With preseason underway, we’ve been checking on the status of former Jets players with their new teams. Having looked at AFC teams a few days ago, we’ll be looking at NFC teams today.
As ever, this list is intended to be exhaustive, but if we missed anyone, let us know in the comments.
One of the highest-profile ex-Jets on another team is defensive lineman Leonard Williams who had the best year of his career with 11.5 sacks in 2020, earning himself a three-year extension after initially being franchised.
The Giants also signed cornerback Quincy Wilson and offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison to futures deals after having them on the practice squad last year and claimed two recent Jets releases in wide receiver Matt Cole and safety Jordyn Peters. Peters was released right before the first preseason game but re-signed before the last preseason game and had four tackles off the bench.
Williams only played briefly in the final preseason game, recording one tackle, while Harrison started the second game but missed the first one and came off the bench in the third. Wilson and Cole made an impact though. Wilson had seven tackles in week one and intercepted a pass in week two. However, he was placed on injured reserve after the second game. Cole was a revelation with four special teams tackles and a punt downed at the goal line in the first two games. The Giants have even been experimenting with him at cornerback and he had one tackle in that role in game two.
Washington added three ex-Jets to their ranks in the offseason, including quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been named as the starting quarterback. They also added Darryl Roberts to compete in the secondary and Jon Toth for offensive line depth.
Fitzpatrick went 12-for-21 for 154 yards in the first two preseason games before sitting out the third and Roberts led the team with four tackles in the second game and had nine including a tackle for loss in the third game. Toth came off the bench in each game, despite being cut and re-signed again since the second game.
The highest profile ex-Jet added to the Cowboys’ roster is edge defender Tarell Basham, who is looking to build on a solid 2020 season but did not play in preseason. Dallas also added cornerback Kyron Brown and have another cornerback in Maurice Canady, a 2020 signing who opted out, returning to the roster.
In addition, offensive lineman Eric Smith signed a futures deal after ending the season on the practice squad.
Smith gave up a sack in the first game and Canady broke up a pass in the second game and started the third one. Brown was waived after the first game.
Philadelphia signed Joe Flacco to back up Jalen Hurts but his status is uncertain following the Gardner Minshew trade.
They also had two ex-Jets on futures deals in wide receiver Deontay Burnett and defensive back Blake Countess, only to release both. However, they have since re-signed Countess.
In the first preseason game, Flacco passed for 178 yards and a touchdown, bolstered by a 79-yard score on a dump-off. However, in the second game he only completed 10 of 17 passes for 83 yards and had an interception and a fumble. He had an impressive performance against the Jets, completing 13-of-16 for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
Countess chipped in with 12 total tackles in the three preseason games, including seven in the first one.
The Packers bring back offensive lineman Ben Braden who was a late addition to their active roster last year and remains under contract for 2021. They also signed Bronson Kaufusi - now a tight end - to a futures deal. Both saw action in the all three preseason games with Braden earning a couple of starts at right tackle and Kaufusi starting the last game.
The Bears made a handful of additions to their front seven, albeit that none of the ex-Jets they acquired are likely to start. Defensive linemen Mike Pennel and Jeremiah Attaochu and linebackers Alec Ogletree and Austin Calitro were brought in to compete for a roster spot.
They also re-signed kicker Cairo Santos and long snapper Patrick Scales to bolster their special teams unit and signed safety Marqui Christian to a futures deal. Chicago also had cornerback Buster Skrine under contract, but have released him since the end of the season.
In the first preseason game, Santos made a 53-yard field goal and Scales had two special teams tackles. Santos also made two extra points in game three.
There were some good defensive contributions in that first game as Ogletree started and had four tackles including a tackle for loss and a pass breakup, Pennel had two tackles including a sack and Christian had three tackles including a forced fumble. Calitro added two tackles and Attaochu had a quarterback hit. Ogletree also gave up a 50-yard play in coverage and missed two tackles though.
In the second game, Christian led the Bears with eight tackles and added a pass defensed and Ogletree added three tackles. Pennel and Attaochu added one tackle each but Attaochu also jumped offside once. Pennel and Calitro were added to injured reserve a few days after the game though.
The third game saw Christian record seven tackles and a defensive penalty, but Ogletree and Attaochu did not play.
The Vikings made a move for defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson after he was released by Cleveland. In a less high-profile move, they also signed former Jets draft pick Parry Nickerson to compete for a role in the secondary.
Offensive lineman Dakota Dozier started every game for the Vikings and led them in offensive snaps in 2020 and they rewarded him by re-signing him at the end of the season.
Dozier had a rough start to the preseason with two penalties including one for a safety but played well in week two. In week three, he came off the bench and, bizarrely, caught a pass. Nickerson came off the bench in all three games and had a pick-six in game three while Richardson missed the first one but was in on a couple of run stops in the second one. In the third game, he jumped offside and batted down a pass at the line.
The Lions targeted a quartet of former Jets receivers during the offseason, the highest-profile of whom is Breshad Perriman. The other three - Kalif Raymond, Chad Hansen and Darius Jennings - would be fighting for a roster spot.
Detroit also signed Randy Bullock, who was briefly a Jet, to compete for their placekicker role.
Bullock made four of four kicks and also forced a turnover on a surprise onside kick but the receivers did not make much of an impact as they combined for just two catches for 11 yards in preseason. Perriman did have a 27-yard catch in the second game but he pushed off so it didn’t count. Hansen was released with an injury settlement a few days after the first game and Jennings was released after the second game. Reports Monday indicated that Perriman is also being released.
The Bucs re-signed the three ex-Jets from last year’s roster - nose tackle Steve McLendon, linebacker Kevin Minter and long snapper Zach Triner - after the season.
They also signed running back Troymaine Pope in May. The Bucs are the 27-year old’s eighth NFL team.
In the first preseason game Pope had a carry for no yards and an unsuccessful target and then didn’t play in game two after which he was placed on injured reserve. Minter had seven tackles including one for loss and two on special teams in the three games and Triner also had a tackle on special teams. McLendon started the second game but did not register any stats and sat out the other two.
The Falcons added linebacker Brandon Copeland and offensive lineman Josh Andrews to their roster during the offseason. Perhaps surprisingly, Andrews is currently listed as a starter at guard.
They also had guard James Carpenter on their roster and wide receiver Greg Dortch had signed a futures deal but both were released before training camp.
Andrews started all three preseason games but had a holding penalty in game one. Copeland came off the bench in each game and had four tackles in total.
Demario Davis remains one of the most successful ex-Jets players around the league and a key leader for a Saints team in rebuild mode. Defensive reinforcements were added to the secondary when they signed slot corner Brian Poole a few weeks ago.
They added a few other lower profile ex-Jets - receiver Chris Hogan, kicker Brett Maher and quarterback Trevor Siemian - along with bringing back running back/receiver Ty Montgomery on a one-year deal. He has been working at wide receiver again recently. Having opted out in 2020, tight end Jason Vander Laan was released after the season.
In the first preseason game, Montgomery caught two passes for 27 yards, Hogan caught one for five yards and Poole had two tackles. Davis and Siemian did not play. Maher made two extra points but was placed on injured reserve after the game anyway.
In their other preseason game, Montgomery racked up 53 yards on three catches. Davis made his first appearance and recorded a tackle and a quarterback hit. Siemian also played for the first time, completing four of eight passes for 59 yards. Hogan did not play and Poole limped off early on and ended up on injured reserve.
The Panthers (a.k.a. “Jets South”) already had a bunch of ex-Jets on their roster but the trade for quarterback Sam Darnold was just one of a handful of moves that added ex-Jets to their roster this offseason. They also signed offensive lineman Pat Elflein, edge defender Frankie Luvu, safety Doug Middleton and linebacker Jonathan Celestin.
This was already a team that featured wide receiver Robby Anderson, running back Trenton Cannon and safety Juston Burris. Linebacker Julian Stanford was out of contract at the end of the 2020 season but he was re-signed.
Celestin led the Panthers with seven tackles in their first preseason game, Luvu added a sack and Middleton had two tackles. Cannon handled kick return duties with one 35-yard return but Darnold, Anderson and the others all sat out.
In week two, Darnold threw just two passes, completing a 16-yarder to Anderson. Celestin had four tackles, including one for a loss, Luvu had three tackles, a hit, a pass defensed and a forced fumble, Middleton had five tackles and a tackle for loss and Stanford had two tackles. Elflein and Burris got the start but didn’t play much.
Darnold finally saw some extended action in the third game, completing 19-of-25 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Anderson. Elflein and Burris again made the start but Cannon didn’t play. Off the bench, Luvu had two tackles, including one for a loss, Stanford had three tackles and Celestin had one tackle. Celestin and Middleton were cut after the game.
Raheem Mostert has carved out a nice career for himself with the 49ers after being cast adrift by the Jets early on in his career. He returns for 2021, along with the re-signed edge rusher Jordan Willis and offensive lineman Tom Compton. Offensive linemen Dakoda Shepley and Corbin Kaufusi also signed futures deals.
Linebacker James Burgess was also a new addition but has been released since the first preseason game, despite starting and recording five tackles and a sack.
In that game, Willis also started and had half a sack, then added another sack for a safety and a run stuff in the second game and three tackles and another sack in game three. Mostert didn’t play in the first two games but saw action on the first drive of the third game as the 49ers marched downfield and scored on a 10-play drive with Mostert carrying seven times for 53 yards.
Compton, Kaufusi and Shepley all saw time off the bench in each game. Shepley had two false starts in the second game and Kaufusi gave up a sack in each of the first two games. Kaufusi was cut after game two but then re-signed a few days later.
John Wolford is back as the Rams’ backup quarterback, albeit with Matt Stafford now ahead of him instead of Jared Goff. He saw the first action of his NFL career when Goff was hurt late in the season.
The Rams also picked up edge rusher John Daka, who had signed a futures deal with the Jets but didn’t make it to camp. In the three games, Daka had nine tackles including two for loss and one on special teams. Wolford sat out all three preseason games though.
The Seahawks are another team with a bunch of ex-Jets, headlined of course by safety Jamal Adams who was just given a four-year, $70 million extension.
Tackle Brandon Shell also starts for the team, while Nick Bellore returns for an 11th season as a fullback/linebacker/special teams monster.
Kicker Jason Myers and backup quarterback Geno Smith were out of contract but each re-signed during the offseason with offensive lineman Brad Lundblade signing a futures deal after having been on the practice squad.
A further two ex-Jets were added during the offseason when Seattle signed edge defender Kerry Hyder and cornerback Pierre Desir.
In preseason, Myers made seven of eight kicks while Smith completed 15 of 25 passes for 136 yards in his two appearances. Lundblade came off the bench in all three games. Hyder played two games and had three tackles and a half sack and Bellore saw action in all three phases as he had 11 tackles in the last two games, including a team-high six in game three.
Adams and Shell did not play at all in preseason and Desir, who had one tackle in each game, was released after the second game.
Seattle also just signed tight end Ian Bunting who was briefly on the Jets’ practice squad two years ago and he saw action in the third game too.
Kelvin Beachum returns to Arizona after doing well at right tackle on a one-year deal in 2020. He’s joined by his former linemate Brian Winters, who signed during the offseason. The Cardinals also picked up tight end Ross Travis and receiver/return man Greg Dortch.
Beachum started both two preseason games but Winters did not play. Travis made an impact as he caught a 17-yard pass and a 20-yard touchdown pass on consecutive plays in the second preseason game. Dortch led the Cardinals with three catches for 44 yards in that game, all of which came in the second half. He had caught two passes for 27 yards and returned three punts for 35 yards in the opener.
We’ll update you again before the regular season gets underway.