NY Jets’ rookie Braden Mann has essentially already won the punter job.
The Jets officially announced the signing of quarterback Joe Flacco on Wednesday and in a corresponding move, they released punter Ian Berryman leaving Mann as the only one at his position left on the roster.
Berryman was signed to a reserve/future contract by the Jets back in December and was the only punter on the roster throughout much of the offseason. But the selection of Mann in the sixth-round likely ended his chances of making the team.
A four-year starter at Western Carolina, Berryman was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent last offseason but failed to beat out the incumbent Jordan Berry in the preseason.
Now, he’ll be searching for a new team to call home.
For the NY Jets, it’s officially Braden Mann season.
The Jets used their final pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to select the powerhouse punter from Texas A&M with the hope of upgrading from the consistent, but underwhelming Lachlan Edwards.
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A unanimous All-American and Ray Guy Award recipient in 2018, Mann was the most coveted punter prospect in this year’s draft class and he comes to the Jets with a big leg and even bigger potential.
Mann was expected to compete with Berryman in a preseason roster battle that would certainly be swayed in his favor. But now, it looks like he’ll be running unopposed.
While Mann would have certainly been the favorite to win the job coming out of camp, it’s not completely unheard of for a team to cut a specialist they drafted before that player even played for them.
Back in 2014, the Washington Redskins released seventh-round pick Zach Hocker after he was beaten out in the preseason by veteran Kai Forbath. In that same draft, the Detroit Lions released kicker Nate Freese after just seven attempted kicks.
And even this past summer, the Minnesota Vikings traded a fifth-round pick for future Jets kicker Kaare Vedvik only to release him before the season started.
But the Jets are evidently high on Mann and they hope that he could be the team’s punter for the next decade-plus. And barring the unexpected signing of another punter, he should have the punter job all but locked up.
It’s Braden Mann season, folks.