On ESPN New York, writer Rich Cimini gave his projected 53-man roster for the New York Jets, and one of the biggest omissions from the list was wide receiver Chaz Schilens. The injury-prone wideout was signed this offseason to help give the Jets solid depth at the position, and Cimini notes that the Jets would owe $500,000 to Schilens if they cut him. Even so, he believes that Schilens won’t make the roster if the team decides to keep five wide receivers on the roster.
While he is talented and has held a significant role with an NFL team in the past, Chaz Schilens is a huge unknown because he is too injury-prone. He looked good in training camp, but Schilens was supposed to be a big-play deep-threat for the Raiders and ended being more tame than that- likely due to injury.
Wide receiver Patrick Turner looked great in the Jets first preseason game, and he is the main source of competition for Schilens. Rookie seven-rounder Jordan White has a chance at getting significant reps in the slot, but the solid Jeremy Kerley is slotted comfortably in there once he returns from a hamstring injury.
The wide receiver corps is crowded, and picking five wide receivers and leaving one out will be a difficult decision for the Jets. Schilens is a quality veteran receiver to have as a No. 4 wideout, but White has potential and can play the slot and Turner has been doing well this offseason.
In the end, the Jets should probably have six wide receivers on the 53-man roster. There are a lot of question marks beyond Santonio Holmes, so having a you-know-what-you-get veteran in Chaz Schilens on the roster is a good safety net option for the Jets. You never know how young wideouts like White or Turner will pan out, but the problem is judging whether Schilens is healthy enough. He doesn’t have much upside at this stage, but he’s still a good enough wideout to get some snaps and make a positive impact as a No. 4 wide receiver.
If the Jets are only going to keep four wideouts, then it’s all about dropping one guy between White, Turner, and Schilens. Kerley is clearly the team’s starting slot receiver and Holmes could receive some looks there, but White did well in camp for the Jets and the coaches like his upside. Turner has developed well recently for the Jets and, again, looked solid in the first preseason game. As for Schilens, he’s the safest bet of these guys to produce, but he has limited upside and is not the safest bet to be healthy.
But to me, the fact that Schilens has proven himself in the past to be a quality wide receiver for a team, even if it’s the Raiders, is enough to warrant a roster spot; easily. He’s the only sure thing out of those receivers, as he’s been in the league for four years and is a consistent wideout who has always had solid catch rates (completion percentage on throws to him, around 66-67%). White has a lot of upside, but he’s a rookie who should get put on the practice squad and develop there; he’s not ready for the 53-man roster yet.
If the New York Jets want to make their wide receiver corps look more sure-handed, then Chaz Schilens is the easy choice. I can see why someone would take White or Turner over him, but “upside” is a too broad term to be kicking around, especially if it involves cutting an above-average veteran. Besides, it’s not the best idea for the Jets to cut and owe a wideout $500,000 when they just signed him this offseason.’