Reserve/Future contracts of Jets will add to the talent pool
By Paul Newbold
Make no mistake about it, the future/reserve contracted players of the New York Jets will undoubtedly add good talent to the roster.
At this time of year, fans of the New York Jets are focused on free agency and are looking ahead to the 2017 NFL Draft. There is another source of talent that often goes unheralded during the offseason. The reserve/future contracts are that source and may add to the talent pool for the Jets going into 2017.
Back in January, general manager Mike Maccagnan and the front office signed eleven players to reserve/future contracts. The annual signings often don’t come to more than camp fodder, but there have also been players that hung around the roster and into the season. The Jets are looking to upgrade their talent pool, so some of these players might make a push for a spot.
Frank Beltre is an outside linebacker signed by the Jets early in January. Beltre went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft and was subsequently signed by the Los Angeles Chargers. He was cut by the Chargers in the same year and spent a short stint with the Oakland Raiders. Beltre then spent three years north of the border playing with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. Beltre comes to the team standing 6’2″ and weighing in at 250 pounds. He has experience playing in New Jersey as well, having played his high school football at Randolph High.
Julian Howsare also was signed to future/reserve deal this January. Howsare’s name will be recognized by many Jets fans, as he spent time with the team in 2016. Howsare is a fullback taken by the Jets as an undrafted free agent, and who bounced on and off the practice squad last season. Howsare also spent time on the Seattle Seahawk practice squad in 2016. He comes to the Jets standing 6’3″ and tipping the scales at 255 pounds. The Jets are looking for a fullback after not employing one last season, so Howsare will get his shot this summer.
Myles White is a wide receiver who formerly played for both the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. Myles comes to the Jets with three years in the NFL, and hopes of joining a young receiving corps. He measures out at 6’0″ and weighs 190 pounds. His best season to date was with the Giants in 2015 when he appeared in 12 games, caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. He spent 2016 bouncing on and off the Jets practice squad. While Myles may not be a top NFL receiver at this point, he does bring experience to a young Jets receiving corps and is only 26 years old himself. He’s one to keep an eye on this summer.
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Deshon Foxx is another young wide receiver the team brought in to compete this summer. Foxx broke into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015, signing with the Seattle Seahawks. Foxx was again on Seattle’s practice squad in 2016, until they released him with an injury settlement.
Foxx has yet to appear in an NFL game, he measures in at 5’10/177 pounds. Foxx is only 24 years old and has experience as a returner from his college days at the University of Connecticut. He may hold value on special teams, and certainly, will be given an opportunity returning in camp this summer.
Jason Vander Laan is another name Jets fans may recognize. Laan is a former collegiate quarterback out of Ferris State. The team took him following the 2016 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent as he was training himself to convert to the tight end position. Laan spent the 2016 season on the Jets practice squad and returns with hopes of breaking onto the 53 man roster this fall. Laan measures out at 6’4″ and weighs 244 pounds, he’ll turn 25 during the 2017 season.
Chris Swain is a fullback taken after last year’s draft by the San Diego Chargers. Swain stands 6’0″ and weighs 249 pounds and played his college ball for the Naval Academy. Swain was signed to the Jets practice squad last season, and returns to compete for an open fullback spot on the team’s roster.
While this is not a complete list, the Jets were busy searching for talent in the month of January. In addition to the players mentioned here, the Jets also signed defensive end Kenny Anunike, long snapper Zach Triner, defensive lineman Claude Pelon, wide receiver Darius Jennings and kicker Ross Martin.
These aren’t exactly household names and many of them will never see a snap in a regular season game for the Jets. They are professional football players however, and they will come in this season ready to compete. They will attempt to push players on the depth chart ahead of them, and possibly overtake them.
Next: Jets are better off now than last offseason
They are young inexperienced players Jet fans may want to watch as the competitions begin. The Jets are in need of talent, and these types of contracts may add a bit to the talent pool heading into 2017. Stay tuned.