With the New York Jets’ focus on an Aaron Rodgers trade — and everything else that comes with it — the organization has seen a sort of exodus of veteran depth.
Now, let me prelude this by saying that most Jets fans would take Rodgers over these role players and backups as a sort of calculated sacrifice any day of the week, but general manager Joe Douglas will still have some work to do in restocking his roster once the quarterback position is secured.
The latest departure was reported on by Miami Dolphins ESPN beat reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques, who revealed that his “source confirms the Dolphins are signing OL Dan Feeney, a versatile interior lineman who has played for both the [Los Angeles] Chargers and the Jets during his six year NFL career.”
ESPN’s Rich Cimini chimed in quickly, informing: “Spent two seasons with the Jets in a backup role. Started 2 games last season. Played 109 snaps on offense. Noted #Islanders fan.”
Jets’ Dan Feeney Follows Mike White to Dolphins
Like backup quarterback Mike White, who also signed in Miami, Feeney became something of a cult hero during his time in New York — but on a much lesser scale. Before long, the interior blocker became known for his elite mullet and mustache, as well as his ability to chug beers at hockey games.
As a player, he was less regarded, frustrating fans more often than not. Having said that, his ability to play both center and guard in a pinch was useful — to say the least.
No one will shed a tear over Feeney’s departure but make no mistake, his role must be replaced. The Jets currently need at least two new additions on the O-line that can play center, and potentially another guard depending on who they sign or draft at center. Remember, G Nate Herbig left in free agency as well, and C Connor McGovern remains unsigned.
Douglas could also use more depth at offensive tackle, considering his current starters are Duane Brown (38 in August and coming off shoulder surgery) and Mekhi Becton (has not started a game since Week 1 of 2021). Behind them is second-year OT Max Mitchell and practice squad veteran Eric Smith.
Jets WR Jeff Smith Signing With Giants in Free Agency
Another recent departure was wide receiver Jeff Smith, who the Jets decided not tender in 2023. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the core special teamer is “staying in New York — and signing with the [New York] Giants, per source.”
NFL reporter Aaron Wilson later added that Smith’s new contract would be a one-year deal that includes: “$1.2M [overall], $1.175M salary, $25,000 workout bonus, [and] $300K playtime incentive.”
Smith was a polarizing figure during the Denzel Mims debate — as the special teamer was often activated over Mims in 2021 and 2022. He didn’t get too much burn on offense during his four-year career with the Jets, but did catch 34 passes for 426 yards and 21 first downs.
Having said that, Smith was not always reliable during his opportunities with a 50.7% catch rate according to Pro Football Reference, and a general failure to stand out as a gunner on punt return coverage.
As we enter the official second day of NFL free agency, Feeney and Smith join an increasingly long list of Jets veterans that have decided to latch on elsewhere. So far, that group of departures includes: White, Herbig, DT Sheldon Rankins, DT Nathan Shepherd, RB James Robinson, and roster cuts like WR Braxton Berrios.