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NY Jets: Young Guys Who Aren't Young

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There is a hue and cry being raised in Jets land.  Hoist the unproductive veterans by their petards (does anyone actually know what a petard is?) and play the young developmental players!   For the record, the phrase hoist them by their own petards derives, like so much of the English language, from Shakespeare.  Specifically, the line comes from Hamlet, Act III, Scene 4

For 'tis sport to have the engineer

Hoist with his own petard, and it shall go hard

But I will delve one yard below their mines

And blow them at the moon

Prince Hamlet has discovered that his uncle the King of Denmark's hapless messengers, Hamlet's childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are carrying instructions to the King of England, instructing him to kill Hamlet.  Hamlet intercepts the instructions and alters them to instruct the King of England to kill Rosencrantz and Guildenstern instead.  An engineer, as referenced in the first line, works with small explosives (petards) to clear and level land.   The petards are the engineer's instruments of destruction, just as the letters of instruction are the instruments of the unwitting messengers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's destruction.  Young Hamlet is reveling in the fate he has in store for his childhood friends, the hapless messengers, who are plotting to have him killed, but who will instead be killed themselves. Their "petard" will hoist them to the moon; i.e., they will be blown up by their own instruments of destruction. Hamlet's going all Clint Eastwood on them here.

But I digress.

Where were we? Ah yes, the young players.  One of the problems with the construction of the Jets roster is that many of the so called young developmental players aren't all that young and probably won't develop much.  Specifically the following players may not be as young and developmental as you think.

Antonio Allen

Our old friend Antonio. What the heck is he doing on the roster?  Antonio Allen will turn 29 years old during the 2017 season. He is far closer to the end of his career than the beginning.  Now in his 5th NFL season, there is no developmental aspect left to him.  Allen barely plays, he's recorded all of one tackle all season.  He's not young, he's not developmental, he'll be a free agent at the end of the year; why is Allen on the roster?

Deon Simon

Simon is already 26 years old.  He'll turn 27 over the coming summer.  Simon is older than Sheldon Richardson, and just half a year younger than Muhammad Wilkerson.  Simon is stuck behind Steve McLendon, and barely plays.  I like Simon as a player.  It might be better if McLendon were not here.  But since McLendon is here, and has a low cap hit that would entail some dead money if cut, Simon may be stuck with few opportunities through the 2017 season.  At that point Simon would be turning 28 before he ever got an opportunity, not the ideal age to just be starting out in the NFL.

Rontez Miles

I like Miles too.  He's done a nice job in a limited role.  But like Simon he is stuck behind a player who it seems will be ahead of him for a while in the person of Calvin Pryor.  Miles just turned 28 years old a few days ago.  He'll be 29 in the 2017 season, when he will presumably still be a backup.  By the time he gets an opportunity to play a large role with the Jets he will be at least 30 years old.  That is, if he ever gets an opportunity.  Miles is a free agent after the 2017 season.

Mike Catapano

Catapano is now in his 4th year out of college, and has yet to make any impact whatsoever at the NFL level.  Despite getting opportunities this year with the Jets, Catapano has made no impact, registering just two tackles and zero sacks all year.  Catapano will turn 27 years old and will be in his 5th year in 2017.  Despite a nice underdog story, there really is no upside with Catapano at this stage of his career.  Catapano will be a free agent at the end of this season.