The NY Jets' roster has undergone immense turnover over the last 3-4 years with general manager Joe Douglas tearing down the old regime's team and building a new squad from scratch.
There have been few holdovers from the Mike Maccagnan era and only a handful remain with the Jets to this day. One of whom, defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, has probably been with the organization longer than most realize.
Shepherd re-signed with the Jets this past offseason and is set to enter his fifth season with the organization. And as it turns out, he reportedly turned down a better offer to re-sign with the team.
ESPN's Rich Cimini reported on Sunday that Shepherd turned down a contract that would have paid him an extra $150,000, instead choosing to re-sign with the Jets on a one-year, $1.1 million contract.
That may not sound like much, but as Cimini notes, it's all relative. That $150,000 is 14 percent of the contract he signed with the Jets. Shepherd turned down a significant pay raise.
Nathan Shepherd was loyal to the NY Jets this offseason
A third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Shepherd has primarily been a rotational defensive lineman throughout his career. He started off as more of a 3-4 defensive end before transitioning into a defensive tackle role after the Jets' switched to a 4-3.
Somewhat amazingly, Shepherd is the second-longest-tenured player on the Jets' roster following the departure of Marcus Maye this offseason. Only long snapper Thomas Hennessey, acquired via trade in 2017, has been with the team longer.
That's some remarkable longevity for a player who has played more than 40 percent of defensive snaps in a season just once in his career. That season did come this past year, however.
Shepherd has actually seen his playing time increase over the years as he was on the field for a career-high 42 percent of defensive snaps in 2021. The results, though, weren't exactly stellar as the 28-year-old became better known for his propensity for penalties as opposed to anything else.
Still, Shepherd does seem primed for a significant role again this season as one of the Jets' only true one-technique defensive tackles. There's a reason the Jets re-signed him, after all.
Nathan Shepherd has remained loyal to the Jets throughout his career, and to this point, the Jets have returned the favor.