Another veteran bites the dust as purge continues
By Bob Lederer
The New York Jets continue their purge as they released veteran linebacker David Harris and plan to do the same with wide receiver Eric Decker.
The outrage gushing forth about the OTA release by the New York Jets of David Harris is justified, but I’ll let the beat reporters who are on-site and around the locker room deal with that angle on this story. Asking him to take a pay cut is par for the course in today’s game for the former tackling machine.
Week-by-week, we are reading evaluations by outsiders of the Jets‘ 2017 roster that are, at best, unenthusiastic and, at worst, humiliating. The procession of goodbyes to stars like Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold, on top of other professionals whose better years, have come and gone, leaves the unimpeachable look of a team in full rebuilding mold. The remaining question is what can we expect going forward?
Last week, the Jets bid adieu to Calvin Pryor; on Tuesday it was Harris’ turn to walk the plank, and the drip, drip, drip of disposed talent (often of yesteryear) isn’t over. Eric Decker, who has reportedly had a solid camp, is next on the chopping block. if I were Sheldon Richardson, I wouldn’t be sleeping well, either.
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About the only veteran who can feel completely at ease is quarterback Josh McCown, however, given his injury history, I wouldn’t bet on his prolonged presence in the lineup.
Will he lead the offense onto the field for Week 1 of the regular season? How about, on the outside, to the midway point of 2017, before a physical battering does him in?
A young, green squad will wear the Jets’ green and white in 2017. Mistakes will abound, but the most important task for head coach Todd Bowles and his staff will be finding assurances that they will not be repeated. The 2017 goal will be to identify players who belong on the field now and those with the requisite athletic skills and long-range potential – and separate them from fast, muscled and chiseled guys who fill out a uniform but can’t cut it at the professional level.
Fans will need to find ways to enjoy Jets’ football while tolerating the errors of omission and commission at MetLife Stadium in the upcoming season. It’s going to be extremely painful to watch in-person or on the tube. The rosy picture is that some of these players will become the nucleus of the hoped-for championship-caliber Jets of the 2020s. And there’s the pot at the end of this year’s rainbow, with USC’s Sam Darnold or Wyoming’s Josh Allen waiting to hear their name called in the 2018 NFL Draft.