Each summer, thousands of players get to live the dream of playing in the NFL, participating in training camp and preseason games.
However, on Friday, hundreds of those players will suffer a rude awakening.
The final round of NFL roster cuts is not the happiest day around the league, but it’s a reminded that the NFL is a business, first and foremost. Only the best of the best can make it.
On Monday, each team cut their roster down from 90 players down to 75, and Friday teams will make their final cuts down to the 53 men they will carry into Week 1 of the regular season.
It will not be an easy decision, but it’s a necessary one in the world of the National Football League.
For the New York Jets, the most intriguing roster decisions could come at wide receiver.
Veteran Santonio Holmes is a lock to make the team, as are young wideouts Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley, who are expected to be the Jets’ top three receivers on the depth chart when it’s all said and done.
However, if the Jets only carry five wide receivers as they’re expected to, that means that the three of Chaz Schilens, Jordan White and Patrick Turner are competing for two spots. One of them will be the odd man out.
Earlier this offseason, it was hard to imagine Schilens being in danger of getting cut, but his inability to stay healthy and get on the field has potentially made him the most likely candidate to get let go.
Turner and White have made plays on the field, both in practice and in preseason action against opposing defenses. Schilens has not had that opportunity thanks to an ankle injury, and it could cost him his job.
Schilens signed a one-year deal with the Jets after coming over from the Oakland Raiders, and he was thought to have a leg up in the race for a roster spot thanks to his familiarity with position coach Sanjay Lal.
Lal had been the Raiders’ wide receivers coach until he came to coach the same position with the Jets this season, and it’s plausible to assume that he recommended Schilens to the Jets’ front office.
Head coach Rex Ryan said that he expects Schilens to be healthy in time for the Jets’ season opener on September 9, which seems to indicate he expects Schilens to survive the final roster cuts.
If Schilens does make the team, it’s possible that Patrick Turner would be next on the proverbial food chain. However, his chemistry with Mark Sanchez could be invaluable, and that could give him the inside track.
Nobody’s really a lock outside of Holmes, Hill and Kerley. Jordan White, a rookie seventh-rounder appears to be the most safe of the remaining three, but you never really know.
White can be cut and placed on the practice squad, something that Turner and Schilens are ineligible for, so it’s possible that the Jets would cut him and try to sneak him through waivers to keep him around.
Of course, the Jets could choose to keep all six receivers, which wouldn’t be all that unheard of. But with only 53 roster spots, that means somebody else would have to go.
Stay tuned to find out who the final NFL roster cuts will be. Friday afternoon and evening will give us our answer.
Update: It looks like the odd man out is in fact the rookie, Jordan White. The Jets will likely attempt to sign him to the practice squad, should he clear waivers.