their final year with the team in 2017. Let’s quickly run through them…
1. Marcus Gilchrist, Safety – If Gilchrist is designated as a post June 1st cut, it will free up 6 million dollars in cap space for the Jets. Considering how poorly he played last season and how he may not be ready for training camp as he recovers from a torn patellar tendon, this seems more like a “when” not an “if.” Gilchrist’s fate could further be sealed if the Jets select a safety in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft later this month. Bottom line is the Jets need to do better at free safety than Gilchrist who has struggled heavily two of the past three seasons between his time in New York and San Diego.
2. Sheldon Richardson, Defensive End – It might happen before draft weekend, it might happen draft weekend, it might happen right after draft weekend but Richardson is going to get traded before the season starts. The Jets are not paying him a long term contract and there is no logic in having him play out a lame duck season, while mismanaging his usage alongside Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams. You can read further about that here. The Jets will free up 8 million dollars in cap space when they move on from Richardson.
3. Matt Forte, Running Back – The Jets are not likely to eat 5 million dollars by releasing Forte before this season, unless they land a running back very early in the NFL Draft. However, if he does stick, this will be Forte’s last year in New York. Hopefully, he is ceding playing time to Bilal Powell and other younger backs who are eventually added. The Jets paid him last year to be a final piece to a “playoff ready” team and because they were worried about him signing with New England. Needless to say, he is out of place on this current roster.
4. David Harris, Inside Linebacker – If the Jets had signed Dont’a Hightower, it is likely Harris would have been released. Unless they draft Reuben Foster at #6 (don’t), Harris should finish out his contract with the team in 2017 before retiring. Hopefully, the Jets add a middle round player to groom behind him who is ready to takeover next to Darron Lee in 2018. The Jets would save 6.5 million if they released Harris before the season. Harris will be a Ring of Honor player for the Jets and has maintained a respectable level of play, even in his later years.
5. Steve McLendon, Nose Tackle – He should stick this season despite the team having high hopes for Deon Simon. It does not seem likely he will be back in 2018 though, as the Jets can save 3 million by moving on from him when he will be 32 years old after this upcoming year. The plan is for Simon to take a larger role as the season moves along, gradually marginalizing McLendon’s value.
6. Eric Decker, Wide Receiver – It is not out of the question that Decker will be a post June 1st causality, pending his injury recovery. I do think he will ultimately be on the 2017 roster with a decent chance to stick in 2018 (much higher than the people listed above). Yet, if players like Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Charone Peake and Devin Smith or Jalin Marshall continue to develop (or start to develop in Smith’s case), he could get pushed out. He is a 30 year old at a position group stocked with young talent this regime is high on.
7. Josh McCown, Quarterback – In a perfect world, McCown is beat out by a younger quarterback and never starts a game for the Jets. In a more likely world, he starts week 1, gets hurt or replaced by midseason and then retires as a 40 year old after the 2017 season. If the Jets are paying Josh McCown money to play quarterback in 2018, it may merit picketing outside of Florham Park.
8. Calvin Pryor, Safety – It seems unlikely the Jets are going to exercise their fifth year option on Pryor, which does not bode well for his long term future here. Depending on how the NFL Draft goes, Pryor could be traded or released before the season starts but he is more likely to play here in 2017 and then hit the free agent market next year. It isn’t too late to change his narrative here in New York but he has an uphill battle to a second contract from the Jets.
9. Bryce Petty, Quarterback – This one is a little more presumptive than everyone else on the list but even if the Jets don’t draft a quarterback in the first round, it would not be surprising if they added one in the middle rounds. Petty is currently injured and is already the odd man out in the 2017 quarterback discussions (McCown, Hackenberg or draft pick x?). Theoretically, he could be Hackenberg’s backup in 2018 or the backup to another young quarterback but I’d say it is more likely the Jets look to move on after this year. Petty will already be 27 heading into the 2018 season.
10. Buster Skrine, Cornerback – Currently the third highest paid player on the team (!), the Jets can save 3.5 million by moving on from him after this season. He has had durability issues and if he can’t shake his concussion problem from 2017, it is fair to wonder how much longer he should play here, if anywhere for his own safety.
11. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tight End – The Jets are likely to be aggressive addressing this position in the NFL Draft, Seferian-Jenkins did not impress in 2017, struggling with durability and consistency. He is already suspended the first two games of this season and his contract is up after 2017.
12. Devin Smith, Wide Receiver – It pains me to write this as the last man standing on Devin’s Hill but unless he can beat out Charone Peake, Quinton Patton and Jalin Marshall (when he returns from suspension) for reps, this could be it for him in New York. Smith is more talented than those three players but if he is not on the field due to his health, it doesn’t matter.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com