These three NY Jets veterans could lose their roster spots this summer.
The NY Jets experienced plenty of roster upheaval in the offseason. General manager Joe Douglas did his best to ensure that the roster that represented the disappointing 2019 version of the Jets looked like a distant memory going into 2020.
And now that the dust has settled, the Jets are set to look very different this season.
The upheaval has taken place, the roster has been turned over, and the Jets have their sites set on what promises to be a season like no other in 2020. But is the upheaval really done yet?
The Jets’ roster still has just shy of 90 players on it at the time of writing. And seeing as though only 53 players will be on said roster come September, it’s clear that there are plenty more cuts to come.
Not to mention reports surfacing that NFL teams are likely to enter training camp with as little as 75 players on the roster. Cuts are going to have to be made — some of which will come at the expense of a few veterans on the roster.
After all, they can’t all be undrafted rookies and young players.
But which established veterans could be fighting for their roster spots this summer? We take a look at three veterans on the Jets’ roster who could be out of a job by the start of the season.
Next: 3. Josh Doctson
3. Josh Doctson, WR, NY Jets
Josh Docston‘s career is hanging on by a thread at the moment after a failed tenure in Washington and an insignificant stint with the Minnesota Vikings. And now, he’ll be given one final chance to salvage his career with the Jets.
Doctson never lived up to expectations in Washington battling through injuries and inconsistencies in his three years with the organization.
And after declining his fifth-year option, the team didn’t even allow him an opportunity to play out his rookie contract releasing him just prior to the start of the 2019 season.
The Vikings picked him up off waivers looking to salvage what was once a very promising career, but the former first-rounder lasted just one game in Minnesota failing to record any statistics before being released again.
He remained out of work until this February when he signed with the Jets in a last-ditch effort to save his career. Unfortunately, despite an incredibly thin wide receiver corps, nothing is guaranteed for him at this point.
His inability to play special teams and his lengthy injury history will be working against him, and if Doctson can’t show enough promise to convince the Jets to keep him around, his NFL career might just be over.
It’s now or never for Josh Doctson.
Next: 2. Avery Williamson
2. Avery Williamson, LB, NY Jets
Avery Williamson was an important part of the Jets’ defense in 2018 putting together arguably the best season of his career in his first year with Gang Green. And going into 2019, hopes were high for the Jets’ linebacker corps.
Williamson was expected to be paired with superstar free-agent signing C.J. Mosley to create one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL. Unfortunately, neither player really got a chance to make good on that promise.
In Williamson’s case, a torn ACL suffered in the third preseason game ended his season before it ever even started. And in his place, players like Neville Hewitt, James Burgess, and Blake Cashman performed admirably.
Going into 2020, Williamson will have to prove that he’s healthy enough to earn a roster spot. If fully healthy, there’s no argument that Williamson isn’t the superior option over anyone else on the roster, excluding Mosley.
But ACL injuries can be tricky and given the wacky nature of this offseason, who knows how Williamson’s rehab process has gone. If the 28-year-old looks like he’s lost a step or two, the Jets won’t hesitate to move on knowing they have adequate depth behind him.
Of course, the $6.5 million they would save by cutting him is certainly a primary motivator as well.
Williamson will be fighting for his roster spot this summer. And if he can’t prove that he’s fully recovered from his injury, the Jets are likely to part ways with the fan-favorite linebacker.
Next: 1. Brian Winters
1. Brian Winters, OG, NY Jets
Much like Williamson, Brian Winters could be a late-summer cap casualty if he can’t convince the Jets to keep him in training camp.
Believe it or not, Winters is now the longest-tenured member of the roster following the departures of guys like Bilal Powell and Rontez Miles. A third-round pick back in 2013, it’s safe to say that Winters has done quite well for himself in the NFL.
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While never really a consistently above-average player, Winters has been a reliable starter for the better part of his career. Unfortunately, injuries have caught up to him and now it seems as though he’s either on the shelf or playing through an injury.
The writing is on the wall for his departure. In fact, it’s mildly surprising he’s still on the roster right now.
Many expected Winters to be cut in the offseason, especially following the signing of free-agent guard Greg Van Roten. But the Jets clearly like Winters as quality depth and he’ll be competing with Van Roten for the starting right guard gig in the summer.
But if the Jets need cash or simply don’t feel as though Winters is worth the money he’s getting paid, they won’t hesitate to cut him. Winters is set to make around $7.3 million in 2020, although none of it is guaranteed meaning the Jets could cut him with no dead cap penalty.
It’s not a decision they’ll make unless they feel they have to. Either way though, Winters’ spot on the 2020 roster is far from guaranteed.