The New York Jets announced cuts this morning with two notable names, KR/RB Joe McKnight and G Stephen Peterman, being among those cut..
McKnight was among the cuts that seem to have caught some off guard due to his performance as a kick returner, but followers of the Jets would know that McKnight has been on thin ice since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. McKnight battled conditioning problems early in his career with the Jets and some openly wondered if he would make the team in 2010. McKnight could never crack the offensive rotation and in 2012 was taken off the offense and moved to Cornerback in an experiment that ended rapidly.
McKnight’s champion in the organization was special teams coach Mike Westhoff who had lost his primary return, Brad Smith, man in 2011 to free agency. Westhoff had a long line of impressive kick returners with the Jets including Chad Morton, Leon Washington, Justin Miller, Smith, and finally McKnight. Westhoff retired this past season and with massive front office turnover in the organization with no ties to McKnight it was going to be difficult for him to keep his spot.
McKnight’s training camp and preseason was somewhat bizarre, again failing conditioning tests and then battling migraines and eventually a concussion. He was activated for the Jets last preseason game against the Giants but was not used as the Jets were clearly trying out other players in his return role.McKnight will carry a $125,250 dead money charge on the Jets salary cap. McKnight will be exposed to waivers where he would likely be claimed as he is only making the minimum salary, $630,000, for the season.
More surprising was the release of Peterman, who up until just a few days ago was the teams starting Guard. Peterman worked the week practicing as a backup Center with the public stance being that he was going to be used in emergencies in the event Nick Mangold was injured. The Jets started Vlad Ducasse in his place on Saturday it was assumed so Ducasse could get some work with the first unit while Peterman could work as a Center with the backups. As things turned out it may have been more of an audition for Ducasse and G Brian Winters to take the job away from Peterman.