The time is now for the New York Jets. Owners of the NFL‘s longest active playoff drought (12 years), Gang Green made arguably the most significant transaction of the offseason by acquiring Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers. The Jets now have Super Bowl aspirations with a future Hall of Famer under center, but they still have roster questions to answer during training camp.
Let’s run through New York’s current 90-man depth chart and determine how they’ll get down to 53 players by cutdown day.
Projecting the New York Jets’ 2023 Roster and Depth Chart
- In: Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson
- Out: Tim Boyle, Chris Streveler
Rodgers is the most exciting Jets addition in years, while Wilson’s contract should enable him to stick around as New York’s backup despite two years of disastrous play. Wilson’s rookie deal is fully guaranteed, and the Jets would absorb his entire $11+ million cap charge by cutting him.
There’s been no indication New York is interested in keeping three quarterbacks, even given the NFL’s new roster rule that allows for a third QB to be inactive on game day but eligible to enter the game if necessary. If the Jets change their tune, Boyle — who spent time with Rodgers and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Green Bay — would be the favorite over Streveler.
- In: Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Israel Abanikanda, Zonovan Knight, Nick Bawden (FB)
- Out: Travis Dye
While the Jets remain optimistic Hall will be available for Week 1 after tearing his ACL in October, the uncertainty around his health status has led to Gang Green being linked to free agent running backs like Dalvin Cook. Assuming Hall is ready for the start of the season and Cook signs elsewhere, New York’s RB room should already be solidified.
Carter and Knight both had their moments filling in for Hall last year, but neither looked like a legitimate foundational running back. They’ll retain roles in 2023 but will have to fight off Abanikanda, a fifth-round rookie who profiles as a home-run threat. Bawden isn’t a roster lock, but Hackett deployed Andrew Beck as a fullback for the Broncos a season ago, while the Packers’ Hackett-Rodgers offense often used a FB, too.
- In: Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, Randall Cobb, Corey Davis, Denzel Mims
- Out: Jason Brownlee, Irvin Charles, Xavier Gipson, Jerome Kapp, T.J. Luther, Diontae Spencer, Malik Taylor
New York’s top five receivers should be nearly set in stone. Wilson will attempt to become Rodgers’ new Davante Adams after winning Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2022, while new additions Lazard, Hardman, and Cobb give the Jets a relatively deep crop of pass-catching options.
But questions remain. Davis is widely expected to accept a pay cut to remain in New York, but there’s a chance he ultimately declines to reduce his salary and gets released. Meanwhile, Mims was general manager Joe Douglas’ second-ever draft pick, but he’s not assured of making the roster. Given that he’s repeatedly been the subject of trade rumors, it won’t be surprising if Mims loses his roster spot to an undrafted free agent like Irvin Charles or Jason Brownlee during training camp.
- In: Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert
- Out: E.J. Jenkins, Izaiah Gathings, Zack Kuntz, Kenny Yeboah
The Jets will bring back their top three tight ends from 2022. Conklin ended last year as New York’s second-leading receiver behind Wilson, while Uzomah is an overqualified No. 2 who will work in a blocking role.
Gang Green made Ruckert the 101st pick of the 2022 draft, but he didn’t do much during his rookie campaign aside from special-teams duty. He should be able to wrangle a larger role this season after managing just two targets last year.
Kuntz — the most athletic tight end in the history of Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Score database — was an extremely difficult cut, and there’s no guarantee he slips through waivers and onto the Jets’ practice squad.
- In: Duane Brown, Laken Tomlinson, Joe Tippmann, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern, Max Mitchell, Wes Schweitzer, Carter Warren, Billy Turner
- Out: Yodny Cajuste, Trystan Colon, Chris Glaser, Brent Laing, Adam Pankey, Greg Senat
While the Jets may not have an elite offensive line, they will certainly have options. Most NFL teams will keep nine offensive linemen on their 53-man roster, but we’re giving New York 10 players up front. Not only do they need the depth, but there wasn’t an obvious cut candidate among the top 10 OL.
Brown, Tomlinson, and Vera-Tucker are clear starters, but Tippmann will battle McGovern for the starting center role. The loser of that competition could still enter the starting lineup as a guard, but that would involve the Jets shifting Vera-Tucker to right tackle.
Becton is penciled in as the RT for now, but he’s on thin ice after missing most of the past two seasons and complaining about New York’s coaching staff. Even if Vera-Tucker sticks at guard, Becton will have to fend off Mitchell and Turner for a starting role.
- In: Quinnen Williams, Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas, Al Woods
- Out: Isaiah Mack, Tanzel Smart, Marquiss Spencer
The Jets rostered four defensive tackles for the majority of last season, and that’s the plan this year, too. New York lost Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd to free agency but quickly replaced them with Jefferson and Woods, giving the club viable rotational options up front.
The biggest question here is whether Williams will be signed to an extension by the time the regular season rolls around. There’s almost no chance he’ll sit out the year without a new contract in place, but getting Williams signed to a deal that could approach $25 million annually is the Jets’ top priority over the summer.
- In: John Franklin-Myers, Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson II, Bryce Huff, Will McDonald IV, Micheal Clemons
- Out: Deslin Alexandre
New York seems to boast an endless wave of pass rushers every season, and 2023 won’t be any different. Franklin-Myers and Lawson, the latter of whom took a pay cut to remain with the Jets, should see the most snaps, but they’ll be pushed by every other member of the club’s edge depth chart.
Johnson and McDonald both come with first-round pedigree, and Johnson should be ready for a more significant role after playing just a quarter of New York’s defensive snaps during his rookie campaign. Huff was among the NFL’s most productive pass rushers on a per-snap basis, while Clemons was a contributor as a rookie despite being a fourth-round selection.
- In: C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood, Zaire Barnes
- Out: Claudin Cherelus, Maalik Hall, Caleb Johnson, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Chazz Surratt
Not a ton of drama here. Mosley and Williams both soaked up more than 700 snaps last season and will return as the Jets’ starting ‘backers in nickel packages. Sherwood should take over the third LB role vacated by Kwon Alexander, although there’s a chance New York could re-sign Alexander before the season begins.
- In: Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II, Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, Justin Hardee
- Out: Craig James, Javelin Guidry, Derrick Langford, Jimmy Moreland
New York arguably boasts the best cornerback group in the NFL. Gardner was outstanding during his rookie season, and his dominant first-year performance might have forced observers to overlook Reed, who was extremely productive after signing a three-year deal with the Jets.
Carter is an underrated option in the slot, while Hardee played more special-teams snaps (367) than anyone else on New York’s roster. Echols is suspended for the first game of the season, which means the Jets will be able to keep another player on their roster for the opener before activating the veteran corner.
- In: Jordan Whitehead, Adrian Amos, Tony Adams, Jarrick Bernard-Converse
- Injured Reserve: Chuck Clark
- Out: Ashytn Davis, Trey Dean, Marquis Waters
The Jets suffered a blow in June when Clark, whom New York acquired from the Ravens in March, suffered a torn ACL. However, they quickly replaced him by inking Amos, who has 122 career NFL starts under his belt. Gang Green’s safety room isn’t the best in the league, but it’s more than competent.
Bernard-Converse has transitioned from corner to safety since being selected in the sixth round of the 2023 draft. We’re penciling him in over Davis, whose salary is scheduled to get bumped to $2.7 million next season. However, Davis isn’t a vested veteran because he has fewer than four years of NFL service time, so the Jets could keep him on the roster for Week 1 while Echols is suspended without worrying about his salary becoming guaranteed.
- In: Greg Zuerlein (K), Thomas Morstead (P), Thomas Hennessy (LS)
The Jets are swapping out Braden Mann for Morstead, who fared far better in Puntalytics‘ metrics in 2022. Zuerlien will return for his second season in New York while Hennessy enters his seventh.