Bent, TheJetsBlog.comEvery year, teams have to let some players go. Even thought the Jets did bring back some of their free agents (Jeff Cumberland, Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls, Nick Folk, Leger Douzable, Calvin Pace), they chose not to bring everyone back. Although it’s only preseason, we’ll be keeping track of the progress on the guys they let go so we can at least start to form some views on whether letting any of these guys loose was a mistake or a smart move.
We’ll be aiming to cover all of the players and key coaches that were with the Jets during 2013 or 2014 and are now with another team. After the jump, a comprehensive list – which may of course grow as the preseason continues with guys like Santonio Holmes and Ed Reed still searching for a job – of who we’ll be covering. However, before we get into that, there was already one preseason game played this season that featured a couple of ex-Jets.
Some stats from PFF are used in this article and throughout the series.
Jacquies Smith, OLB, Buffalo
Smith was in the pass-rusher mix with the Jets last year but failed to register a sack in preseason, although he did have a hit, a pressure and a batted pass. In last night’s game, he entered the game late in the second quarter and played 31 snaps. He generated two pressures and was credited with two tackles including one for a loss. However, one of the pressures and the tackle for loss each came as he was unblocked off the edge. He avoided a cut block from a running back to register the other pressure, so didn’t actually trouble any offensive linemen on his 11 pass rush attempts.
Dan Carpenter, K, Buffalo
Carpenter was one of several guys that Nick Folk has beaten out for the placekicker role over the last year, but remained with the Bills after their sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins got injured last year. Rumor has it that the Bills plan to keep Hopkins as a kickoff specialist and Carpenter to kick field goals and yesterday’s game substantiates those rumors as Carpenter kicked two field goals from 30 and 51 yards and an extra point, whereas Hopkins kicked off four times, all of which were touchbacks.
After the jump, the rest of the guys we’ll be covering this preseason:
Antonio Cromartie, CB, Arizona
At one point this offseason, it looked likely that Cromartie would return to the Jets, but he’ll be starting for the Cardinals and aiming to prove that he’s fully recovered from the hip injury that blighted his 2013 season.
Jojo Dickson, LB, Arizona
Joining Cromartie in Arizona is linebacker Jojo Dickson, who never really threatened to make the roster last year. Dickson played as a third string ILB with the Jets and had three tackles and three pressures in three preseason games. With Daryl Washington suspended, maybe there’s a chance for Dickson to sneak onto the roster.
Billy Cundiff, K, Cleveland
Like Carpenter, Cundiff was another player that Folk beat out. He caught on with the Browns and looks to have secured his job already as they released his only competition last week.
Aaron Berry, CB, Cleveland
Coming off a serious knee injury last offseason after having played just two defensive snaps with the Jets in 2012, Berry joins ex-Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in Cleveland where he will battle for a roster spot. The Jets showed some interest in bringing him back at the start of free agency.
Isaiah Trufant, CB, Cleveland
Pettine continued to mine for ex-Jets DBs, also bringing in Trufant and Royce Adams (although Adams has subsequently been released). The diminutive Trufant was a core special teamer and useful role player in his four seasons with the Jets but will perhaps be best remembered for his game-tying touchdown in the 2011 season opener on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Josh Mauga, LB, Kansas City
Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has brought in several ex-Jets since being hired in Kansas City. Mauga was a key reserve and a good special teamer for the Jets, but missed all of last season with an injury.
Joe McKnight, RB/KR, Kansas City
Joining Mauga in Kansas is Joe McKnight, who suffered through injuries and illness during last year’s training camp and ended up missing the whole season. He’s currently on the PUP list as he makes his way back from an offseason knee surgery.
Austin Howard, G/T, Oakland
The Jets had hoped to bring back Howard, the starting right tackle for the past two seasons, but couldn’t match the Raiders’ $30m contract offer. Since signing Howard, the Raiders also added Donald Penn and are now expected to move Howard to guard. That should be one of the more interesting things to watch for this preseason.
Rahsaan Vaughn, WR, Oakland
Vaughn is in the mix for a receiver role with the Raiders, but probably a long-shot. He spent time on the Jets practice squad last season.
Robert Malone, P, Washington
Malone was released by the Jets after just two games last year and replaced by Ryan Quigley. He had an 84-yard punt on opening day, but otherwise struggled with his consistency.
Ben Kotwica, STC, Washington
No doubt integral to the signing of Malone was Kotwica being hired as the special teams coordinator. He’s the only coach on this year’s list.
Jake McDonough, DL, Washington
Washington signed McDonough last week and he has a realistic shot of making their roster as a rotational lineman. The Jets signed McDonough as an undrafted free agent last year, but released him with an injury waiver when he got hurt in camp. They almost re-signed him a few times since then and will be watching closely to see how he fares in Washington. McDonough spent time on the Colts’ active roster at the end of the 2013 season and played in the Arena League earlier this year.
Danny Lansanah, LB, Tampa Bay
Lansanah played well last year in preseason and ended up on the active roster for the Jets but was never activated and then ended up being released when the Jets needed a roster spot. He finally caught on with the Bucs and saw his first NFL action since the 2008 season. He’s back this year with a good chance at a rotational role.
Scott Solomon, DE/OLB, Tampa Bay
Solomon was a bit of a head-scratcher when the Jets picked him up in the post-cutdown mini-draft last year. He was released after a couple of games where he failed to impress on special teams. Solomon was in the middle of a conversion from DE to OLB so it will be interesting to see how the Bucs use him.
Lowell Rose, DB, San Diego
Rose, who signed a futures deal with the Jets at the end of the season, was released on the eve of training camp to make room for Jason Babin. However, he did find his way into an NFL camp when the Chargers picked him up last week.
Derek Dimke, K, New Orleans
Dimke is another kicker that Folk beat out last year. While he might seem a long-shot to beat out veteran Shayne Graham, he’s actually winning that competition according to recent reports.
Ryan Spadola, WR, Miami
After making it onto the roster following an impressive preseason, Spadola was released due to a roster squeeze and picked up by Miami last season with reports suggesting the Jets would have retained him but never got the option to. His chances of making their roster in 2014 took a hit when the Dolphins drafted two receivers including LSU’s Jarvis Landry.
Miguel Maysonet, RB, Pittsburgh
Maysonet, a local Stony Brook product, was on the Jets’ practice squad very briefly last season. He is going to try and find a job with the Steelers.
Vladimir Ducasse, G/T, Minnesota
Ducasse eventually signed with the Vikings after interest from the Bengals. He’s been working with the second unit in camp but did see some first team reps last week when the Vikings used one of their starting guards at center.
Mark Sanchez, QB, Philadelphia
Last but not least, Sanchez will compete with GJ Kinne and Matt Barkley for the backup quarterback role in Philadelphia. He’s expected to win it, but if he struggles, they might think twice about carrying his contract, which includes a $1.5m base salary and $1.75m playing time incentive. While Sanchez had his struggles at times with the Jets, we’ll be rooting for him to do well, because he seems a genuinely good guy.
This list is supposed to be exhaustive, but if you’re aware of anyone I missed, please let me know in the comments!