The deadline for final roster cuts is 6 p.m EST. tomorrow, and every team must have their roster down to 53-players in the next 24 hours. The New York Jets made their first two cuts today by releasing two veterans, nose tackle Antonio Garay and kicker Dan Carpenter. Both of these cuts come as a surprise, showing the Jets are not afraid to make tough decisions in this period.
Carpenter was recently added to compete with Nick Folk for the kicking job, and it was thought that he would win the job with a solid performance in the final preseason game. Apparently making a 45-yard field was not sufficient evidence, and the team has decided to stick with what they know in Folk. However, he is only a 77.9 percent career kicker as compared to Carpenter’s 81.9 percent, and Carpenter has a stronger leg to boot. But the Jets feel comfortable with Folk, and they will stick with him for at least the beginning of this season.
Garay is an even bigger surprise than Carpenter because the Jets signed him this offseason as insurance at the nose tackle position. Kenrick Ellis is the projected starter, but he is inexperienced and has dealt with injuries in his young career. Damon Harrison will be the backup, but he is even less experienced than Ellis.
The Jets believe that Ellis is ready to handle the starting role, and when he played this preseason, he appeared to justify those beliefs. However, if his injury problems linger and Harrison can’t take over, the Jets may come to regret this decision. Garay will likely have trouble finding a new team, and he could be available later on if the team needs him.
What these two moves show about the Jets is a commitment to youth. The team also released Braylon Edwards and Stephen Peterman. Clearly, John Idzik and not Rex Ryan is calling the shots, and the team is trying accelerate their rebuilding project.
Jets fans should take this as a positive sign for the future. This team has no illusions of contending this year, and developing young players is the best course of action. The Jets appear to understand that, and the decision to release these veterans (except in the case of Carpenter) proves that.