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NY Jets activate Jabari Zuniga, designate Patrick Onwuasor to return from IR

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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The NY Jets activated Jabari Zuniga and designated Patrick Onwuasor to return from IR.

The NY Jets are set to return another member of their 2020 NFL Draft class this week with third-round pick Jabari Zuniga expected to make his debut on Sunday.

The Jets officially announced that they had activated Zuniga off injured reserve amidst a flurry of roster moves on Wednesday. The return of their rookie pass-rusher, however, is probably the most notable.

The team also announced that they had designated linebacker Patrick Onwuasor to return from IR, reinstated wide receiver Lawrence Cager from the practice squad IR, and that they had released quarterback David Fales from the practice squad.

It was a busy day for Gang Green.

Zuniga missed all of training camp with a quadriceps injury and was subsequently placed on IR at the start of the regular season. He would go on to miss the first seven weeks of the season before being activated ahead of Week 8.

The Jets will be hoping for big things from Zuniga who will join a thin crop of edge defenders. Former undrafted free agent Kyle Phillips was officially placed on IR on Wednesday to make room for Zuniga on the active roster.

Expect Zuniga to be the primary player to assume Phillips’ role in the defense. Phillips was playing near 40 percent of defensive snaps in a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role — a role Zuniga could fill quite well.

Look for the rookie to make his NFL debut this Sunday and immediately receive substantial playing time.

The NY Jets also made a few other moves on Wednesday.

As for Onwuasor, the former Baltimore Ravens linebacker was signed as a free agent this past offseason and many dubbed him a potential sleeper contributor on defense this year.

Unfortunately, a knee injury held him out for much of training camp and forced him to the sidelines for the first seven weeks of the season. The Jets will now have three weeks to activate him before he reverts to IR for the rest of the season.

Onwuasor will have to be activated before the Jets’ Week 11 game against the Los Angeles Chargers or else he will be done for the season. He can be activated any time before then — theoretically as soon as this week.

The return of Cager could also mean that the undrafted standout could see time on the active roster at some point again this season. Cager injured his hamstring back in Week 4 and was subsequently placed on practice squad IR.

The Jets returned a few receivers in his absence making it unlikely that he’s promoted anytime soon, but the option is there.

And finally, the release of Fales solidifies fourth-round pick James Morgan as the de-facto No. 4 quarterback with Mike White now the only QB on the practice squad.

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But of all these moves, the most significant is undoubtedly the return of third-round pick Jabari Zuniga.

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