Jets add former Browns cornerback Leon McFadden
The Jets, attempting to shore up their shaky secondary, were awarded former Browns cornerback Leon McFadden off waivers Sunday afternoon and released recent free-agent pickup LeQuan Lewis.
McFadden, a 2013 third-round pick of the Browns, played 16 games for Cleveland last season, starting twice. The 5-10, 190- pounder had 19 total tackles and one pass defensed. He also had 12 total tackles this preseason.
The Browns, now coached by former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, drafted McFadden 68th overall, ahead of defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu (69th), Blidi Wreh-Wilson (70th) and T.J. McDonald (71st), the son of Jets secondary coach T.J. McDonald.
McFadden, a San Diego State product, had 188 tackles, 47 passes defensed and eight interceptions in 51 college games.
With the regular-season opener less than a week away, he'll have to catch up quickly. But his transition shouldn't be too difficult, considering the similarities between Rex Ryan's and Pettine's defensive schemes.
Ryan repeatedly has said he's not "concerned'' about his secondary, but a cornerback pick-up was inevitable for the Jets. On Saturday, they released Dimitri Patterson after he went AWOL and then publicly called out the organization, and it appears unlikely that their other starting corner, Dee Milliner, will be healthy enough to face the Raiders in Week 1 because of a high ankle sprain.
Lewis, who was signed by the Jets on Aug. 12, had an end-zone interception in their preseason finale against Philly last week. But the Jets clearly feel more comfortable heading into the season with McFadden.
Shortly after making the McFadden acquisition official, the Jets announced they had signed seven players to the practice squad, including Matt Simms. There was a feeling that their third-string quarterback might get claimed by another team, but Simms ultimately cleared waivers and was signed to the Jets' practice squad in the afternoon.
Safety Rontez Miles, running back Daryl Richardson, tight end Chris Pantale, offensive lineman Brent Qvale and defensive linemen Kerry Hyder and Tevita Finau were released Saturday and added to the practice squad.
Jets sixth-round pick Brandon Dixon also cleared waivers after his release, but he tweeted Sunday that he was bound for the Buccaneers.
Per the new rules, 10 players can be added to a practice squad and a team can carry eight players who have played fewer than nine games in any season and two players with less than three accrued seasons.
The Jets cut 21 players Saturday and none was claimed -- including Stephen Hill. Now the receiver, a 2012 second-round pick, is free to sign with any 53-man roster or practice squad, but there's no chance he'll wind up back on the Jets. After his release, his agent, Alan Herman, blasted them for failing to put his client in a position to succeed and giving up on him too soon.
"I just don't think they gave him the opportunity he deserves,'' Herman, a resident of Jericho, told Newsday. "I don't think he got what he deserved from the New York Jets. The bottom line is you had the Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow disaster his first year, so how do you develop? He excelled in his first game, but it was rare he saw the ball like that after it.
" . . . Two targets is not enough to make a decision on a talented player with exceptional speed to discard him after two seasons,'' Herman added. "I thought he deserved another year. Instead, they gave the opportunity to players who have been on other teams and who have been released multiple times.''