With the postseason coming to a close, it’s time to recap how former Jets players who have since joined other NFL teams have fared. There was so much player movement this year that we’ve decided to split this up into sections this time and today we review defensive players from the NFC.
As ever, this list is intended to be exhaustive, but if we missed anyone, let us know in the comments.
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams started all 17 games for the Giants and set a career high by some margin with 81 tackles. However, his production for sacks (6.5) and quarterback hits (14) almost halved since last year. Williams added two forced fumbles, five tackles for loss and two passes defensed in another disappointing year for the Giants.
Defensive backs Quincy Wilson and Jordyn Peters did not see action as they spent time on the injured reserve and practice squad respectively. Williams is the only one of the three under contract for 2022.
Defensive back Darryl Roberts didn’t really see action until late in the year when he made three starts. In those games, he only gave up seven catches on 18 targets but they went for 20 yards per reception. He ended up with 12 tackles in six games.
Linebacker Milo Eifler was poached off Miami’s practice squad during the season and saw special teams action in three games but didn’t register any stats. He’s an exclusive rights free agent, while Roberts is an unrestricted free agent.
Edge defender Tarell Basham had a significant role with the Cowboys as he played in every game, starting six. He ended up with 39 tackles, 11 quarterback hits and 3.5 sacks. Basham also had three tackles for loss and forced and recovered a fumble.
Cornerback Maurice Canady saw some action in a reserve role. He ended up playing in eight games and recording six tackles but did give up a touchdown in coverage.
Also at cornerback, Kyron Brown spent the season on the practice squad and saw action in one game, although he only played special teams and didn’t register any statistics. Brown, who signed a futures deal, and Basham are under contract for 2022 but Canady is an unrestricted free agent.
The only defensive player the Eagles had that was an ex-Jet was defensive back Blake Countess who went onto and was released from from injured reserve.
The only ex-Jet the Packers had on defense during the season was defensive end Aaron Adeoye, who had two stints on the practice squad but did not see action and wasn’t retained.
They did also have former Jets defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, but he’s a tight end now so we’ll discuss him in the offensive installment.
Surprisingly, Alec Ogletree had a productive year as he started 16 games and was second on the team with 87 tackles. Ogletree added five tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, four passes defensed and a forced fumble.
Edge rusher Jeremiah Attaochu, was placed on injured reserve in October with a season-ending torn pectoral muscle. Attaochu had just two tackles and one quarterback hit in the first five games in a reserve role.
Safety Marqui Christian started the opener at safety but otherwise only played any defensive reps in three other games. He was a core special teamer though and ended the season with 12 tackles and a pass defensed.
Of the three, Attaochu is the only one under contract for 2022, although he might be a potential cap casualty.
Edge rusher John Daka was a late addition to the practice squad but he didn’t see action and wasn’t retained.
Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was a reserve for much of the year but ended up starting seven games. He registered an unspectacular 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks but was second on the team in quarterback hits with 13 and third in tackles for loss with six. He also had four passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Defensive back Parry Nickerson played in four games, during which he had one tackle and was on the field for 17 defensive snaps in total.
Nickerson is under contract for 2022 but Richardson’s contract voids automatically at the end of the 2021 season.
The Lions claimed defensive back and kick returner Corey Ballentine from the Jets before the season. He was exclusively used on special teams, as was the case with the Jets, returning four kickoffs for 94 yards in four games.
Former Jets safety Godwin Igwebuike was also on the Lions in 2021 but he’s a running back now, so we’ll discuss him when we cover the NFC’s offense.
Nose tackle Steve McLendon was used in a reserve role this year and had 11 tackles and five quarterback hits in 12 games. He also had a tackle for loss, half a sack, an interception, a pass defensed and a forced fumble.
Linebacker Kevin Minter got to start five games down the stretch when Lavonte David was injured. He ended up with 40 tackles, three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and a sack.
Two ex-Jets cornerbacks were promoted from the practice squad during the year and held up surprisingly well considering their struggles with the Jets. Pierre Desir played 12 games, starting two, and had 28 tackles, four pass breakups and a forced fumble while Rashard Robinson had four tackles in seven games. He gave up one catch in 25 snaps on defense.
Robinson signed a futures deal after the season but the other three are out of contract.
Linebacker Brandon Copeland started three games but was mostly in a reserve role with the Falcons. He ended up with 39 tackles, four tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and two pass breakups in 16 games.
Defensive tackle Mike Pennel joined the team in the middle of the season and racked up 21 tackles in 10 games off the bench. He and Copeland are both out of contract.
Demario Davis was named as an all-pro for the third straight year (this time as a second-teamer) but once again didn’t get to go to the pro bowl. He led the Saints with 105 tackles in 16 games and was tied for the team lead with 13 tackles for loss. He also added 10 quarterback hits, seven pass breakups and three sacks.
The team also added edge defender Sharif Finch late in the season and he saw action in one game, recording five tackles in 19 defensive snaps. Finch signed a futures deal after the season and Davis still has two years left on his contract.
Cornerback Brian Poole did not play for the team and was eventually released from injured reserve.
Safety Juston Burris missed several games due to injury but ultimately made eight starts for the Panthers in 2021. He had 23 tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and an interception in 10 games overall.
Edge defender Frankie Luvu showed some playmaking ability over the course of the season in a regular rotational role that saw him start four times. He had 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 16 games. Luvu added eight tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, three fumble recoveries, a pass defensed and a forced fumble.
Linebacker Julian Stanford played in every game but only played more than five defensive snaps twice and did not start any games. He ended up with 14 tackles and a forced fumble. Stanford, Luvu and Burris are all out of contract.
Safety Doug Middleton had two stints on the practice squad but did not play and wasn’t retained.
Defensive end Jordan Willis missed the start of the season due to a suspension but made a name for himself in the playoffs with his crucial blocked punt against the Packers. During the regular season, he played in 10 games in a reserve role. He had 15 tackles, five quarterback hits, three sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Safety Jarrod Wilson was also added late in the year, ending the season on the practice squad. He had three tackles in five games, including one in the postseason, but only played eight defensive snaps. Wilson wasn’t retained and Willis is out of contract.
Cornerback Buster Skrine was with the team for less than two weeks before being cut. He only played special teams in his one appearance.
The 49ers also added Middleton to their practice squad briefly but did not use or retain him.
The Rams didn’t have any ex-Jets on defense during the regular season but they added defensive back Blake Countess and he’s played for them in each of their playoff games, albeit just as a special teamer elevated from the practice squad. He hasn’t generated any stats.
It was a rough year for Seattle and particularly safety Jamal Adams, who missed five games, saw his pass rush production plummet, and had some struggles in coverage. Adams still filled out the stat sheet with 87 tackles, four tackles for loss, five passes defensed and two interceptions. However, it was disappointing by his standards and his pass rush production (no sacks and only two hits) was way down.
Edge defender Kerry Hyder started seven games and recorded 33 tackles, 11 quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks. He also had two fumble recoveries and three tackles for loss in his 15 appearances.
Cornerback Blessuan Austin was claimed right before the opener and played in 11 games, starting one. He had 10 tackles. Austin is a restricted free agent while Hyder and Adams are under contract for 2022.
Linebacker Edmond Robinson was signed to the practice squad in November and elevated three times although he only played on special teams. He had one tackle but wasn’t retained on a futures deal.
Former Jets linebacker Nick Bellore was with the team again but he is a fullback these days, so we’ll discuss him when we look at the NFC’s offense.
Finally, Arizona didn’t have any ex-Jets on defense in 2021.
We’ll be back with part three in a few days...