The Jets unloaded some sure things this weekend en route to slicing their roster down to 53 players, continuing a tradition of cutting ties with players who impress in preseason yet fail to make the team.
On Saturday afternoon, general manager Mike Tannenbaum traded versatile cornerback Dwight Lowery to Jacksonville for a conditional draft choice and waived a number of players to get down to the league-mandated roster limit. Among the bigger names axed included tight end Josh Baker – who had an impressive preseason– center Robbie Felix, running back Chris Jennings, guard Matt Kroul, wide receiver Scotty McKnight, linebacker Brashton Satele and wide receiver Patrick Turner.
Felix, Kroul, Satele and Turner all ended last year on the Jets and were surprise names not to make the team.
Puzzling among the cuts was McKnight, the team’s seventh round pick in this year’s NFL draft and the childhood friend of quarterback Mark Sanchez. The cut of McKnight was a surprise due to his association with Sanchez, but it also leaves the Jets with just four wide receivers on their active roster. McKnight had just one catch in preseason– a 14-yard touchdown grab against the Eagles.
The cutting of McKnight also means that Hayden Panettiere, the actress who came to prominence in “Remember the Titans” and “I Love You Beth Cooper,” will no longer be making appearances at Jets practices. She has been rumored to be a beau of McKnight over the past few months and Panettiere quietly took in one open preseason practice this past August to watch McKnight try to make the roster. The Jets drafted McKnight out of Colorado, but apparently did not love him back.
Having been with the team on and off since last year, it seemed like Satele had impressed last Thursday night in the final preseason game, securing eight tackles in a loss to Philadelphia. Satele seemed like a contender for the two-deep this year given his play at linebacker and ability to contribute on special teams.
Having spent just two weeks with the Jets after being cut by Buffalo, former first round pick Aaron Maybin was released on Sunday. Maybin, considered a bust by the Bills, had 1.5 sacks in the preseason game against the Eagles and seemed to state his case for making the roster. Originally, he was on the 53-man roster released Saturday.
Less than 24 hours later, Maybin was waived despite Ryan saying a day earlier that “I thought his play rushing the passer [was good] and that’s what landed him on the roster.”
Like Maybin and Satele, it appeared that running back Chris Jennings, who signed a futures contract in January, made a statement in preseason play. Jennings had four carries for 81 yards, including a 69-yard effort in the Jets’ second preseason game — a 27-7 win over the Bengals. Jennings received no carries against the Giants and just one against Philadelphia when the bulk of the rushing load was taken by Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell.
But the biggest move of the weekend so far wasn’t a young player looking to make the roster, but one who had established himself last year in the Jets’ rotation. Ryan said that the trade of Lowery, who played in 43 games for the Jets over three seasons and had his first two career interceptions last year, was predicated on the team’s depth in the secondary.
“When we looked at our secondary, we’re pretty much loaded when you have Brodney Pool and Eric Smith come back, along with Cookie (Emanuel Cook) and obviously, Jimmy Leonhard is healthy, and we have depth at corner now,” Ryan said. “I just think that as an opportunity for Dwight to go to a place where he’s really going to be used, competing for that starting nickel job.”
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