NY Jets release forgotten 2023 hero following recent arrest

The Jets are down a cornerback
Tae Hayes
Tae Hayes / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets officially announced that they had released cornerback Tae Hayes on Monday. This news comes one day after reports surfaced that Hayes had been arrested in his home state of Alabama and charged with marijuana possession, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Hayes was subsequently released on a $300 bond and the Jets declined to comment on the situation, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. Now, one day later, he's been released by the Jets.

An undrafted free agent in 2019, Hayes has had stints with a whopping 10 different NFL teams over the last five years, appearing in just 14 regular-season games. One of those games came as a member of the Jets last season.

Hayes was signed to the Jets' practice squad in early October following a slew of injuries to the team's cornerbacks. Under two weeks later, Hayes was playing an important role in the Jets' shocking upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6.

The NY Jets said goodbye to a forgotten hero on Monday

Hayes, alongside fellow practice squad cornerback Craig James, was elevated to the active roster following injuries to Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Brandin Echols.

James earned the start and put together an outstanding performance. Hayes played 13 defensive snaps and an additional 10 special-teams snaps, receiving significant praise for his last-minute performance after the game.

In reality, Hayes struggled, allowing three catches on three targets for 54 yards. He received a lowly 34.2 Pro Football Focus grade for his Week 6 performance, but that doesn't tell the full story.

Hayes went from a midseason practice-squad pickup to a key defensive contributor in just 12 days. He and James stepped up and played important roles in one of the Jets' biggest wins of the 2023 season.

Hayes did not appear in another game for the Jets in 2023, instead reverting to the practice squad and signing a futures deal with the team in January. His release doesn't come as much of a surprise, though, seeing as he was considered a longshot to make the 53-man roster.

The Jets' cornerback room is likely the deepest and most talented in the NFL. Hayes never stood a chance of earning a spot on the active roster. His best hope was to return to the practice squad, but seeing as he turns 27 years old in August, the Jets are likely looking for younger options.

His untimely arrest unfortunately accelerated what was the likely outcome. But Jets fans will always remember Hayes' "fearless" performance in an unassuming Week 6 game last season.