Now that the season is over, it’s time to update you on former Jets players, how they performed during the 2023 season and their current contractual status heading into next year. We’ll look at ex-Jets players on NFC teams this week, starting with offense today and continuing with defense in a day or two. We’ll then be moving on to look at players on AFC teams and special teamers in due course.
As ever, this list is intended to be exhaustive, but if we missed anyone, let us know in the comments.
Tight end Lawrence Cager played in a career high 11 games, but caught just four passes for 36 yards, although he did score a touchdown. Having been up and down between the roster and practice squad all season, Cager is now a restricted free agent.
Tackle Yodny Cajuste spent time on the practice squad but didn’t play. He signed a futures deal after the season so is under contract for 2024.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder made some plays on special teams, but he had a minor role on offense with just 16 catches for 159 yards and a score, although he did have an 80 percent catch rate. He is now a free agent.
Tight end Brandon Dillon is an exclusive rights free agent after spending the year on injured reserve, but he has only played in one NFL game since 2020, so a return seems unlikely.
Offensive lineman Chuma Edoga is a free agent after a season where he started six games: two at left guard and four at left tackle. He gave up three sacks and had three penalties in over 400 snaps.
Offensive linemen Adam Pankey and Dakoda Shepley were late season additions to the practice squad but neither played in 2023. Shepley signed a futures deal after the season.
The Eagles made three late season additions to their practice squad; tight end EJ Jenkins, and offensive linemen Ross Pierschbacher and Jason Poe. None of these three played in 2023 but Jenkins and Poe, who have yet to make their NFL debuts, re-signed on futures deals.
The Packers had running back James Robinson on their practice squad and he was elevated for one game, but he only played four offensive snaps. His only two touches were a two-yard run and a catch for a two-yard loss. He was released soon after this and ended the season with the New Orleans Saints.
Offensive lineman Dan Feeney, who was acquired via trade in the offseason, started one game at center and played 91 offensive snaps in the 2023 season. He gave up a sack and had a holding penalty in his only start and is now a free agent.
The Vikings are one of just three NFC teams that didn’t have any ex-Jets on offense all year.
Wide receiver Kalif Raymond saw his playing time on offense drop in 2023, but he still made some good contributions with 35 catches, 489 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. He also rushed for 75 yards and contributed on special teams. Raymond didn’t make much of an impact in the postseason with no catches, but he is still under contract for 2024.
Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater already confirmed he intends to retire at the end of the season and plans to go into coaching. He only saw action in one game in the victory formation in 2023.
Running back Zonovan Knight spent most of the year on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury following his promotion to the active roster. In two appearances, he had 13 yards on three carries and an eight-yard catch. He is now an exclusive rights free agent.
Tight end Anthony Firkser was a late season addition and ended up playing in two regular season and three postseason games, although he caught just one pass for eight yards in a total of 31 offensive snaps. He’s now out of contract.
Tampa Bay Bucs:
Quarterback John Wolford spent the year on the Bucs’ practice squad, but didn’t see action in 2023 and is now a free agent.
Running back Godwin Igwebuike was briefly on the Falcons’ practice squad and played in two games earlier in the season but he was only on the field for two offensive snaps. He ended up with the Steelers.
New Orleans Saints:
As noted above, running back James Robinson ended up on the Saints’ practice squad and, while he didn’t play for them, he did sign a futures deal after the season.
The Panther are another team that went through the entire 2023 season without any offensive players who were former Jets on their roster, practice squad or reserve lists.
Quarterback Sam Darnold was the 49ers number two quarterback all season and got a chance to start their last game of the season with starters being rested. He passed for 189 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a score, but he fumbled twice and the 49ers lost 21-20 to the Rams.
Prior to that game, Darnold also had a garbage time appearance against the Ravens where he passed for 81 yards and a score but also threw a bad interception. He was 4-for-6 for 27 yards in mop-up duties in other games. Darnold completed 61 percent of his passes and averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt. He’s now out of contract.
The 49ers also added veteran offensive lineman Jesse Davis to their practice squad late in the season. He was elevated for one game, in which he just played on special teams.
The Rams are the third and final NFC team that hasn’t had any ex-Jets on offense either.
Quarterback Geno Smith didn’t quite emulate his 2022 season, but he was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl after a season where he passed for over 3,600 yards and 20 touchdowns despite missing two games. Smith, who also rushed for a touchdown, led a career-high (and league-leading) four fourth quarter comebacks as he posted an 8-7 record as a starter, and he only threw nine interceptions. However, his completion percentage dropped from a league-best 70 percent in 2022 to just under 65 percent. He is still under contract.
Fullback Nick Bellore played just four offensive snaps all season, but he also played defense and went to the Pro Bowl for his special teams contributions. He remains under contract for 2024.
Running back Michael Carter was a midseason pickup after being waived by the Jets. In six games with Arizona, he contributed 182 yards from scrimmage as he averaged 6.8 yards per carry and caught nine passes for 33 yards and a touchdown. His best game, against the Eagles, saw him rush for 61 yards on seven carries and add a six-yard touchdown catch. He remains under contract.
Offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum lost his starting role in camp and didn’t play until midseason, but ended up making two starts at left tackle and playing over 200 snaps. He gave up two sacks and had one offensive penalty. Beachum remains under contract for 2024.
Waiver claim Trystan Colon played over 300 snaps and started four games at left guard. He also played seven snaps at center. Colon also gave up two sacks and had one penalty but is now out of contract.
Wide receiver Greg Dortch barely featured on offense in the first half of the year after a breakout 52-catch season in 2022. He had just one catch for two yards in the first nine games. However, he stepped up in the second half of the year and ended up with 24 catches for 280 yards and two scores. Dortch, who is now an exclusive rights free agent, also rushed once for five yards and contributed as a return man.
Wide receiver Jeff Smith was signed to the practice squad, but he did not play, and center Pat Elflein spent the entire year on injured reserve. Smith signed a futures deal after the season.
Up next: Part II will look at ex-Jets defensive players who spent time on NFC teams this season.