AFC East Notes: Jets, Kearse, Maye, Patriots

Although there’s been some speculation the Jets could release veteran wideout Jermaine Kearse in the coming months, Kearse seems likely to stick on New York’s roster, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Gang Green would save $5.5MM by cutting Kearse prior to the beginning of the regular season, and the club has a well-stocked depth chart at receiver that includes Terrelle Pryor, Robby Anderson, and Quincy Enunwa, among others. However, the Jets certainly don’t need any extra cap space (they’re seventh in the league with more than $20MM in reserves), and Kearse is viewed as a high-quality locker room presence. Perhaps most importantly, Kearse posted the best statistical campaign of his career in 2017 by managing 65 receptions for 810 yards and five touchdowns.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • The Patriots are expected to keep four or five running backs on their Week 1 roster, but Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, and James White are the only current locks, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Burkhead and Michel, the latter of whom New England selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, figure to split early-down work, while White will take on his familiar role as the Patriots’ passing game back. Brandon Bolden is likely to make New England’s squad thanks to his special teams ability, which sets up a showdown between Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee, and undrafted free agent Ralph Webb for the club’s final spot. Webb, notably, received a $70K signing bonus in order to latch on with the Patriots, so he could be a surprise addition to the team’s roster.
  • In a separate piece, Reiss also takes a look at the Patriots‘ wide receiver corps, and notes Julian Edelman (who will begin the year on the suspended list), Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, and Cordarrelle Patterson are near certainties for New England’s Week 1 lineup. Former fourth-round pick Malcolm Mitchell, who’s been beset by injuries during his short career, is not a lock for the Patriots’ roster, per Reiss, nor is Kenny Britt. The Patriots exercised Britt’s 2018 option earlier this year, but he’s only guaranteed $150K for the upcoming season. Rookie Braxton Berrios and former first-rounder Phillip Dorsett are among the other New England pass-catchers vying for looks.
  • Jets safety Marcus Maye underwent offseason surgery to correct an ankle issue, but New York is hopeful the second-year defensive back will be available for the start of training camp, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Maye, a second-round pick out of Florida in 2017, started all 16 games alongside fellow rookie Jamal Adams, but graded as a bottom-15 safety among 84 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Jets head coach Todd Bowles wants both Maye and Adams to make “mental improvements” in the second NFL seasons, per Mehta.
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