The New York Jets made a minor roster move on Tuesday, waiving recently acquired guard Hayworth Hicks and signing free agent wide receiver Mardy Gilyard to the active roster in his place.
Originally a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 by the St. Louis Rams, Gilyard, (#19, above left ) caught a total of six passes for 63 yards as a rookie while getting most of his snaps on special teams.
He did not play in the NFL in 2011 after being one of the Rams’ final cuts in September. The Jets kicked the tires on him, signing him to a brief five-day stint prior to the start of the regular season, but he never suited up for them.
Gilyard appeared in six games for the Philadelphia Eagles this season, but he was released last Friday, prior to their Week 12 game.
The Jets were short on wide receiver depth after losing Chaz Schilens and Clyde Gates to head injures in Week 12, leaving just three healthy receivers on the roster, with “healthy” as a relative term.
Top wideout Santonio Holmes was lost for the season in September. Jeremy Kerley, who’s had a breakout season as the Jets’ de facto number one option, has been batting leg injuries for weeks himself.
With only six career receptions to his name, Gilyard has a lot of work to do before he proves he deserves offensive snaps, running routes and seeing targets his way. However, he has shown some good ability on special teams.
Gilyard saw time as a kick returner with the Rams, and as a punt returner with the Eagles, and while he probably won’t be used in those roles with the Jets, he does offer some depth at those spots.
The former University of Cincinnati Bearcat has also shown the ability to excel as a punt gunner, a valuable skill in this league. The Jets will likely use him on special teams for now, barring another injury to their receiving corps.