Josh Mauga is a good example of how the ability to play special teams gives you a chance to become a regular player in the NFL. During his career, Mauga has been a solid special teams player. When you are a backup, your only chance to make a positive impact on a team is contributing on special teams. It keeps you on a roster because you are useful. When you are on the roster, you can eventually make an impression on the coaches at your regular position.
Mauga has lasted this long due to his special teams work. He has gotten a chance to earn a spot on the field. So far he has not taken advantage of that opportunity. His time is running out. Mauga will be 26 when the season starts. His 2011 ended in October with a torn pectoral muscle.
Mauga is a restricted free agent. Even if the Jets put a low tender on him, it would be difficult to imagine another team wanting him badly. On the off chance, another team does, Mauga is expendable. If not, I am fine with him getting one last year to make an impact. If he fails to do so, a younger player who can play special teams with more upside can get his spot.