The thoughts and emotions of NFL coaches, personnel people and players are pretty much the same at this time on the football calendar, a.k.a. Final Cuts Day. Certainly Jets head coach Adam Gase’s view is the same as it was a year ago.
“It’s the part of the business where it’s not fun,” Gase said, “because guys have been invested in this, especially some guys, not only over years of work, some guys that might have been their first year here and invested all this time since the spring, obviously in an unusual year and now you have to tell them, ‘Hey, we’re going in a different direction.’ “
But each year there are wrinkles in the process, and as Gase said, this is an unusual year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all NFL teams went through preseasons devoid of any preseason games. And instead of cutting down from 90 players as in recent years, teams were working from 80-man rosters to get down to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday.
The Jets had 80 players combined on their active roster plus active/PUP (Joe Flacco) and active/NFI (Bryce Hall) lists. They made 27 moves to get their roster to 53, with several players who contributed in double-digit games last season among the departing.
Flacco, the veteran QB signed in May to back up starter Sam Darnold, passed his physical and is on the active roster, while two other QBs, David Fales and Mike White, were released.
Perhaps the biggest name released was backup OL Jonotthan Harrison, a three-year Jet who came in to start at least eight games in each of the past two seasons at center. Also on offense, TE Daniel Brown, who like Harrison played in all 16 games, was released.
Two defensive players with 2019 starts were also released. LB James Burgess, who was acquired off waivers from Miami, started the last 10 games, beginning with Game 7 at Jacksonville, at either at MLB or at OLB alongside Neville Hewitt in the middle. Burgess was waived, as was CB Nate Hairston, a six-game starter last season after arriving via a trade with Indianapolis. Also, S Matthias Farley, who played in all 16 games and got virtually all of his snaps on special teams, was released.