Speculation exists surrounding who’ll end up making the 2019 roster. Inevitably, players that may have left an impression will ultimately be released as it’s the nature of the business. In this week’s “Joe Jets 5,” I name five surprise cuts the Jets make en route to the final 53.
1) Elijah McGuire:
Career: 180 rushes, 591 yards, 4 TDs, 3.3 Y/A, 36 receptions, 370 yards, 2 TDs
Preseason 2019: 11 rushes, 27 yards, 2.5 Y/A, 7 receptions, 48 yards, 1 TD
It’s time to close the book on Elijah. While I’ve enjoyed his prowess as a pass catcher—coming out of the backfield—the addition of Le’Veon Bell, Ty Montgomery, and re-signing of Bilal Powell leaves no room for McGuire on this roster. Some might prefer him over Trenton Cannon, but Cannon is useful on special teams, and he’ll get the nod over Elijah.
2) Deontay Burnett:
With limited action in a Jets uniform, Burnett has turned himself into somewhat of a crowd favorite. I love Burnett’s upside, and I like his chemistry with Sam—which developed during their days at USC. However, we have to ask ourselves a question, outside of a role as WR4-6, what else does Burnett offer? Well, the answer, in short, is nothing. He doesn’t play special teams, and the chance he’ll see the field regularly remains slim.
Burnett’s competition: Greg Dortch continues to carve out a nice role as a punt returner, Josh Bellamy is a veteran that has ties to Adam Gase, Charone Peake and Deonte Thompson both have roles on special teams. Thompson, for example, was routinely the first man down the field (against the Falcons) on punts, and did a solid job of getting open (as a WR)—drawing two flags on the defense.
It doesn’t help Burnett that Dontrelle Inman was recently spotted at One Jets Drive and that Ty Montgomery—or Le’Veon Bell for that matter—could easily fill in at the WR position if need be.
Personally, I want to see Burnett on this team, but from a General Manager’s perspective, it would be hard to justify keeping him over more versatile players. Unless he demonstrates, as a wide receiver, that he’s clearly—head and shoulders—better than the other options, Burnett’s not making the final 53.
3) Nathan Shepherd:
The days of watching “Nathanos” potentially making QBs disappear is coming close to an end. While the Jets lack depth at several positions, DL isn’t one of them, and Shepherd could see himself wearing another uniform shortly. It’s hard to imagine cutting the third-round pick after one season—especially since he’s had good moments in camp and against the Giants this preseason—but at that this point, Folorunso Fatukasi and Bronson Kaufusi, appear to be favored by the coaching staff.
Hopefully, Douglas finds a trade partner. The possibility exists that a team weak at DL but deep at CB could present itself, and I think this is something to watch out for. Douglas was quick to make a trade for Alex Lewis (G) before his release, and he may orchestrate a similar deal with a team that values Shepherd. Ultimately, if given the opportunity, Shepherd still has a chance to develop into a starter.
4) Taylor Bertolet:
Bertolet arguably kicked himself off the team with his first extra-point attempt. While Bertolet has performed decently in practice, I doubt he’s the kicker going into week 1.
Honestly, I thought it was ridiculous the Vikings traded a 5th round pick for Kaare Vedvik (K). However, after watching kickers miss multiple extra points—in consecutive weeks—I asked myself a question. Would you give a 5th round pick for more wins? The answer was an unequivocal, yes. Inevitably, at some point this season, the kicker—whoever he is—will need to hit a field goal to either win the game or put it out of reach.
5) Alex Brown, Dee Delaney, Tevaughn Campbell, Arthur Maulet, Montrel Meander, Marko Myers, and Parry Nickerson:
OK, yes, my 5th spot belongs to 7 players. What can I say? Surprise! None of these players are making the final 53. The only cornerbacks guaranteed a spot are Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts, and Brian Poole.
We still haven’t seen veteran Marcus Cooper take the field, but I expect he ends up making the cut. For now, Kyvon Brown is as well; however, I’m not so sure his spot is that safe either. Kyvon has impressed in camp, but his mediocre performance against the Giants and recent injury are putting his place in jeopardy. The quickest way for an undrafted rookie to get released is by watching on the sidelines. It’s a dirty business, and if other opportunities present themselves, the Jets will move on.
Rumors continue to circulate that some veterans will become available: notably Josh Norman and A.J. Bouye. I’d probably pass on Josh Norman even with our dismal CB situation, but Bouye is a name I’d keep an eye on.
As of now, the remaining corner spots most likely belong to players not yet acquired. Although it’s a scary proposition at this point in the season, none of the aforementioned players are worth rostering. I thought about keeping Nickerson, but he’s performed awful this preseason. He’s given up multiple big plays, including a 51-yard TD against the Giants. He still has a chance, but needs to tighten up his coverage. Many of the bad plays this preseason could have gone the other way with a little more awareness. The second half of the Saints game (on Saturday) will be a big day for Parry—JetUp or sit down.