That Hill cleared waivers is somewhat surprising. The NFL is all about size and speed, and Hill is a size-speed player, sans the production. Evidently, the other 31 teams saw what the Jets saw.
Four wide receivers were claimed: T.J. Graham (Tennessee Titans), a former third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills; Kris Durham (Titans), a former third-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks; Damaris Johnson (Houston Texans), a former undrafted free agent; and LaRon Byrd (Cleveland Browns), a former undrafted free agent.
Browns coach Mike Pettine knows Hill from his days with the Jets, and his Buffalo defense was torched last season by Hill -- and he still took a pass.
Hill is a free agent, eligible to sign with any team. On Saturday, his agent, Alan Herman, indicated Hill would prefer a team with an established quarterback situation.
Analysis: For the first time in the Rex Ryan era, the Jets have a proven backup that can win games if called upon. The bigger question is the starter: Is Smith ready to take the next step? Re-signing Matt Simms to the practice squad was a smart move.
RUNNING BACK (4)
Tommy Bohanon (FB)
Analysis: Diverse, deep and talented. The offense will lean on this group, especially early in the season when they have to play ball-control against all those high-scoring passing attacks. The only question is how they divide the carries.
WIDE RECEIVER (7)
Analysis: Through most of camp, I had them keeping seven receivers, but that was before the Stephen Hill flameout and the Shaq Evans injury. The landscape has changed. It's hard to justify seven, especially since they're not stacked with Pro Bowlers. Saunders and Hakim are return specialists, restricting the team's flexibility for the game-day 46. Still can't believe Enunwa made it. John Idzik loves his draft picks.
TIGHT END (3)
Analysis: There's a lot riding on Amaro, who will be asked at times to line up as a traditional tight end -- something he didn't do in college. Cumberland is way behind after missing three weeks with an Achilles' injury. They're missing a hard-nosed blocker at the point of attack.
Analysis: You didn't hear much about Giacomini in the preseason -- and that's a good thing for an offensive lineman. Ferguson needs to be better than last season. Ijalana is left-tackle insurance even though he's never played in a game. Go figure.
Analysis: They'd better hope Colon stays healthy or there could be trouble. The organization still has questions about Winters, who remains inconsistent. He'll be pushed by Aboushi, who also can play right guard and right tackle.
Analysis: Mangold is the glue to the entire operation. Freeman, a former undrafted free agent, beat out Caleb Schlauderaff, who former GM Mike Tannenbaum once referred to as the Jets' version of Victor Cruz.
DEFENSIVE END (3)
Analysis: Wilkerson and Richardson -- aka D-Roy, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year -- are the pillars on defense. In Year 2, Richardson needs to step up as a pass rusher. Douzable provides good depth.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (3)
Analysis: We're talking about almost 1,100 pounds of run-stuffing fury. Harrison and Ellis are players on the ascent, while Barnes made the team after dropping more than 20 pounds in the offseason -- and he's still 360.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)
Analysis: It's Year 3 for Coples; time to play like a first-round pick. Babin was a good pick up. He'll help as a nickel pass rusher and he can spell Coples in the base. They will miss Garrett McIntyre, a useful backup. This will be a developmental year for Enemkpali and Reilly. Antwan Barnes (PUP) will rejoin this group after six weeks.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
Analysis: Davis is primed for a breakout year. This is a contract year for Harris. Presumably, Bellore (calf) is okay. If not, their depth is a major concern. George made the team because he was a fifth-round pick.
Analysis: Landry and Pryor figure to be every-down players. The Jets are counting on Pryor, their first-round pick, to make an immediate impact. He'll probably get more deep-middle assignments than Landry, who really is a "box" safety.
Analysis: If you need an explanation, you haven't been paying attention the last three weeks. The addition of McFadden, acquired Sunday on waivers, is strictly for depth. This is one of the worst cornerback situations in the league.
Nick Folk (PK)
Ryan Quigley (P)
Tanner Purdum (LS)
Analysis: Quigley survives (for now) after an inconsistent preseason.
McFadden, a third-round pick of the Browns in 2013, played every game last season and started the final two preseason games due to injuries in the Browns' secondary.
The Jets had to do something after a tumultuous preseason.
Top corner Dee Milliner suffered a high-ankle sprain on Aug. 10, and is highly questionable for the season opener against the Oakland Raiders. The other projected starter, Dimitri Patterson, was suspended and released Saturday after an unexcused absence last weekend. They also lost rookie Dexter McDougle to a season-ending knee injury in early August.
The quarterback-needy Houston Texans considered a waiver claim on Simms, but they addressed their quarterback issue by trading for Ryan Mallett of the New England Patriots, according to reports.
The Jets wanted to carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, so they took a calculated risk by exposing Simms to waivers. The coaches talked with Simms on Saturday, assuring him they wanted him back. Just last week, quarterbacks coach David Lee told reporters that Simms had improved as much as any player he's ever coached.
This is a smart move by the Jets. Even though Simms doesn't factor into the short-term plans, he could be a possible No. 2 in 2015, when Michael Vick is gone.
Under the old rules, Simms wouldn't have been eligible for the practice squad, but the rules were changed recently, allowing players of Simms' standing (one accrued season) to be eligible.
Some of the "name" players available:
Brandon Harris, Houston Texans (waivers): He was a second-round pick in 2011, but he failed to win the hearts of the new coaching staff.
Kelvin Hayden, Chicago Bears (free agent): He's been around for a long time, but he's a cover-2 corner, not an ideal fit in Rex Ryan's system.
Phillip Adams, Seattle Seahawks (free agent): His first stint in Seattle came at the end of the 2011 season, when Jets GM John Idzik was a Seahawks executive. Adams is a solid journeyman who has played with a handful of teams.
Derek Cox, Baltimore Ravens (free agent): A free-agent signing that didn't work out for the Ravens. Cox, who has played with the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers, has appeared in 63 games, with 13 interceptions.
Dominique Franks, Ravens (free agent): Like Cox, Franks didn't stick in his first season in Baltimore. Franks, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, has three interceptions in 48 games.
Leon McFadden, Cleveland Browns (waivers): Like Ryan, Mike Pettine loves to have plenty of corners. He just didn't love this one. McFadden was a third-round pick last year and played in every game.
No. 8: Jets 40, Dolphins 37, OT | Oct. 23, 2000
The Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets each entered the game at 5-1 overall, with the AFC East lead up for grabs.
The Dolphins looked to be in control of the game, as they took a 23-7 lead into halftime and extended it to 30-7 through the third quarter on Lamar Smith's second rushing touchdown.
Vinny Testaverde, who had thrown three interceptions to that point, rallied the Jets to a 30-point fourth quarter, threw for 235 yards in the process and led four touchdown drives. A diving touchdown grab by Wayne Chrebet with 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter pulled the Jets even, but the Dolphins scored a touchdown 22 seconds later to regain the lead.
With 42 seconds remaining in regulation, the unlikeliest of players would tie the game for the Jets. Offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott reported as eligible on second-and-goal from the 3. He initially bobbled Testaverde's pass before hauling it in for six points.
In overtime, Jets cornerback Marcus Coleman recorded his second interception off Jay Fiedler to set up John Hall's game-winning, 40-yard field goal and cap off one of the more improbable comebacks in NFL history.
1. Swinging and missing: The release of wide receiver Stephen Hill underscored a shortcoming of the Rex Ryan regime -- the inability to develop offensive draft picks. In the first five drafts under Ryan, the Jets picked 19 players on offense, none of whom have developed into anything close to a Pro Bowl player. In fact, three of the four highest-drafted players are gone -- quarterback Mark Sanchez (first round, 2009), lineman Vladimir Ducasse (second, 2010) and Hill (second, 2012). The last hope from those drafts is quarterback Geno Smith (second, 2013). Running back Bilal Powell (fourth, 2011) and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (fifth, 2011) are nice role players, but they're not game changers.
There are a few reasons for the drought, namely: Instability (three offensive coordinators), a defensive-minded culture created by Ryan and, of course, questionable drafting. Hill was a big, big miss. He was actually the No. 14 player on their draft board, well ahead of fellow receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was picked by the Chicago Bears two spots after Hill (43rd overall). To be fair, many of the scouting services rated Hill over Jeffery. The Jets' mistake was trading two draft picks to move up and rushing him into the lineup with no fallback option. Hill never was the same after his killer drop as a rookie in New England.
3. Cornering the market on mistakes: General manager John Idzik deserves to be criticized for his handling of the cornerback situation, especially now that Dimitri (Don't Call Me AWOL) Patterson is a goner, but this whole Darrelle Revis angle is tired. That bridge was burned by both sides, and the Jets weren't interested in repairing it. I didn't criticize Idzik at the time, so I certainly won't second-guess him now. My problem is that his non-Revis plan wasn't any good. In free agency, he identified Patterson as a starting-caliber player even though he had only 20 career starts and had played with six teams in 10 years, wearing out his welcome in most places. (From what I understand, he was considered a diva around the Jets even before he went AWOL.) Instead of doubling down in the draft, Idzik didn't draft a corner until the third round -- the injury-prone Dexter McDougle, who is out for the season. How's it all working out?
4. Money for nothing: Unless they somehow recoup part of the signing bonus, the Jets wasted $1 million on Patterson, the same amount they wasted on Mike Goodson. Here's another way to look at it: For doing nothing, Patterson gets almost as much money as Muhammad Wilkerson gets this year for being the best player on the team -- $1.2 million. That's twisted.
5. 'Snacks' time is over: As of Saturday night, the Jets' 53-man roster had no undrafted rookies. They're one of only four teams with no UDFAs, according to Brian McIntyre, a contract and analytics expert. It's not all that surprising, considering the Jets didn't spend much in this area. Teams were allocated to spend up to $80,362 in signing bonuses, but the Jets doled out only $4,000, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Defensive end Anthony Grady ($2,500) and fullback Chad Young ($1,500) were the only UDFAs to receive a signing bonus; the other five UDFAs got nothing. Hey, a Damon (Snacks) Harrison doesn't come around every year.
6. Ex-Champ: The Jets need a cornerback and one of the best corners in recent memory is available, future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey, who was cut by the New Orleans Saints. It brings back memories of a mega trade that never happened. In 2004, former GM Terry Bradway spent a good amount of time at the scouting combine trying to deal for Bailey, whom the Washington Redskins eventually traded to the Denver Broncos. Bailey, 36, has slipped the past two years and probably wouldn't cure the Jets' problem.
7. No road trips for Rex: Remember last year, when Ryan created a firestorm by taking a trip on cutdown day to visit his son at Clemson? The coach took a lot of unwarranted criticism for that decision, and I think he was taken aback by the fallout. On Friday, he was asked if he was planning to travel to see Clemson at Georgia on Saturday.
"It’s safe to say if my son was playing in the game, I probably would have been there again," Ryan said.
Seth Ryan, a wide receiver, is out with a broken collarbone.
8. Middle-aged Jets: Philly.com did a study of all 32 rosters, as of Saturday night, ranking them based on age. Turns out the Jets are the 13th-youngest team in the league. The average age is 25.85 years, slightly older than last year (25.6, seventh youngest). That's exactly what you'd expect for a team in Year 2 of a rebuilding project.
9. Milliner on the shelf?: The early rumblings are that cornerback Dee Milliner (high-ankle sprain) won't be ready for the season opener.
10. Start the countdown: It's seven days to the season opener. Hey, Oakland, do you know who your quarterback is?
Adios, Dimitri: The Jets' decision to release cornerback Dimitri Patterson came as no surprise. Something had to be done, as he had lost the trust of people in the organization and players in the locker room. Here's the part no one is talking about: The Jets were willing to give him a second chance in the aftermath of AWOLGate. They wanted to see how he responded to the suspension. If he had accepted his punishment instead of kicking and screaming, he'd probably still be on the team. But he sealed his fate by dropping his bombshell of a statement, accusing the Jets of lying about the reason for his absence. Basically, he forced his way out. Good riddance.
Survival of the draft picks: Few jobs in America offer as much security as being a John Idzik draft pick. Surprisingly, 10 of the 12 picks remain, including two on injured reserve (wide receiver Shaq Evans and cornerback Dexter McDougle). In upsets, linebackers Jeremiah George, IK Enemkpali and Trevor Reilly survived the final cut, as did wide receiver Quincy Enunwa. This smacks of Idzik trying to protect his drafting record, but it also shows he's trying to develop the bottom of the roster. George, Enemkpali, Reilly and Enunwa will be this year's version of the Idzik Red Shirts (inactive on game day). The downside to this philosophy is that it eliminates useful veteran backups. Linebackers Garrett McIntyre and A.J. Edds lost their jobs because of the youth movement.
Surprise cut: Quarterback Matt Simms. The Jets are taking a calculated risk, hoping no one claims him on waivers. If not, he's likely to return on the practice squad. Under the new rules, Simms is eligible.
What's next: The Jets should send up an "S.O.S." flare regarding their cornerback position. After cutting Johnny Patrick and others, they're down to six corners, only two of whom have significant starting experience -- slot corner Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner, who might miss the opener because of a high-ankle sprain. The starters on the outside could be Darrin Walls and converted safety Antonio Allen, assuming he recovers from a concussion. The backups are Ellis Lankster and LeQuan Lewis. LeQuan Lewis? Yes, the Jets are desperate. Look for Idzik to import a functional veteran by the end of the weekend. Some folks are clamoring for Champ Bailey because he's a big name, but he's 36 years old and was cut by Ryan's brother, Rob, the New Orleans' Saints defensive coordinator. In other words, Rex has plenty of intel on what went wrong.
Jets' moves: Placed LB Antwan Barnes on the PUP list; Released Hill, Patterson, Simms, Edds, McIntyre, Patrick, WR Clyde Gates, RB Daryl Richardson, RB Alex Green, TE Chris Pantale, DE Zach Thompson, QB Tajh Boyd, DL Tevita Finau, S Rontez Miles, OT Brent Qvale, G Caleb Schlauderaff, DT Kerry Hyder, LB Troy Davis, CB Jeremy Reeves, G Will Campbell and CB Brandon Dixon.
Tajh Boyd, quarterback (sixth-round pick)
William Campbell, guard
Troy Davis, linebacker
Brandon Dixon, cornerback (sixth-round pick)
A.J. Edds, linebacker
Tevita Finau, defensive lineman
Clyde Gates, wide receiver/kickoff returner
Alex Green, running back
Stephen Hill, wide receiver
Kerry Hyder, defensive lineman
Garrett McIntyre, linebacker
Rontez Miles, safety
Chris Pantale, tight end
Johnny Patrick, cornerback
Dimitri Patterson, cornerback
Brent Qvale, tackle
Jeremy Reeves, cornerback
Daryl Richardson, running back
Caleb Schlauderaff, guard
Matt Simms, quarterback
Zach Thompson, defensive end
The New York Jets released suspended cornerback Dimitri Patterson on Saturday, ending a strange, tumultuous and brief chapter -- two days after he basically accused the team of spreading lies about his absence last week.
Patterson sealed his fate Thursday by releasing a statement in which he claimed the team's allegations he was AWOL for 48 hours last weekend were "completely false."
Two days earlier, Patterson was suspended through Sept. 1 by the team, which also slapped him with undisclosed additional discipline -- presumably a fine. The statement, however, further irked members of the organization.
Neither Rex Ryan nor general manager John Idzik were made available to comment on Patterson's release.
In March, the Jets signed Patterson to a one-year, $3 million contract, including a $1 million signing bonus. They expected him to replace Antonio Cromartie in the starting lineup. Patterson, 31, got off to a slow start in training camp, missed significant time with multiple leg injuries and didn't show up for the Aug. 22 home game against the New York Giants.
Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd, picked in the sixth round of this year's NFL draft, was among the players cut by the New York Jets. It came as no surprise, as Boyd struggled throughout training camp, losing the No. 3 quarterback job to Matt Simms.
On draft day, Ryan admitted he wanted Boyd on the team. The coach's son, Seth, is a wide receiver at Clemson, allowing Ryan to develop a relationship with Boyd. Ryan spoke effusively of Boyd, praising his intangibles, his mobility and his ability to throw the long ball.
But it quickly became apparent Boyd was overwhelmed by the transition to a pro-style offense after years in Clemson's spread-option.
Boyd played in two preseason games, completing eight of 17 passes for 98 yards, including one touchdown and no interceptions. His passer rating was 84.9. There's always a chance he could be added to the practice squad, assuming he clears waivers.
The Jets also announced the release of running back Alex Green, tight end Chris Pantale and defensive lineman Zach Thompson. Defensive lineman Tevita Finau also was released, according to his agent.
Stephen Hill's disappointing, two-year run with the New York Jets is over. The former second-round draft pick was waived Saturday, prompting one of his agents to lash out at the Jets and coach Rex Ryan.
Alan Herman claimed Hill, whom the Jets had been trying to trade for weeks, was victimized by circumstances and a lack of opportunity.
"I'm disappointed in Rex because I don't think he publicly supported Stephen like he should have," Herman told ESPN.com. "You never hear him call out his defensive guys. I don't see him criticizing Kyle Wilson or Quinton Coples. So, yeah, I'm disappointed. I think the Jets have to accept part of the blame. I think he deserved one more year. I just think the Jets should've stuck with him for another year."
Hill never was a Ryan favorite, going back as far as draft day, 2012. In a post-draft interview, Ryan questioned the decision to trade two draft choices to move up for Hill in the second round. Later, Ryan backtracked, saying Hill was rated highly on their draft board. In fact, he was rated 14th on the board, according to a source.
Herman also said Hill's development was undermined by the instability at quarterback.
"The quarterback situation with [Mark] Sanchez
All three veterans were thought to be in good position to make the team, especially Edds, who played well in the preseason. He played inside linebacker and contributed on special teams. His release likely means Nick Bellore's calf injury, sustained in the final preseason game, isn't serious. He also could open the door for fifth-round pick Jeremiah George, who had a non-descript training camp.
Richardson wasn't impressive in the preseason, but many figured he'd land the fourth tailback spot by default. He rushed a team-high 31 times for only 95 yards in the preseason, with a long run of only eight yards. He also caught three passes for 58 yards. His competition, Alex Green, also is likely to be released.
Patrick, whom the Jets acquired on waivers in the offseason, failed to capitalize on a wide-open cornerback position. That the Jets cut a healthy corner, considering the dire situation, shows how little they thought of Patrick.
There are many more cuts coming Saturday.
A quick look at some of the more intriguing decisions:
The Dimitri Patterson saga: Accusing your bosses of lying is never good for one's job security. Patterson should've handled his matter privately instead of calling out John Idzik and Rex Ryan. Idzik is old school -- he likes to keep family business in-house -- and he has to be fuming. But, unless another serviceable cornerback falls out of the sky, it would be a surprise if they cut him Saturday. Why give him a chance to catch on with another team? Let him stew and suffer the consequences.
The three-quarterback issue: They could use the roster spot elsewhere -- like, cornerback -- but it would be a surprise if third-stringer Matt Simms is released.
The Barnes dilemma: Eleven months removed from knee surgery, linebacker Antwan Barnes (on the physically unable to perform list) still isn't practicing. Ryan said he's impressed by Barnes' progress, but progress doesn't warrant a roster spot. It's all about production, so they have three primary options: Move him to the in-season PUP list (six weeks), place him on short-term injured reserve (eight weeks) or simply carry him on the 53-man roster. Look for the PUP list.
Safety dance: Former practice squad player Rontez Miles was one of the best players on the field in the final preseason game. Word has it he could replace Josh Bush as the fourth safety, behind Dawan Landry, Calvin Pryor and Jaiquawn Jarrett.