Finished on Injured Reserve: Sherwood, Cashman
Finished on Reserve/COVID: Davis
Finished on Reserve/Retired: Goodson
Finished on Practice Squad: Dawkins
No Longer With Team: Dawkins, Reynolds
Potential Free Agents in 2022
'22: C.J. and Quincy Show the Way
Availability plus production plus leadership equaled C.J. Mosley in '21. The defensive captain and Curtis Martin Team MVP led the front seven in starts with 16 and D-snaps with 1,096 (after logging two starts and 114 snaps the previous two seasons combined). And Mosley's coaches and teammates had words of praise all season, such as this encomium from LB mate Quincy Williams: "C.J.'s one of the best in the business in everything he does and he works extremely hard every day and makes sure other guys around him work hard also, because there's a difference between having a great football player vs. a great football player who can level up other guys next to him such as Quincy Williams."
Speaking of Quinnen's older brother, Williams has the look of one of the best waiver acquisitions in recent Jets history and should team well with Mosley again. Unfortunately, football is a game with a 100% injury rate and this position bore out that axiom. As GM Joe Douglas said last month, "We've lost far too many guys to injury. We have to be better." Part of Douglas' offseason plans will be not only evaluating which 'backers to sign or draft but also determining which of the injured players showed enough to stay around.
See the best images of Jets Linebackers during the 2021 season.
'21: Numbers Signifying Both Gain and Pain
Mosley's 168 tackles were a career high and the most by a Jet since LB Demario Davis' 171 in 2017 (coaches' video breakdown) and LB Jonathan Vilma's 173 in 2005 (play-by-play). C.J. also led the D with 16 tackles on third/fourth down to prevent conversions, the most by a Jet since David Harris' 18 in 2009. Williams is a work-in-progress but oh, what work he produced — 107 tackles, a team-leading total of 16.0 tackles for loss/no gain (on runs and receptions only, a pair of sacks and three forced fumbles.
Unfortunately for the middle tier of the defense, a lot of the numbers were about games missed due to injury and, late in the season, COVID protocols. Jarrad Davis (ankle), a solid veteran free agency signing, missed the first six games and was limited in the nine games he did play. Blake Cashman has flashed when active in his three Jets seasons but has ended each season on Injured Reserve. Of the two drafted rookies, Hamsah Nasirildeen (knee) played mostly on special teams in his 12 games and Jamien Sherwood (ankle) spent the last 11 games on IR.
Only one LB played in all 17 games this past season. Del'Shawn Phillips, signed as a street free agent last March, didn't play a lot of defense but contributed when called on and compensated by being one of the season's special teams leaders. More on Phillips in the ST look ahead.
Mosley and Williams became the first pair of Jets 100-tackle players in the same season since 2018 (Avery Williamson and Jamal Adams), and their totals mark first time the Green & White had two 100-tackle 'backers since 2014 (David Harris, Demario Davis).