Tanner Purdum was a popular Jet, both with his teammates and with the fans. Purdum played seven seasons at long snapper, rarely making an error. He was the last remaining link to the 2010 AFC Championship Game Jets team until he was cut this preseason in favor of a younger guy, 23 year old Thomas Hennessy.
Hennessy has made the transition seamless, as he has done flawless work at long snapper this season. One of the reasons the Jets traded for Hennessy was his youth and relatively cheap salary. Another was that the Jets thought Hennessy was a better downfield tackler than Purdum. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Hennessy’s tackling on a punt return Sunday resulted in him sustaining a concussion, and just might have opened the door a crack for his predecessor to return to the Jets.
Concussions are tricky things; a concussion might not keep you out of next week’s game, or it might end your season, or even your career. We don’t yet know how severe Hennessy’s concussion is. Perhaps he will be back in there on Sunday. But if Hennessy is sidelined by this injury the Jets have some roster juggling to do.
Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley will be returning from a four week suspension this week. The Jets must either cut Kerley or return him to the 53 man roster by the end of the football week. In addition the Jets may need a roster spot for a new long snapper. Tight end Eric Tomlinson did about as well as could be expected as an emergency replacement for Hennessy last Sunday, in that the Jets managed to avoid disaster on punts. But given Tomlinson’s, ahem ... shall we say, somewhat erratic snaps, it is probably safe to assume the Jets do not want Tomlinson snapping in the future, if for no other reason than to preserve punter Lachlan Edwards’ health. So if Hennessy is out, the Jets will need a new long snapper for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, and depending on the severity of Hennessy’s injury, perhaps for the rest of the 2017 season.
One roster spot will be opened up when the Jets inevitably place Josh McCown on the injured reserve list. However, assuming the Jets don’t wish to cut Jeremy Kerley, the Jets will need at least two roster spots if Hennessy can’t go on Sunday. Perhaps the Jets will place Hennessy on injured reserve, or perhaps the Jets won’t activate Kerley until Monday, the last day Kerley must be either cut or activated, thereby eliminating the need for a second roster spot on Sunday. Either way, if Hennessy can’t go the Jets will need a long snapper. Fortunately for the Jets one just happens to be available. He has seven years experience at the highest level, is familiar with the Jets coaches, front office and players, and is a fan favorite. He rarely makes mistakes and he is currently unemployed. I have no inside knowledge of this whatsoever, but if Hennessy can’t go on Sunday, it won’t come as a shock if we see the welcome site of Tanner Purdum taking up his old spot on special teams and once again snapping those tight spirals to Lachlan Edwards.