McKnight a goner; new boss in town

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
12:36
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The decision to release Joe McKnight was a surprise, yet not really. How's that? Let me explain.

Obviously, McKnight added to his reputation as a high-maintenance player with a series of on- and off-the-field mishaps this summer, but there was a feeling that he'd make the team based on his kickoff-returning ability and the lack of depth in the backfield.

Not so. New GM John Idzik, perhaps sending a message that he won't put up with any nonsense, decided enough is enough. But is it a consistent message? After all, the Jets are standing behind fellow RB Mike Goodson, who was arrested and didn't report to camp because of an undisclosed personal reason. Is there a double standard?

McKnight isn't an Idzik guy. Former GM Mike Tannenbaum drafted McKnight in the fourth round in 2010, making him the replacement for Leon Washington, who was traded to the Seahawks. They dealt a good locker-room guy for a diva who never came close to meeting expectations. We should've known McKnight would be an underachiever when he puked in his first minicamp practice.

Let's examine the fallout from a football perspective. Without McKnight, the Jets are down to two experienced running backs, Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory. They also have Kahlil Bell, but it's hard to get excited about him. You have to wonder if they cut McKnight knowing there's a chance that Goodson will return soon to the team. Idzik has said he expects Goodson back at some point, but he hasn't provided any sort of timetable.

At kickoff returner, the Jets will rely on Clyde Gates (risky because of his durability issues) and perhaps Kyle Wilson. There's always Antonio Cromartie, but Rex Ryan is reluctant to use him because of the injury risk.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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