4 NY Jets players who could get cut after 2023 NFL Draft
By Justin Fried
1. Jordan Whitehead, S, NY Jets
Ashtyn Davis isn't the only Jets safety whose roster status could be in jeopardy after the 2023 NFL Draft. The addition of Chuck Clark was a savvy one, and it's impossible to argue the value the Jets got in that trade.
However, it is fair to question his fit alongside Whitehead in the Jets' defense. Both Clark and Whitehead are at their best near the line of scrimmage as prototypical box safeties.
Clark is an excellent tackler and likely an above-average starting strong safety. That's kind of what the Jets hoped they would get from Whitehead last season. Unfortunately, Whitehead's first year in New York was a bit of a disappointment.
Among safeties to play at least 1,000 total snaps, Whitehead's 15.6 percent missed tackle rate was tied for fourth-worst in the NFL. Compare that to Clark, who missed just 6.4 percent of his tackles — one of the best rates in the league.
The Jets seem to hope that Whitehead will be better in his second year in the scheme, and the safe bet is to assume he is a Week 1 starter in 2023, but it's not a lock.
Say the Jets are really high on someone like Brian Branch and target him in the first round, perhaps as part of a trade-down. Releasing Whitehead would save the Jets $7.25 million in cap space. That's some serious savings.
If the Jets land a safety they feel comfortable starting on day one, it's very feasible that they could move on from Whitehead after the draft.
I'd bet on Whitehead and Clark being the Jets' starting safeties come Week 1, but it's not out of the question that the former could be released if the team finds a suitable replacement.