NEW YORK — Tuesday was one of the most challenging days of the year for all 32 NFL teams.
Teams had until 4 p.m. ET to cut their roster to 53 players, including the Jets, who needed to release 27 players after Sunday’s preseason finale against the Giants.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh says the roster decisions between him and general manager Joe Douglas get more difficult every year.
“Tough 48 hours,” Saleh said. “Since the end of the Giants game, I mentioned how hard these next couple of days were.“They’re miserable because there are some that will never play again and there are a lot that you know deserve to be on a 53-man roster, but credit to the job Joe and his staff did with the roster that’s been built. We have a pretty cool 53.”
There weren’t a lot of surprise cuts for the Jets, but there were a few names that many didn’t expect to remain on their roster.
After requesting a trade last week, wide receiver Denzel Mims was one of the six receivers named to the 53-man roster. Gang Green instead waived Calvin Jackson, Tarik Black and Irvin Charles
Mims entered this year’s training camp on the roster bubble after a forgettable start to his career. However, the receiver remained healthy and had his best training camp in his two years as a pro. He finished the preseason leading the Jets with 12 receptions along with 170 yards and a touchdown.
Despite his trade request, Saleh said Mims remains on the roster because he’s one of the team’s best offensive weapons.
“I have a lot of respect for Denzel,” Saleh said. “It’s different when they don’t want to be here because they hate it here. Fine, take a hike. But Denzel is a respectful young man and I genuinely think he loves his teammates and the Jets organization.
“Is he frustrated? Yeah, I’m sure he is. It’s a lot easier to kick someone out on a trade if they’re jerks and that’s not Denzel and he’s a good young man.”
Another surprise who remained in green after the deadline was rookie running back Zonovan Knight. Knight joins defensive back Tony Adams as the only rookie undrafted free agents to make the team.
Initially, it was seen as a long shot for Knight to see his name on the final roster. However, his versatility made the decision to keep him an easy one. Not only can Knight provide carries in the backfield, but he can be used as a backup to Braxton Berrios as a kickoff returner.
After not being selected in the 2022 NFL draft, Knight says making it onto the 53-man roster is a dream come true.
“It means a lot,” Knight said. “Coming in, you know it’s going to be a lot of work, especially going into that running back room. I knew it was going to be a battle from the jump. It was just about coming in and grinding every day.”
With starting quarterback Zach Wilson still recovering from his meniscus trim and bone bruise, the Jets were certain to carry three quarterbacks on their roster. The question was would the team keep Mike White or preseason standout Chris Streveler on the main roster?
The Jets ultimately went with White, who started in three games last season while Wilson was hurt over Streveler. Despite Saleh saying Streveler had “one of the greatest preseason’s in the history of football,” the team waived the intent of bringing him back on the practice squad.
In three preseason games, Streveler became a cult hero among fans as he completed 72.7% of his passes for 277 yards with five touchdowns and a 124.6 passer rating while leading the Jets in rushing (71).
Streveler led the Jets to three comeback victories during the preseason, including Sunday’s 31-27 win over the Giants as he hit receiver Calvin Jackson for a game winner. Streveler seemingly did enough to prove he earned a roster spot, however, Douglas and Saleh turned elsewhere.
“It’s overall body of work,” Saleh said about the decision to waive Streveler. “He definitely performed and I won’t take that away from him.”
“When you look at Mike White from a year ago, OTAs, training camp, he had two rough games, but he had a really nice game against the Giants. Mike just has the overall body of work and understands what we are trying to get done.”
Jets cuts from Tuesday
Here’s who Gang Green cut to get to 53 players: CB Javelin Guidry, CB Rachad Wildgoose, CB Isaiah Dunn, DL Tanzel Smart, DL Bradlee Anae, DL Jabari Zuniga, DL Jonathan Marshall, FB Nick Bawden, LB Marcell Harris, LB Del’Shawn Phillips, LB Hamsah Nasirildeen, LB DQ Thomas, OL Conor McDermott, OL Ross Pierschbacher, OL Grant Hermanns, OL Chris Glaser, QB Chris Streveler, RB Tevin Coleman, RB La’Mical Perine, S Will Parks, S Jason Pinnock, T Chuma Edoga, TE Trevon Wesco, TE Kenny Yeboah, WR Tarik Black, WR Irvin Charles, WR Calvin Jackson
Zach Wilson still isn’t practicing
Twelve days before the Jets’ season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, the team’s starting quarterback is still waiting to return to practice.
During the media availability window of practice, Wilson was not seen participating with his other teammates. He was seen walking without a noticeable limp onto the field as the media left the practice area.
Although Saleh hasn’t officially named a starting quarterback for Week 1, Wilson will need to show coaches he has fully recovered from his meniscus trim and bone bruise before he starts again.
Saleh said Wilson would need just one week of practice before he feels comfortable starting him under center.
“There’s no timeline,” Saleh said regarding Wilson returning to practice. “We saw him walking around practice today, he is taking down all the information, he’s in every meeting, so as soon as he gets cleared by the doctors and he feels good, he will be out there.”