It’s always more intriguing when a released player ends up with a division rival. Can the new team untap the talents that the old team couldn’t? Will he be that much more motivated, potentially facing his old team twice a year?
The already potent Jets/Patriots rivalry got even more compelling when three former Pats — cornerback Ras-I Dowling, tight end Zach Sudfeld and outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham — signed with Gang Green this offseason. Dowling and Cunningham were both second-round picks originally by New England, but ESPNNewYork.com’s Rich Cimini says the undrafted Sudfeld has the best shot of making the 53-man roster based on the team’s lack of depth at the position.
- Cimini envisions four running backs on the roster — including fullback Tommy Bohanon — with Daryl Richardson and Mike Goodson on the outside looking in.
- Signing a veteran offensive lineman for insurance would be a sound move for the team, per Cimini, who notes that none of the backups have any meaningful professional experience.
- Don’t be surprised if Stephen Hill emerges as the Jets’ No. 2 wide receiver opposite Eric Decker, writes Cimini. Hill has struggled making the transition to professional from collegiate after a nice career at Georgia Tech, and he’s battling savvy veteran David Nelson for the coveted starting spot.
- Neither Cunningham nor Dowling found success with the Patriots, but Jets‘ head coach Rex Ryan is not concerned with his rival’s opinion of those players, writes Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Rob DiRe contributed to this post.