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Roster shakeup begins

By Sean Deegan
Publisher, Jets
February 27th, 2004
The Jets began their expected player shuffling by announcing the release of CB Aaron Beasley, the retirement of G Dave Szott and the signing of CFL star QB Ricky Ray. The Jets began their expected player shuffling by announcing the release of CB Aaron Beasley, the retirement of G Dave Szott and the signing of CFL star QB Ricky Ray.

The news of Beasley and Szott is no surprise to anyone. Beasley, coming off a less than stellar season where he seemed to be victimized on a regular basis by opposing wideouts and quarterbacks, ends his tenure in green after being signed as a free agent from Jacksonville two years ago. The Jets, who want to get younger and faster at the CB position and made a run at Redskins CB Champ Bailey earlier in the week, will likely fill Beasley’s absence via free agency or the draft. There have been recent reports that the team may make a trade offer to Baltimore for restricted free agent CB Chris McAllister.

Szott, a 14 year veteran, also joined the Jets two seasons ago after FA G Kerry Jenkins signed with Tampa. Szott tore his ACL during his first training camp but returned for the final 4 games in 2002 to help the Jets make their playoff run. He started all but one game in 2003 and was a very solid presence on the line. Jonathan Goodwin and Brandon Moore will likely battle for Szott’s spot on the line.

The signing of Ray is very intriguing. It also all but confirms that Vinny Testaverde is through as a Jet. The 24 year old 6’3” 210 Lb. Ray played his college ball at Sacramento State but after being undrafted by the NFL he went to Edmonton of the CFL to play. This past season Ray threw for over 4600 yards, 35 TD’s, 13 INT’s and led the Eskimos to the CFL Grey Cup Title. Besides the CFL, Ray had a brief stint in the NFL with the 49ers and has also played Arena League ball. Don’t be surprised if you see the talented Ray leap the depth chart fairly quickly over Brooks Bollinger to the #2 spot behind Chad Pennington.

Jets has also learned that the team could release LB Mo Lewis before the end of the weekend and that Lewis is considering retirement. There have also been reports surfacing today that the team may be shopping DE John Abraham. With Abraham, DT Shaun Ellis and QB Chad Pennington all entering the last years of their deals there is big concern that the team will not be able to sign all three. The team is also vehemently denying that Ellis was offered in the trade to Washington for Champ Bailey.

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