A day after sending Sheldon Richardson to Seattle in a blockbuster trade, the Jets quietly continued to cut ties with their past by releasing long snapper Tanner Purdum on Saturday.
Though not a star player like Richardson, Purdum was the last remaining player from the Jets’ last playoff team in 2010. A fan favorite, Purdum, 33, had played in all 112 regular-season games since joining the team in 2010. According to the Jets’ website, he never had an errant snap or penalty in his seven seasons.
Purdum was one of 21 Jets players waived or released Saturday as NFL teams were required to get down to a 53-man roster. Other veterans cut were wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who had been signed by the Jets last month and also played for the team in 2015, and safety Shamarko Thomas, who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past three seasons and was signed as an unrestricted free agent in June.
Wide receiver Jalin Marshall and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins were put on the reserve/suspended list. Seferian-Jenkins was suspended two games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Marshall was suspended for four games for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy.
Wide receiver Lucky Whitehead, who suffered a broken foot in practice after the first preseason game, was waived injured. Other notable cuts included defensive end Lawrence Thomas, nose tackle Deon Simon and wide receiver Frankie Hammon.
The roster likely will change again Sunday when waiver claims begin at noon. In other words, just because a player makes the team’s initial 53-man roster doesn’t mean he’ll be on that roster for Week 1.
One player guaranteed to stay on the roster is wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, whom the Jets acquired Friday along with a 2018 second-round draft pick for Richardson.
Kearse, 27, spent five seasons in Seattle after signing in 2012 as an undrafted free agent, totaling 153 catches for 2,109 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is due $2.2 million this season.
In Super Bowl XLVIII, he caught four passes for 65 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception, in the Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Broncos at MetLife Stadium. But his most memorable Super Bowl moment came the next year when he made a circus catch in the final minute that seemed to set up the Seahawks for a late victory over the Patriots. Instead, their final offensive play resulted in an interception at the goal line and a 28-24 loss.
The Jets sorely needed a player with Kearse’s experience in their young and green receiving corps. With Quincy Enunwa out for the season with a neck injury, the Jets were left with second-year wideout Robby Anderson as their top target. Kearse will help fill at least part of the void left by the release of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.