New York Jets Veterans Who Have Been Put on Notice This Offseason
The Jets are no longer at a crossroads. They have finally achieved stability in the front office under the deliberate leadership of general manager John Idzik and boast the resources necessary to continue building for the future.
Few players currently slotted on the Jets' pre-camp 53-man depth chart don't have the seeming luxury of looking ahead to the future.
While the Jets are mostly composed of younger players, some veterans will hold specific roles on the 2014 squad. With that said, some of these veterans must perform at a high level in training camp in order to secure their respective roster spots.
In the new era of Jets football, where intra-squad competition rules the day on the practice field, there will be no handouts—regardless of what one particular player has accomplished.
Idzik won't hesitate to severely alter the complexion of the Jets' roster if he feels it's in the best interest of the team.
The following slideshow examines five Jets veterans who have been put on notice this offseason.
5. Konrad Reuland, TE
After drafting explosive pass-catching tight end Jace Amaro in the 2014 NFL draft, the Jets' depth chart has become overstocked.
Even though Amaro isn't a true blocking tight end, the Jets could potentially part with fourth-year player Konrad Reuland if they feel former waiver pickup Zach Sudfeld is more deserving of a roster spot.
Reuland isn't a flashy player. He primarily serves as a wedge-blocker on special teams and a secondary blocker in two-TE sets. Reuland's most productive season from a statistical standpoint happened in 2012 when he registered 11 catches for 83 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per reception.
At the moment, the Jets boast seven tight ends on their depth chart, although only five have a realistic chance to make the final 53-man roster.
Amaro and veteran Jeff Cumberland are locks to make the team, but Reuland, Sudfeld and Chris Pantale will be forced to compete against one another.
Sudfeld makes the most sense for the Jets as a third tight end because of his ability to make plays downfield and also help create rushing lanes.
After exhibiting an ability to generate yards downfield in the 2013 preseason for the New England Patriots, Sudfeld didn't do much when given the opportunity during the regular season. He recorded five catches for 63 yards while in a Jets uniform in 2013.
Reuland has been a valuable role player for the Jets over the past few seasons, but could be ousted because he lacks playmaking ability.
4. Bilal Powell, RB
The Jets created a crowded backfield situation when they acquired electric playmaking running back Chris Johnson earlier this offseason.
The Jets' decision to bring in Richardson, despite already flaunting four capable backs on their roster, is a product of Idzik's idea to cultivate in-house competition.
Johnson and Chris Ivory will form a "two-dreaded monster" at the front of the line for the Jets in 2014 and are expected to receive a bulk of the workload, barring injury.
After a strong showing during the preseason in 2013, which carried over to the regular season, Bilal Powell appeared bound for a legitimate chance to prove himself as a capable lead back. While he shined at times, the Jets never handed the reins to Powell, who could potentially become disgruntled to a degree if his playing time is severely diminished upon making the 53-man roster.
Powell averaged a solid 4.0 yards per carry on 176 rushing attempts for the Jets in 2013. He demonstrated an ability to handle a durable workload, excelling in the process.
The Jets face a difficult decision in regard to whom to keep on board at running back, especially if Richardson emerges as a hard-to-cut player.
Richardson was mostly disappointing in his second season as a pro in 2013, averaging an inefficient 3.1 yards per carry on 69 attempts. Powell has done everything the Jets have ever asked of him, but that still might not be good enough.
3. Dawan Landry, S
New York opted to draft hard-hitting safety Calvin Pryor in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, which promptly slotted veteran Dawan Landry to second on the depth chart.
Although much is yet to be determined, Pryor is expected to earn a starting role in camp, which would relegate Landry to a reserve role.
Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com recently contemplated if Landry's roster spot would be jeopardized due to the Jets drafting Pryor. He suggested that opting to cut ties with the veteran would be a mistake.
Landry is a dependable second-tier player. He's started all 16 games in a season for three different teams, including the Jets, in the last five seasons. Even though his numbers are seldom fantastic, he's a reliable open-field tackler who can help prevent yards after the catch.
Landry recorded 63 total tackles, seven passes defensed, one sack and one interception in 2013. However, the total number of tackles he registered was the fewest he's posted in a full season since his rookie year.
At 31 years old, it's debatable how much fuel Landry has left in the tank. The eight-year veteran could potentially be more productive as a situational player, but it's likely that he intends to start.
If Pryor is able to satisfy expectations and earn a starting role over Landry in training camp, rumors will begin to swirl that New York will contemplate releasing Landry. That decision, if it happens, would place the Jets back into a familiar situation: a lack of depth at safety.
2. Antwan Barnes, OLB
Veteran edge-rusher Antwan Barnes was able to play in just five games for the Jets in 2013 before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Barnes has managed to play in all 16 games of a season just once in his seven-year professional career (2011). He was terrific during that season, registering 32 total tackles with a career-high 11.0 sacks and two forced fumbles.
The Jets are hopeful Barnes can somehow return to form in 2014, although that seems like a long shot.
Barnes usually lines up on the left side of the field, but the re-emergence of veteran outside linebacker Calvin Pace could prompt him to shift to the right side in order to make an impact—especially considering Quinton Coples' relative struggles.
Pace enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2013, recording 10.0 sacks.
Coples, a converted down lineman, had noticeable difficulties transitioning into an edge-rushing role from the point in 2013. It didn't help that he suffered a right-ankle injury during the preseason, which forced him to miss significant practice time at his new position.
Nevertheless, the former first-round draft pick never fully excelled as an outside linebacker in 13 starts.
If Coples is unable to exhibit consistent improvement in camp, Barnes will assuredly make the team. Coples recorded 24 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, three passes defensed and a forced fumble in 2013. He possesses substantial upside for the Jets, but needs to continue to develop.
According to Over the Cap, the Jets would save $900,000 in cap space by releasing Barnes this season.
1. Mike Goodson, RB
The Mike Goodson saga was a lingering problem throughout the 2013 season and remains a relevant issue in 2014.
Goodson was one of Idzik's first free-agent signings. He's a capable playmaker with a tainted history of off-the-field problems, but might have become expendable when the Jets pulled the trigger on Johnson.
Upon becoming eligible to return to the practice field last season, Goodson was out of football shape. His four-game suspension in 2013 prohibited him from taking part in team practices, although he was allowed to work out.
Goodson played in just two games for the Jets before suffering a season-ending ACL and MCL injury last season, averaging 9.5 yards per play from scrimmage on nine touches.
The Jets' crowded backfield makes Goodson a potential training camp casualty. Idzik has done a stellar job of cleaning house since becoming the Jets' GM, but created a sideshow of his own by signing Goodson to a three-year deal last offseason.
At the time, the move made sense, given the Jets' need for playmaking talent. Even though the Jets remain an average offense at best on paper, the headache that Goodson presents could lead to his exit.
Goodson has averaged 4.7 rushing yards per carry over five seasons. His most productive season occurred in 2010 while with the Carolina Panthers. He recorded 762 yards from scrimmage, including 452 rushing yards.
He offers value to Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense because of his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. The problem for Goodson, in regard to on-the-field play, is that Johnson can also handle that responsibility. He's also more capable of excelling in that role.