Wide receiver Ryan Spadola was the breakout star of the summer for the New York Jets. The undrafted rookie out of Lehigh was extremely impressive in camp, and he made the opening day roster. However, his time with the team has been short, and the Jets cut Spadola today to make room for Mike Goodson on the active roster.
This decision is a somewhat surprising one, especially when you consider the team brought up receiver Michael Campbell from the practice squad, releasing linebacker Ricky Sapp in the process. When combined with the signing of David Nelson, the Jets now have six receivers on the active roster.
Unfortunately, Spadola had yet to translate any of his positive play in the preseason to the regular season. He was targeted once in the season opener, and he dropped the pass. That was the only target he received this season.
The Jets chose to make Campbell their sixth receiver over Spadola for special teams reasons. The preseason clearly showed that Campbell was the far superior player on kicking units, and that is an absolutely essential quality for an end of the roster player.
Spadola will now be placed on waivers, and the Jets are hoping he passes through and can re-join the team as part of the practice squad. The Jets still like Spadola and believe that he could have a future with the team. However, as nice a story as he is, he simply isn’t good enough to supplant any of the Jets’ top four receivers in the rotation. With the news that Stephen Hill will be active Monday, the Jets determined a special teams player was a bigger need than a pass catcher.
Fans will surely be frustrated by the decision to cut such as popular player, but the truth is that Spadola isn’t ready to be a major contributor just yet. Hopefully the Jets can bring him back, giving them the opportunity to develop him and turn him into a contributor in the future.