5 veterans who won't make the NY Jets' Week 1 roster

These Jets veterans are fighting an uphill battle this summer
Tanzel Smart
Tanzel Smart / Jonathan Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have one of the youngest cores in the NFL. While their average age is inflated by veterans like Aaron Rodgers, Tyron Smith, and their specialists, the majority of the foundational players on the roster are relatively young.

Players like Sauce Gardner, Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson, Quinnen Williams, Quincy Williams, D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II, etc. are all 27 years old or younger. That's typically a good thing for NFL teams hoping to find sustained success.

The Jets continued their youth movement this offseason, adding a number of new players in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, that could be bad news for a host of veterans on the bottom of the roster.

Let's take a look at five notable (and not-so-notable) veterans who likely won't make the Jets' 53-man roster this summer.

5. Jalyn Holmes, DL, NY Jets

The Jets said goodbye to Bryce Huff and John Franklin-Myers this offseason, but the team still possesses one of the most talented and deepest defensive line rooms in the NFL. That's bad news for a player like Jalyn Holmes.

A fourth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2018, Holmes signed with the Jets last August and spent the 2023 season rotating between the team's practice squad and the active roster.

In total, Holmes appeared in five games, recording one sack and five total tackles on 81 defensive snaps. He fills a similar role to Franklin-Myers as a tweener defensive end/tackle, but he has a lot of names ahead of him on the depth chart.

Holmes's best bet is to hopefully find a spot on the Jets' practice squad, but at 28 years old, the team might prefer younger options. He's a long shot to make the 53-man roster.

4. Austin Seibert, K, NY Jets

The Jets signed veteran kicker Austin Seibert in September of last year following an injury to Greg Zuerlein. Seibert would go on to be the Jets' kicker for Week 2, making his only field goal and extra-point attempts, before Zuerlein returned the following week.

Seibert was re-signed to the Jets' practice squad in late December and somewhat surprisingly signed to a futures deal upon the conclusion of the season. Perhaps this was done as an insurance policy with Zuerlein set to be a free agent in the offseason.

Whatever the case, Zuerlein did re-sign, leaving Seibert as the odd man out. The former Cleveland Browns fifth-round pick is still a member of the Jets' roster at the time of writing, but barring injury, he's not going to make the 53-man roster.

Maybe the Jets opt to keep him around as insurance behind Zuerlein, but his hopes of beating out the talented veteran coming off a career year are slim to none.

3. Tanzel Smart, DT, NY Jets

Everyone's favorite "Hard Knocks" star, Tanzel Smart is somewhat surprisingly entering his fourth year with the Jets in 2024. He's spent the majority of that time on the team's practice squad with occasional opportunities sprinkled in.

Smart played in four games with the Jets in 2024, his most since his Los Angeles Rams stint in 2019, although he only managed two tackles on 63 defensive snaps.

It's hard to imagine a scenario in which the beloved Smart makes the Jets' 53-man roster, with the likes of Quinnen Williams, Javon Kinlaw, Solomon Thomas, and Leki Fotu all ahead of him on the defensive tackle depth chart.

The Jets value Smart as a locker room leader which could help his case to return to the practice squad, but barring injury, he's not going to have a spot on the 53-man roster.

2. Max Mitchell, OT, NY Jets

Of all the players on this list, Max Mitchell definitely has the best chance to stick around on the 53-man roster. His versatility as both a tackle and guard is helping his case, but he'll still have to earn a spot this summer.

A fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Mitchell performed admirably in a spot-starter role as a rookie, but his performance in 2023 left a lot to be desired. Mitchell finished with an abysmal 49.3 Pro Football Focus grade, allowing six sacks and 30 pressures on 336 pass-block snaps.

He enters the summer as the Jets' 10th offensive lineman and their third backup tackle behind rookie Olu Fashanu and Carter Warren. That could mean he's the odd man out, especially if the Jets decide to only carry nine offensive linemen.

Mitchell does have the ability to play guard, which he showcased last season, but he's desperately in need of a bounce-back summer to solidify his place. Right now, his roster status is anything but secure.

1. Takkarist McKinley, DE, NY Jets

The Jets signed former first-round pick Takkarist McKinley last month following a successful workout during the team's mandatory minicamp. The former UCLA star has an impressive pedigree, but he's little more than an offseason flier.

McKinley is the highest-profile player on this list, having spent four seasons in Atlanta as one of the team's top pass rushers. He recorded 13 sacks over his first two seasons in the NFL but has managed just seven more since 2019. He was out of football entirely last year.

The Jets are kicking the tires on McKinley and his ties to defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich certainly don't help, but it's going to be tough to crack a spot in a loaded defensive line room.

There's an outside chance McKinley does enough to earn a roster spot this summer, but he's fighting an uphill battle. I definitely wouldn't put money on him making the 53-man roster.