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New York Jets: 5 players who won’t be on the team in 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 07: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Denver Broncos in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 07: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Denver Broncos in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 07: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Denver Broncos in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 07: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Denver Broncos in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

With the NFL’s re-signing period fast-approaching, it’s unlikely that these five players will be back with the New York Jets in 2019.

The NFL is an ever-changing landscape of constant roster turnover. The 53 men that make up an NFL roster one year may be completely unrecognizable from the 53 men that make up the roster the following year. That’s just the reality of the business.

This offseason, the New York Jets will undoubtedly be reshaping a sizable portion of their roster with nearly 30 players set to hit unrestricted free agency. In fact, out of every NFL team, the Jets have the least players currently under contract making it even more likely that fans will be seeing new faces come 2019.

Some of the following players are unlikely to return in 2019 because they underperformed in 2018 while others are just aging veterans on a young, rebuilding roster. Some may be a combination of the two.

Either way, it’s highly unlikely that any of these players re-sign with the Jets for the 2019 season. With that, let’s take a look at five key players that should be departing the team ahead of next season.

ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: James Carpenter #77 of the New York Jets during the first half against the Buffalo Bills on September 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York.(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: James Carpenter #77 of the New York Jets during the first half against the Buffalo Bills on September 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York.(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

5. LG James Carpenter

James Carpenter has served as the Jets starting left guard for the past four seasons now but his time with the green and white appears all but over. The Jets originally signed Carpenter ahead of the 2015 season and he quietly turned his career around with the team.

After spending four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Carpenter was outcast as a first-round bust as Seattle didn’t even feel it was worth it to pick up his fifth-year option. Fast forward and two years later he was fresh off of two solid campaigns as one of the most consistent pieces on a deteriorating Jets offensive line.

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Still, in 2018 it was clear that his best days were behind him. Carpenter struggled to keep up as the Jets returned to a zone blocking scheme in 2017, a scheme that he never truly fit. Carpenter’s play slowly deteriorated over the past two seasons before a late-November shoulder injury ended his season early.

The Jets will be looking to revamp their interior offensive line in the offseason and it would be stunning to see the team try and bring back Carpenter. Given his age and deteriorating abilities, it’s more likely that Carpenter has seen his last days with the team.

But credit to Carpenter who managed to turn his career around and put together a solid four-year stretch with the Jets. It’s never too late to change perception.

Next: 4. Jermaine Kearse

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – DECEMBER 23: Jermaine Kearse #10 of the New York Jets reacts against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on December 23, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – DECEMBER 23: Jermaine Kearse #10 of the New York Jets reacts against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on December 23, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

4. WR Jermaine Kearse

After a career-year in 2017 in which he brought in 65 receptions for 810 yards and five touchdowns, all career highs, expectations were certainly high for Jermaine Kearse in 2018. Unfortunately, Kearse failed to live up to those expectations putting together his worst statistical year since 2013.

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The Jets acquired Kearse as a part of the trade that sent troubled defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson over to the Seattle Seahawks just before the 2017 season. At the time, Kearse was expected to provide a veteran presence to a Jets wide receiver core that was relatively unproven. Although he did so in 2017, his play the next season left much to be desired.

Kearse hauled in just 37 receptions for 371 yards and one touchdown as the former Seahawk struggled to get much going with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. Despite receiving a whopping 76 targets, the third-highest in his NFL career, Kearse caught under 50% of balls thrown his way turning in incredibly low efficiency ratings.

Given his age, 29, and disappointing play, the Jets will likely go in a different direction in 2019 as they look to build a young core of receivers. Free agency and the draft are both viable options to sign Kearse’s potential replacement.

Either way, don’t expect to see him back with the Jets in 2019.

Next: 3. Steve McLendon

3. NT Steve McLendon

Steve McLendon has been one of the more underappreciated vocal leaders of the Jets for a few years now. It speaks volumes that a seemingly low-profile player such as McLendon was chosen as one of the Jets five captains for the 2018 season and his on-field leadership is chief among the reasons why.

But much like the others on this list, his time with the Jets appears to be over.

McLendon initially joined the Jets as an under-the-radar free agent signing in late March of 2016. Since then, the former Pittsburgh Steeler has served as the team’s starting nose tackle for three seasons plugging up holes in the run game regularly.

While he never offered much versatility, McLendon has been a very efficient run stopper over the past three years. Although he struggled in his first season with the team earning a lowly Pro Football Focus grade of 49.5, McLendon’s next two seasons graded out very well with 83.3 and 78.5 grades respectively.

That being said, big No. 99 will be 33-years-old in 2019 and it’s unlikely the Jets bring him back as they’ll likely look to get younger at the position. With the team staying in a 3-4 defense, there’s a chance they could look to re-sign him on a bargain deal but it’s probably more likely they part ways at this point.

His production may not be too hard to fill, but his leadership may prove to be difficult to replicate.

Next: 2. Bilal Powell

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – SEPTEMBER 16: Running back Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter during the first half at MetLife Stadium on September 16, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – SEPTEMBER 16: Running back Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter during the first half at MetLife Stadium on September 16, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

2. RB Bilal Powell

Bilal Powell has had quite the storied career with the Jets. Originally entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2011, it wasn’t until his second NFL season that Powell was able to crack the backfield rotation.

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Though he was never counted on as a true feature back, Powell managed to total 3,446 career rushing yards with just under 100 games played with the team. Amazingly, despite only officially starting 37 games in his career, that number ranks 10th all-time for the Jets.

On top of that, Powell has been incredibly efficient with his touches. The Louisville product’s 4.4 yards per carry is the second highest mark in Jets history with a minimum of 600 career carries behind the great Freeman McNeil. That’s ahead of Jets legends such as Curtis Martin, Emerson Boozer, and Matt Snell.

Despite this, Powell will turn 31-years-old in October and the Jets will almost certainly look to go in a different direction at running back. The team will look to free agency (hello Le’Veon Bell) and/or the draft to reshape their backfield in 2019.

Powell’s legacy with the Jets will supersede any distress caused by his inevitable departure from the team. While this may indeed be the end, Jets fans will remember Powell fondly and his time with the team will forever be cherished.

Next: 1. Buster Skrine

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Buster Skrine #41 of the New York Jets breaks up a pass intended for Chris Hogan #15 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Buster Skrine #41 of the New York Jets breaks up a pass intended for Chris Hogan #15 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

1. CB Buster Skrine

Buster Skrine is currently one of the few surviving members of former head coach Todd Bowles‘ first defensive unit in 2015. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that that’ll be true for much longer.

Skrine joined the Jets ahead of the 2015 season as a free agent from the Cleveland Browns. His first couple seasons in the green and white weren’t too bad as the Jets were able to mask his weaknesses and make good use of his strengths. But coaching can only overcome deteriorating play for so long.

The Chattanooga product has been one of the Jets most penalized players over the past couple seasons and his overaggressive nature has oftentimes left him exposed in coverage. Skrine’s 2018 Pro Football Focus grade perfectly summed this up as the undersized slot corner received a poor 57.3 rating, grading out as the 103rd best cornerback in the NFL.

It’s likely that the Jets will opt to find a replacement for Skrine this offseason as his age — he will be 30-years-old in April — and lackluster play doesn’t make a good case for his return. The Jets could look to replace his starting nickel position with an in-house talent such as the raw, but promising Parry Nickerson or via free agency.

Regardless, it’s clear that Skrine has been playing on borrowed time with the Jets. In all honesty, it’s surprising that he’s made it this long.

Next. Re-sign or decline EVERY 2019 Jets free agent

Still, four seasons with one NFL franchise is nothing to scoff at, even if those seasons were filled with inconsistent play.

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