NEW YORK — Reality set in for Denzel Mims around 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
That’s when all 32 NFL teams had to set their rosters to 53 players and the unhappy wide receiver was still a member of the Jets.
Last week, Mims and his agent Ron Slavin requested a trade because of a lack of opportunities with the starting offensive unit. A day after finding out he was not going to be traded, Mims said he was frustrated with the situation.
“It’s really nothing that I can control,” Mims said. “I just need to continue to come out and work hard and do whatever I can do to get on the field.
“Of course I’m going to be frustrated that I’m not playing with the starters. I just have to continue to work.”
After two less than impressive seasons in the league after being drafted in the second round out of Baylor in 2020, Mims looked like a different player this summer.
Although he didn’t receive any opportunities with the first-team offense during training camp or the preseason, Mims impressed coaches and his teammates. That continued throughout the preseason when he led the Jets with 12 receptions for 170 yards and a touchdown.
After Mims and his agent made the public trade request, the Jets received calls from multiple teams, but nothing materialized, according to general manager Joe Douglas.
“Denzel is very confident and he feels like he should be a starter,” Douglas said. “Ultimately, we want a team full of guys that feel like they should be number one guys.
“Denzel loves the Jets, Denzel is a great person and a great competitor. It wasn’t him wanting to be somewhere else, it was him wanting to play.”
Now Mims will have to compete for opportunities in a wide receiver room that looks a lot different than a year before. Not only do the Jets have Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios returning, but the team drafted Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall pick in April’s draft.
Also, Jeff Smith will likely receive opportunities in multiple receiver sets as well as special teams. Because of that, Mims told reporters he expects to be inactive for Week 1′s game against the Baltimore Ravens as only 46 players can dress for each game.
“I feel like they made their minds up mostly,” Mims said. “But, I feel like I can change their mind on that. I feel like I’ve been doing that, but their minds are pretty made up though.”
For now, Mims says he is just going to go about his business and play as hard as he can with the hopes of changing the minds of the Jets’ coaching staff about his depth chart position.
“That’s tough not being out there with the ones and not being able to show it,” Mims said. “I’m going to continue to try to do it at practice though, and do everything that I can to show them that I can play and I can be with the ones. I feel like I deserve to be with the ones.”