The Jets entered Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Eagles with a roster of 90 players. But by Saturday at 4:00 p.m., first-year general manager Joe Douglas will have get his team down to 53 and then immediately reassess as hundreds of players flood the open market.
“The cut-downs, it’s a tough weekend because these guys have really put it on the line since March when they came back for the start of OTAs,” Douglas said on the training camp finale of One Jets Drive. “It’s one of the toughest days of the year when you have to get the team down to 53. Just because the cut-down day is next weekend, that doesn’t mean the roster stays the same. We’re always going to be looking for opportunities.”
Douglas has made multiple acquisitions this summer including most notably inking veteran center Ryan Kalil to a deal on August 3rd. The Jets have been most active in the defensive backfield, making a flurry of moves at every level: waiver claims, street free agents and trade. Douglas has already went the trade route twice, sending a seventh-round pick to Baltimore for G Alex Lewis and agreeing to send the second of the two Jets’ sixth-rounders next April to obtain CB Nate Hairston from the Colts.
“A pick is just a pick until it becomes a player,” he said. “You’re weighing the future vs. the present, the right now. The known commodity is the player that currently is the NFL. It’s not apples to oranges, you’re comparing apples to apples.”
Prior to last Saturday’s meeting with the Saints, Douglas talked about the preparation his personnel staff had put in to get ready for the upcoming weekend.
“Twelve hundred guys are going to hit the market next Friday and Saturday. We have to be prepared,” Douglas said. “We are prepared, we’ve had great meetings, we’ve gone through these first two games with a fine-tooth comb. We have our target list, we feel good about it. We have two more weeks of games to go through, but we’re excited. We have an opportunity to really upgrade this team. Like I mentioned in my initial press conference, we have the third waiver claim and we plan on using it. We’re fired up.”
The Jets didn’t dress at least two dozen players against the Eagles with the regular season only 10 days away. Douglas liked the way the Adam Gase-led coaching staff went about their business throughout training camp.
“It’s not hard to get excited about the competition and the energy that have gone on every day. Adam has done such a great job with this team,” he said. “I think our daily schedule has been unbelievable. All these guys, in every position group, they’ve been challenged, they’ve been pushed, they push themselves.”
Douglas hopes he can push the right buttons this weekend. He will have to decide whether to add another kicker after Taylor Bertolet missed a pair of long field goals against the Eagles. Will the Jets stick with just two quarterbacks in Sam Darnold and veteran Trevor Siemian? There are also fascinating numbers decisions across the board in terms of depth and special teams contributors. The Green & White also can have a 11-player practice squad due to the Valentine Holmes exemption that the International Pathway Program affords the club.
“We’re trying to stay where our feet our every day, but you always have Buffalo on the horizon,” Douglas said on the team’s Emmy-Award docuseries. “We’re all so excited to get to Week 1 and really show the fans and show the rest of the league we’re a team to be reckon with this year. I know Adam feels the same way and I know the guys are chomping at the bit to get going.”