Defensive Line (6)
- Muhammad Wilkerson (DE)
- Sheldon Richardson (DE)
- Leonard Williams (DE)
- Steve McLendon (NT/DT)
- Jarvis Jenkins (DT)
- Deon Simon (NT)
There isn’t a real defensive lineman of note that’ll be cut come early September.
Playing a base 3-4, six should be the number of defensive lineman kept. Five could be the number that are active come Sundays.
Although Muhammad Wilkerson has a legitimate gripe over how the franchise has treated him over these last two years, he won’t be able to pass up $15.701 million this season. The massive amount of money coupled with the idea Maccagnan will not blink first thanks to the Jets incredible depth on the inside, Big Mo will be atop the depth chart when the time comes.
Inside Linebackers (4)
- Taiwan Jones (ILB)
Not only do inside linebackers make up for two spots in a 3-4, but they are relied heavily upon in special teams.
If Bruce Carter wants to make sure he’ll make the cut, he’ll have to beat out Taiwan Jones. Both guys are fast, but Carter has blazing 4.57 second 40-yard speed and the Jets desperately want to become a faster team. Also, Carter is a traditional outside linebacker in a 4-3 set, something the Jets might mix in a decent amount in 2016.
David Harris, Erin Henderson and Darron Lee are locks. Henderson finds himself safe thanks to Lee’s undersized frame and inexperience in a 3-4. There really isn’t anybody else who can start immediately next to Harris in the base.
Outside Linebackers (4)
- Deion Barnes (OLB)
Many are reporting that although veteran Trevor Reilly started out OTAs as the starter opposite Lorenzo Mauldin, he’s actually fallen out of favor.
I don’t buy for one second he’ll be cut.
Bowles loves his steady veterans, and when it comes to Reilly, he’s both steady and a veteran. He’s not a great pass rusher off the edge but represents a solid run stuffing outside linebacker – something that is a stark contrast of the Mauldins of the world.
As a third-round selection, Jordan Jenkins is completely safe. Freddie Bishop is the wildcard. Deion Barnes can easily make the squad, but it’ll either be him or Reilly who most likely gets the axe.
The Jets could keep five instead of four here, but keeping four QBs will make that tough.