Former Buffalo Bills draft bust Aaron Maybin, trying to revive his career with the New York Jets, survived Saturday's cutdown to 53 players. But the Jets aren't done tinkering, and Maybin isn't a lock to be on the opening day roster, according to a source.
The Jets didn't make any bombshell moves -- none of the 26 cuts were surprises -- but they traded backup defensive back Dwight Lowery to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a conditional draft pick. Lowery, who started 19 games in three seasons, earned the nicknamed "The Closer" last season because he made the game-clinching defensive play in back-to-back wins.
Rex Ryan said a surplus of defensive backs allowed them to make the move. The Jets ended up keeping 10 defensive backs.
"When we looked at the secondary, we're pretty much loaded," Ryan said.
That isn't the case on the offensive line, prompting the Jets to trade for rookie guard Caleb Schlauderaff, a sixth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers. They made the deal for a conditional draft pick. Schlauderaff, on the verge of being waived by the Packers, was demoted to third string before their final preseason game. He's a physical run blocker but limited in pass protection.
The Jets are perilously thin on the line. Beyond the starters, they have no players with significant NFL experience, except for center Rob Turner, but he's sidelined about two months with a broken leg. They don't have a backup center on the current roster.
Ryan said they have positive reports from their scouts on Schlauderaff, who came out of Utah, and he believes he can make the switch to center.
"I feel better about our depth now than I did before," Ryan said.
Another issue is the No. 3 quarterback job. With rookie Greg McElroy (thumb surgery) out indefinitely, the Jets don't have anyone after Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell, who didn't take a snap in the preseason because of pinkie and calf injuries.
"I don't want to speculate on any of that," he said. "We'll look at every scenario ... If we think there's a way to improve the team, we'll do it."
Ryan said their No. 3 quarterback, as of now, would be rookie wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who has some experience running the Wildcat.
Among the cuts, the biggest names are wide receivers Patrick Turner and rookie Scotty McKnight, a seventh-round pick and Sanchez's childhood friend. Both are eligible for the practice squad.
Maybin, chosen 11th overall by the Bills in 2009, appeared to be a goner up until a few days ago, but he recorded 1½ sacks in the final preseason game. It should've been 2½, but he whiffed on a chance to take down Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Vince Young.
Ryan praised Maybin, saying "he played well and he's on our roster," but the former first-round pick is "day to day" in terms of his roster status, a source said.
It looks like the Jets will stick with inexperienced punter T.J. Conley. Several veterans became available, but "we feel good about (Conley)," Ryan said. "The longer training camp went on, the better he punted."
Curiously, the Jets kept three injured players on their roster -- McElroy, Turner and wide receiver Logan Payne (wrist surgery). That will limit their flexibility.