Being a good football team means making tough decisions, and that is exactly the type of decision that the Jets made today.
The team has decided to release Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, and Jason Taylor today, and may release Vernon Gholston.
Let's look at each cut one at a time.
Vernon Gholston is obviously one of the more glaring names on this list. The former first-round, and overall number four pick in the 2007 NFL entry draft, has been an obvious disappointment to the Jets and their fans.
With obvious size, speed, and strength, Gholston shined at the NFL combine in 2007. Since he was drafted however, Gholston has been largely invisible. Spending time on the inactive list and watching the team add veterans who play his defensive end pass-rushing position, led one to believe the organization was losing patience with Gholston, and now may be the time to part ways.
Jason Taylor signed a two-year deal with the Jets this offseason, and contributed what he could to this year's team. Obviously aging, and slowed as a 15-year NFL veteran, Taylor contributed five sacks this season, and provided a presence on the line for the Jets.
However, the Jets need to find younger players who play at an elite level on the line. Rex Ryan's defense is about pass-rushing, and creating pressure with the front-four. Jason Taylor simply can't do that on his own anymore.
Unfortunately, Kris Jenkins had to go. The 11-year vet had the ability to dominate games with his size and strength at the nose-tackle position in the 3-4 defense.
However, he has been sidelined for the season with knee issues for two straight years, and nose-tackle is too important of a position in the Rex Ryan 3-4 scheme. He is just too big of a risk at his size, and the Jets need to get younger and healthier at the position.
Damien Woody was a good guy and good player for the Jets. His absence in the AFC championship game in Pittsburgh hampered the Jets' ability to run their offense. It was asserted that Wayne Hunter, who replaced Woody at tackle, was tipping run plays during the game.
Woody did a very nice job for the Jets, and will be tough to replace. But at 33 years old, the Jets wanted to rid of him too early, rather than too late.
At a glance, the names the Jets cut or will cut looks daunting to replace. But this Tannenbaum, Ryan, and Woody Johnson-run New York Jets' brass is a group committed to winning and Jets' fans should trust that these men will be replaced with quality football players.