6 NY Jets players facing an uncertain future entering 2024

From key contributors to role players, these six players face uncertain futures entering the 2024 season
Haason Reddick
Haason Reddick / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Tyler Conklin, TE, NY Jets

Another key Jets contributor, another contract year. Tight end Tyler Conklin is one of the most overlooked players on the roster. Many fans were ready to throw him to the curb in the pre-draft process and Brock Bowers fever struck.

Conklin isn't a superstar, but he's a solid player who doesn't have a real glaring weakness. In 2023, he ranked 15th in yards per route run among qualified tight ends. He was second in total contested catches with 12, and third in contested catch rate a 66.7%. He only registered one drop all season.

All of that is with league-worst QB play and not much help from the wide receiver corps outside of Garrett Wilson. Tight ends also shoulder a lot of blocking responsibilities, and while Conklin isn't going to wow anyone, he's still about an average blocker in both the run and pass games.

Aaron Rodgers has a tendency to make even mediocre tight ends look better. It's more than reasonable to assume that Conklin can reach new heights with better QB play, especially with a QB like Rodgers who often targets his tight ends.

On the flip side, third-round pick Jeremy Ruckert seems like the heir apparent. While he hasn't produced much, he also hasn't gotten many opportunities in his two-year career to this point. A fan favorite and local kid from Long Island, Ruckert has the raw ability but has never gotten a chance to really flash it, both in college and the pros.

Potential is all well and good, but until Ruckert proves on the field that he's a starting-caliber tight end, one would believe that Conklin should be a priority for the Jets. That said, there's only so much money to go around and tight end is one of the less premium positions on the team.

5. Jamien Sherwood, LB, NY Jets

A fifth-round pick in 2021, Jamien Sherwood entered the league as an intriguing project. He was one of two safety-to-linebacker conversions the Jets drafted that year in hopes of bolstering the linebacker corps with more athletic players next to star linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Injuries robbed Sherwood of most of his rookie season, and in 2022 the Jets signed veteran linebacker Kwon Alexander to slide into the third linebacker role. The veteran Alexander was a revelation and played 49% of defensive snaps, an impressive number given the heavy reliance on nickel personnel in the league today.

After the 2022 season, it seemed that the door was open for Sherwood to seize the opportunity and become a pseudo-starter, taking up the snaps that Alexander's departure would bring.

That ended up not being the case, however. The Auburn product only played 17% of defensive snaps in 2023 while also serving as a core special teamer. Instead, the Jets opted to play a lot more three-safety looks where former third-round pick safety Ashtyn Davis shined.

Davis was re-signed this offseason along with veteran safety Chuck Clark who missed the 2023 season due to a torn ACL. Clark also has experience playing in a linebacker-esque role from his time with the Baltimore Ravens.

This raises a couple of questions. Why did the Jets pivot from a healthy dose of three linebacker looks to three safety looks after Alexanders' departure? And what role did their confidence in Sherwood play in making that decision?

The Jets still seem high on Sherwood though, and on film and by the numbers he played well last season in his limited action. Sherwood posted a missed tackle rate of just 5.7% while tallying 24 solo tackles and contributing a whopping 10 stops (plays that are defined as a failure for the offense) as per Pro Football Focus.

In the last year of his contract, the Jets need to make a decision on Sherwood. They also need to look to the future considering C.J. Mosley's age. Sherwood wouldn't cost a ton, but the dichotomy between what the Jets say about Sherwood and how they've used him thus far leads to some uncertainty about his future.