NFL Roster Cuts 2011: 5 Jets Who Should Be Cleaning out Their Lockers
Anyone who watched HBO’s Hard Knocks last year is familiar with the “Mike Tannenbaum Handshake.” The firm farewell is given to players who, after a sit-down with the New York Jets GM, have just been informed they were cut from the team.
It happens every season in the NFL on every team, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Several cut players make their way to the practice squad; others end up taking odd jobs in construction. It's the nature of the beast for these guys, year in, year out.
Like every team, the Jets are whittling down to their 53-man roster for Week 1, with just over two-dozen cuts left before the final deadline on September 3.
The following five players haven’t packed their bags just yet, but are all long shot to make the final roster.
Aaron Maybin, OLB
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The Jets “took a shot” on the No. 11 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, signing him to a one-year deal after the Buffalo Bills finally decided to cut bait earlier this month.
It was going to take a lot for Maybin to make a team known for its elite linebacker play. Despite registering a sack and forced fumble in Week 2 of the preseason against the Bengals, it appears Maybin has not fully impressed Head Coach Rex Ryan enough to crack the roster.
Ryan noted that Maybin is “going to have to do more” to make the team, which implies that there are other guys, namely former Rutgers LB Jamaal Westerman, who are below Maybin on the chopping block. Barring something unforeseen, it may be the end of the line for the once-promising pass rusher.
Logan Payne, WR
Payne looked like he was playing himself onto the team during training camp, in his competition with Patrick Turner for the team’s fifth wide receiver gig.
A wrist injury, however, may prove to be his undoing, as the four-year journeyman WR will undergo surgery to repair the dislocation. Ryan admitted he isn’t sure how long the recovery will take, but a healthy Turner has to be a hands-down favorite to make the team.
Payne, whose only action in the league came in a few games with the Seahawks in 2008, will probably work his way back onto the practice squad after his recovery is over.
Chris Jennings, RB
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Last year’s camp casualties at running back included Danny Woodhead, who went on to play a very prominent role with the Patriots, racking up 131 touches and 926 yards from scrimmage.
Clearly, the Jets are hoping not to make the same mistake this year with RB Chris Jennings. The third-year RB out of Arizona had the Jets biggest play of the preseason, when he bumped through Bengals defenders en-route to a 69-yard rush.
Still, with the Jets running back trio (Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight) healthy entering the season, Jennings, who is still behind rookie RB Bilal Powell on the depth chart, is the odd man out.
Josh Baker, TE
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Baker found his way onto the Jets preseason roster following a tumultuous college career that saw him transfer from Delaware to Division II school Northwest Missouri State.
After catching three passes for 45 yards in the preseason opener, Baker failed to register a single catch in the next two games.
There’s little Baker can do in Thursday’s exhibition finale to make the team, sitting behind three tight ends on the depth chart, including the emerging Jeff Cumberland (pictured), who should see action with Dustin Keller in two-TE sets this season.
Donald Strickland, CB
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This may seem like an unlikely choice, but due to the Jets stacked secondary, Strickland, the recently-signed veteran, may be a last-minute roster casualty on Saturday.
Behind one of the best starting CB duos in the league (Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie), the Jets have a pair of young emerging guys in Kyle Wilson and Marquice Cole. When you add the team's depth at safety, including defensive back hybrid Dwight Lowery, there is very little opportunity for Strickland even in quarter packages.