DE Michael Sam was cut from the St. Louis Rams today. The last roster spot came down to him and DE Ethan Westbrooks in a very close stats battle; Westbrooks had one more tackle and Sam had one more sack. I really wanted Sam to make the team, not just to make history, but also because Missouri is his home and a place where he is comfortable. Now, it’s not a question of if he will play, but who he will play for. The New York Jets could be a great fit because of his ability and outgoing personality (which is a requirement for every Jets player).
But first, let’s think about the potential downside. Although New York is a huge, diverse place where people from all walks of life can find their niche, the city’s sports market is pretty rough. Sam, the first openly gay NFL draft prospect, would attract major media attention wherever he plays, but it may be amplified in a market as large as New York. The Jets did suffer from the “Tebow circus” with unwanted media frenzy when QB Tim Tebow graced the team in 2012, but they’ve thankfully recovered. Would Sam created another media storm over the Jets? Probably not. I think most of the silly fascination with Sam has diminished over training camp and preseason. Sam has proven that he’s so much more than his sexually-orientation and that he knows how to play the game. And that whole “strong locker room culture” idea is just an excuse for having a team of boys vs. grown men. If a team has the desire to win, they’ll accept anyone who will help them do that. If Sam is able to do that with the Jets, I assure you they’ll be no problems.
The best part about having Sam would be the addition of another pass rusher on the Jets. Yes, the team already has a couple of versatile players who could be used to pass rush, such as DE Muhammad Wilkerson and DT Sheldon Richardson. But another never hurts. Today, the Jets cut LBs Tory Davis, A.J. Edds and Garrett McIntyre, leaving only two healthy backups in Trevor Reilly and Jeremiah George. The Jets also cut DLs Tevita Finau, Kerry Hyder and Zach Thompson, leaving only T.J. Barnes and Leger Douzable as backups. Sam could be utilize on the team if head coach Rex Ryan feels that there are holes left to be filled.
In addition, Ryan knows how to get the best out of his defensive players. It would be a fantastic opportunity for Sam to play under Ryan and learn all he can. If Sam clears waivers and doesn’t accept the offer to be on the Rams’ practice squad, he could definitely have a future in New York.