Tuesday was cutdown day in the NFL for all 32 teams.
By 4 p.m., teams had to trim their rosters from 90 players to 53, with the regular season beginning next week.
This year, the NFL only had one cutdown day after the preseason. Last season, there were two cuts that allowed teams to gradually get their rosters down to 53 players.
Despite being in his third season as the Jets coach, Robert Saleh said this day never gets easier.
“It’s always difficult,” Saleh said. “Whether you think a young man is quality or not. I will say this, there’s way fewer guys that you’re looking in the eye, knowing that it’s over for them.
“I just felt like every guy that I’ve spoken to, I just know they’re going to be on a roster somewhere, someone’s practice squad, either ours or someone else’s. Their career is not over and it’s really cool because we’ve worked hard and brought in really cool young men and they’ve represented the right way.”
With the Jets’ high expectations, only a few notable names were released on Tuesday. Among the most significant was a running back and quarterback.
Zonovan “Bam” Knight was among the 37 players who were either waived or released on Tuesday. Last season, Knight initially made the final roster before being placed on the practice squad. Then, after Breece Hall suffered a season-ending ACL injury, Knight became the Jets’ best running back late last year.
Knight rushed for 300 yards and a touchdown on 85 carries. He was thought to be close to a lock to make the final roster this year until the Jets signed Dalvin Cook earlier this month. With Hall, Michael Carter and Israel Abanikanda entrenched on the Jets roster, Knight became the odd man out.
What also didn’t help Knight’s cause was his disappointing preseason, including his performance against the Buccaneers in the third preseason game. Knight fumbled the ball, dropped a pass and made a mistake running the ball out of the end zone on special teams.
The Jets could sign Knight to their practice squad, but NFL Network has reported that teams inquired with the Jets about Knight’s status before he was waived. So there’s a possibility that Knight could be claimed off waivers since he is a player who has less than four years of service. Players who have played for over four years become free agents when they’re released and are free to sign with any team.
Backup quarterback Tim Boyle was also released as the Jets will keep just two quarterbacks on the roster (Aaron Rodgers and Zach Wilson). Gang Green signed Boyle on April 6 to compete with Wilson for the backup role. However, Wilson outplayed Boyle throughout the preseason, which is likely why the Jets decided to release him.
The Jets could eventually sign Boyle to their practice squad, which can have up to 16 players. This is assuming no other team wants to sign Boyle to their active roster.
Outside of Knight and Boyle being released, the most surprising news from Jets cutdown day was that they have seven receivers on their roster.
In addition to Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, and Randall Cobb, Jason Brownlee, Xavier Gipson, and Irv Charles also made the final roster. Following Corey Davis’ sudden retirement, it was unclear how many receivers would make the roster. The Jets still could make roster moves to trim their receiver room a bit.
Brownlee was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss. The Jets considered selecting Brownlee in the later rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft but were still able to sign him.
Throughout training camp, Brownlee made more than a few eye-opening plays during practices. Gipson, who was also an undrafted free agent out of Stephen F. Austin, impressed during the preseason as he recorded seven catches for 79 yards. He also had a few standout special teams returns, including his 45-yard return in the Hall of Fame Game against the Browns.
Gipson found out he made the team when he received a call from Saleh. The coach tricked him into believing he would get released. But Saleh eventually told Gipson that he had made the Jets roster.
“It means everything,” Gipson said. “It’s all I ever wanted as a kid growing up.
“I’ve been working hard my whole life, trying to get to this moment and it finally came.”
Jets roster cuts and transactions to get to 53 players
Tim Boyle QB Released
Nick Bawden FB Released
Travis Dye RB Waived
Zonovan Knight RB Waived
Alex Erickson WR 3 Released
Jerome Kapp WR R Waived
TJ Luther WR R Waived
Malik Taylor WR Released
E.J. Jenkins TE Waived
Zack Kuntz TE Waived
Trystan Colon C Waived
Chris Glaser OL Waived
Grant Hermanns OL Waived
Brent Laing OL Waived
Adam Pankey OL Released
Greg Senat OL Released
Deslin Alexandre DL Waived
Bruce Hector DL Released
Jalyn Holmes DL Released
Tanzel Smart DL Released
Marquiss Spencer DL Waived
Pita Taumeopenu DL Released (Mon)
Claudin Cherelus LB Waived
Samuel Eguavoen LB Released
Caleb Johnson LB Waived
Nick Vigil LB Released
Jarrick Bernard-Converse S Reserve/PUP
Trey Dean S Waived
Brandin Echols CB NFL Suspension
Craig James S Released
Derrick Langford CB Waived
Nehemiah Shelton CB Waived
Marquis Waters S Waived
Jimmy Moreland CB Injured Reserve
Thomas Morstead P 14 Released