This week the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers held shared training camp practices against one another prior to their preseason matchup. Like most of these shared practices, the matchups receiving the most media attention were the reps between the expected starters on each team.
However, an underrated and under-discussed aspect of these practices is that each team gets additional time to see the back-end roster players. This is important because those are the types of players who typically fall victim to the numbers crunch on cut-down day. This extra bit of intel can help a team land a useful player that other teams may know less about. In one example of this intel potentially paying off, the New York Giants snagged safety Jason Pinnock from the Jets following their shared 2022 practices. Pinnock has since gone on to earn a starting position with the Giants, which is a huge return on investment for a waiver wire pickup.
With this in mind, I looked around to find a list of Panthers players who might be on the roster bubble and who could be of interest to the Jets. The longest list I could find came from Mike Kaye of the Charlotte Observer, who identified 12 returning players who could be cut:
- Quarterback Matt Corral
- Running back Spencer Brown
- Wide receiver Laviska Shenault
- Wide receiver Shi Smith
- Tight end Giovanni Ricci
- Guard Michael Jordan
- Nose tackle Bravvion Roy
- Linebacker Brandon Smith
- Linebacker Chandler Wooten
- Outside linebacker Amare Barno
- Cornerback Keith Taylor
- Cornerback Stanley Thomas-Oliver
Of these players, there are a handful who might be of interest to the New York Jets if they were to be cut.
- Quarterback Matt Corral
Why? Well, for starters, the New York Jets current QB3 is Tim Boyle. Needless to say, there is considerable room for improvement from Tim Boyle. Is Matt Corral that guy? Who is to say at this time, but Corral’s college reputation as a smart and reliable player could be enough to win over the Jets brass in their limited practices.
2. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault
Why? While Shenault has bounced around team to team, his performance hasn’t really been too bad. Reaching back just to 2021, Shenault seemed like an up and coming wide receiver, coming off two 600+ receiving yard seasons. However, in 2022 he was traded to Carolina and saw his production fall to just over 200 yards receiving despite playing in 13 games.
What Shenault may have going for him with the Jets is that the back end of their wide receiver room is a bit up in the air, leaving room for Shenault to impress Jets brass with his ability to both run and catch the ball out of the wide receiver spot in a way that is reminiscent of recent Jets acquisition Mecole Hardman. Additionally, the Jets are in the process of naming a new kick returner after cutting wide receiver Braxton Berrios and Shenault does have some returning experience (albeit minimal at the pro level with only three kick returns to his name).
3. Wide receiver Shi Smith
Why? Much like Shenault, Smith could benefit from the uncertainty around the back end of the Jets wide receiver depth chart. While his track record of success is basically non-existent (400 receiving yards across the last two seasons), much like Shenault, he does have some returning experience that could appeal to the Jets.
4. Nose tackle Bravvion Roy
Why? As it currently stands the Jets are a bit light in the interior defensive lineman category with Quinnen Williams, Al Woods, and Quinton Jefferson as the only three true interior lineman who are expected to make the roster. Beyond that, head coach Robert Saleh loves guys who can rush the passer. While Bravvion Roy isn’t much to write home about, he has scored a Pro Football Focus grade of 60+ as a pass rusher in each of the last three seasons, which could appeal to the Jets.
5. Linebacker Brandon Smith
Why? Much like the previous players named, Smith could benefit from the lack of depth that the Jets currently have at his position. As it currently stands, linebackers CJ Mosley and Quincy Williams seem like the only two “locks” to make the team with Jamien Sherwood looking like the third most likely despite only logging 31 total tackles over the last two years. As it pertains to Brandon Smith, he hasn’t performed well to date, but he is a super athlete and the Jets love super athletes; perhaps Saleh sees a piece of clay that he thinks he can mold.
Honorable mention to Chandler Wooten who could also benefit from the Jets linebacker depth but who I can’t find any substantial information on.