New Jets general manager Joe Douglas came into this weekend “fired up” about being able to add talent and improve the roster. Douglas was aggressive on the waiver wire Sunday and shook up some key spots on special teams.
The Jets will have a new kicker and punt returner for the Week 1 game against the Bills. Taylor Bertolet and Greg Dortch are out, replaced by Kaare Vedvik and Braxton Berriors.
Douglas claimed four players after saying he was excited about the Jets holding the No. 3 spot in the waiver claim order. He also picked up defensive back Bennett Jackson and defensive end John Franklin-Myers.
To make room for them, the Jets waived Bertolet, Dortch, safety Doug Middleton and linebacker Albert McClellan.
Bertolet probably would have locked up the Jets’ kicking job with a good performance in Thursday’s preseason finale, but he went only 2-for-5 on field goal attempts against the Eagles. He also missed two extra points in his first preseason game after replacing Chandler Catanzaro, who retired after the preseason opener.
Vedvik hasn’t been much better, which was why the Vikings cut him Saturday, just three weeks after sending a fifth-round pick to Baltimore to acquire him. Vedvik was 1-for-4 on field goal attempts and was beaten out by veteran Dan Bailey.
But Vedvik made 12 of 13 field goal tries the past two preseasons for Baltimore, including 4-for-4 this year. The Ravens have the most accurate kicker in NFL history, Justin Tucker, so Vedvik was expendable.
The Jets expressed interest in Vedvik before he was dealt to Minnesota, but the asking price was too high. They ended up getting him without giving up anything.
Dortch, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Wake Forest, was the Jets’ primary punt returner in the preseason, but the Jets weren’t sold on the 5-7 speedster. Berrios was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots last year. The former Miami Hurricane spent last season on injured reserve, however.
Jackson, a sixth-round pick of the Giants in 2014, was waived by the Ravens on Saturday. He can play safety and cornerback, a need for the Jets. But he hasn’t played in an NFL game yet.
Franklin-Myers was a fourth-round pick of the Rams last year and appeared in all 16 games as a rotational player. He had two sacks in the regular season and one on Tom Brady in the Rams’ Super Bowl loss.
The Jets also announced the signing of seven players to their practice squad: quarterback Luke Falk, offensive linemen Calvin Anderson and Ben Braden, running back Valentine Holmes, wide receiver Jeff Smith, linebacker Jamey Mosley and cornerback Kyron Brown.
All of them were in camp and cut by the Jets either Friday or Saturday.
Because Holmes is an exemption through the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, the Jets still have four practice squad spots open. One is expected to go to former Eagles running back Josh Adams.
Douglas, a former Eagles executive, reached into his Philadelphia past for Adams. He was the Eagles’ leading rusher last year with 511 yards and three touchdowns, but a very crowded backfield led to Adams being cut Saturday by Philadelphia.