Updated, 7:30 p.m ET
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum announced the waiving of 26 players and two trades in getting down to 53 players by the NFL's deadline tonight.
For many, the trades were the most intriguing part of the day. The Jets sent DB Dwight Lowery to Jacksonville (their Week 2 opponent at MetLife Stadium) for an undisclosed conditional draft choice. And they acquired rookie guard Caleb Schlauderaff from Green Bay, also for an undisclosed conditional pick.
On a recently concluded evening conference call with beat reporters, Rex Ryan said the trade of Lowery to the Jaguars was a numbers situation and a deal that should help the fourth-year man in his pro career.
"When we looked at our secondary, we're pretty much loaded," Ryan said. At safety, he said, "you have Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Cookie [Emanuel Cook], and Jim Leonhard's healthy. And we have depth at corner now. I just think it's an opportunity for Dwight to go to a place where he'll really be used, and we felt we had the depth we needed on the back end."
The Jets were happy to be able to get the 6'4", 302-pound Schlauderaff (pronounced (SHLAH-der-off), a Green Bay sixth-round pick this year, to respond to some questions they have about their OL depth.
"I think when we looked at him coming out of Utah, we thought he could play center and guard. He played both guard spots for Green Bay and he did practice at center at Utah," Ryan said of the Utes' four-year starter. "This is a young man we were really interested in for the draft. We were excited about him. I feel better about our depth now than I did, that's for sure."
Still, after waiving Robby Felix and Zane Taylor, two players who played center after Rob Turner's injury in the Houston preseason opener, Ryan said the short-term response at center should starter Nick Mangold go down temporarily could be moving LG Matt Slauson over to center and moving Vlad Ducasse or Schlauderaff in at left guard.
Schlauderaff, in a summer interview as a Packer, knew he was entering a whole new football world but was confident about his chances.
"To me it's a challenge and I'm looking forward to see what I can do," he said. "I work hard, I think I've got physical tools. One thing I pride myself in is I play physical, and I think I play nasty."
The transactions today left the Ryan/Mike Pettine defense with 26 players, including nine linebackers and 10 defensive backs, to the offense's 24 players (plus the three kicking-game specialists).
The big position winner on the defensive side was linebacker as the Jets initially have kept five outside 'backers — including three backups in former Bills first-round pick Aaron Maybin, well-traveled Garrett McIntyre and holdover Jamaal Westerman — and four inside LBs — with Josh Mauga and undrafted free agent rookie Nick Bellore from Central Michigan as backups.
And Ryan held onto 10 DBs. Six are corners, including recently re-signed Isaiah Trufant, and four are safeties.
With some positions getting a few extra numbers, others would get trimmed back accordingly. And that position initially appears to be wide receiver. Four of the moved players today were wideouts, including holdover Patrick Turner, seventh-round rookie Scotty McKnight — the only member of the Jets' 2011 draft class to be waived — and free agent rookies Michael Campbell and Dan DePalma.
That puts the WRs at five players. Three are big-name veterans in Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason, the fourth is rookie Jeremy Kerley, and the fifth is Logan Payne, who came away from the Giants preseason game with a left wrist injury.
At QB, for the moment the Jets are down to two healthy arms, one belonging to Mark Sanchez and the other to Mark Brunell, who has told Ryan he's ready to play despite his pinky and hamstring injuries this summer. Greg McElroy is on the active roster but is sidelined indefinitely after Friday surgery to repair his dislocated right thumb. Drew Willy, who played all the snaps after McElroy left in the second quarter against the Eagles, was waived.
Other tough releases were Matt Kroul, in his third Jets camp and his first having made the switch from DL to OL; D-lineman Jarron Gilbert, who blocked a field goal vs. the Giants; LB Brashton Satele, who had an interception return to the shadow of the goal line against the Bengals; and CB Ellis Lankster, who played most of the game vs. the Eagles and turned in a 69-yard INT-return touchdown.
As with all final cut days, it bears repeating that this roster can change in different ways over the coming days heading toward opening night, Sept. 11, vs. the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife. The Jets can put in claims for other teams' waived players, sign suddenly available free agents, and release other players from this list to make room. And the Jets along with all 31 other NFL teams will be announcing their eight-man practice squads late Sunday afternoon.
Here are the released Jets players by position that were officially announced at 6 p.m. ET:
QB (1) — Drew Willy
RB (1) — Chris Jennings
WR (4) —Michael Campbell, Dan DePalma, Scotty McKnight, Patrick Turner
TE (2) — Josh Baker, Keith Zinger
OL (7) — Trevor Canfield, Pete Clifford, Robby Felix, Matt Kroul, Dennis Landolt, Nevin McCaskill, Zane Taylor
DL (2) — Jarron Gilbert, Lorenzo Washington
LB (4) — Matt Berning, Eddie Jones, Joey LaRocque, Brashton Satele
DB (5) — Byron Landor, Ellis Lankster, Davon Morgan, Julian Posey, Tracy Wilson
And here is the Jets' current roster of 53 players by position:
QB (3) — Mark Brunell, Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez
RB (5) — John Conner, Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, LaDainian Tomlinson
WR (5) — Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Derrick Mason, Logan Payne
TE (3) — Jeff Cumberland, Dustin Keller, Matthew Mulligan
OL (8) — Vladimir Ducasse, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Wayne Hunter, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Caleb Schlauderaff, Matt Slauson, Rob Turner
DL (7) — Mike DeVito, Marcus Dixon, Kenrick Ellis, Ropati Pitoitua, Sione Pouha, Martin Tevaseu, Muhammad Wilkerson
LB (9) — Nick Bellore, David Harris, Josh Mauga, Aaron Maybin, Garrett McIntyre, Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, Jamaal Westerman
DB (10) — Marquice Cole, Emanuel Cook, Antonio Cromartie, Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool, Darrelle Revis, Eric Smith, Donald Strickland, Isaiah Trufant, Kyle Wilson
T.J. Conley, Nick Folk, Tanner Purdum