The NY Jets go into the 2022 season boasting the most talented and deepest roster they've had in years, and as a result, they may be forced to make some difficult decisions come this summer.
ESPN's Rich Cimini recently took a stab at projecting what the Jets' 53-man roster could look like in September, and once you attempt the exercise, you realize just how difficult the roster cutdown process might be.
Cimini had a few notable players missing the cut, but perhaps the most surprising was defensive end Bryce Huff. Huff was left on the outside looking in, alongside veteran Vinny Curry, as the Jets' only kept nine defensive linemen in Cimini's projection.
Other notable omissions included safety Jason Pinnock and cornerback Isaiah Dunn, but Huff's absence is probably the most surprising.
Is Bryce Huff really on the NY Jets roster bubble this summer?
Signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jets made Huff their most high-profile UDFA signing when they handed him a sizable amount of guaranteed money.
He rewarded them for their efforts and was the only undrafted free agent to make the Jets' 53-man roster. In the two years since, Huff has served an important role as a rotational pass rusher, and it's safe to say that his best football may still be ahead of him.
Huff only has four sacks over his first two seasons, but the advanced metrics love him. The former Memphis standout recorded a pass-rush win rate of 22 percent as a rookie — a borderline top-10 figure had he played enough snaps to quality.
That success carried over into 2021 when Huff was among the league leaders in both pass-rush win rate and run-stop win rate before a back injury landed him on the injured reserve.
Is win rate everything? Absolutely not. In fact, you could quite easily point to several glaring flaws with the metric. Nonetheless, Huff was still a more productive pass rusher than most probably realize. He finished with a total of eight QB hits in just nine games last season.
He's a good player. Unfortunately, as Cimini notes, he could just become a victim of the numbers games.
Cimini had the Jets keeping Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson, Sheldon Rankins, Jacob Martin, Solomon Thomas, Nathan Shepherd, and Micheal Clemons. It's hard to imagine any of those players missing the cut.
Sure, the Jets could always cut down other positions. Maybe they don't need to carry a fullback (Nick Bawden) as Cimini has them doing. Maybe a player like Denzel Mims doesn't survive roster cuts and the Jets keep only five wide receivers.
Of course, injuries will happen too, and those injuries could ultimately make these decisions easier. There are other ways around it, but right now, Bryce Huff is definitely someone fighting for a roster spot