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A Closer Look at the Offseason Signings

Posted Feb 7, 2013

Since the end of the season, before and after John Idzik was named the Jets' new general manager, the Green & White began the process of signing players to reserve/future contracts.

The first signings occurred a day after the season ended in Buffalo and plenty more took place in January. The most notable names of the bunch may be a cornerback and a pair of safeties.

CB Cliff Harris, as a sophomore at Oregon in 2010, was an All-American and led the country in punt-return touchdowns and passes defended. With impressive accolades at the collegiate level, the Fresno, Calif., native comes to the Jets looking to earn himself a spot on the 2013 roster.

Jaiquawn Jarrett presents great potential. He was a 2011 second-round draft selection by Philadelphia and played in 12 games with the Eagles during his rookie season. While the Jets’ secondary was one of the team’s biggest strengths last season, Jarrett will surely get a chance to prove himself. The other safety, Brett Lockett, was formerly a member of the Jets’ AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots.

The Jets also have added five wideouts with good size to their offseason roster.

Wide Receivers

Emmanuel Arceneaux (6'2", 211) — Arceneaux spent the 2012 season on the Redskins' practice squad. In 2011 he was a member of the Vikings, playing in three games and recording one reception for 10 yards. He spent the 2009-10 seasons in the CFL with the BC Lions, for whom he played 18 games and scored 12 touchdowns. Arceneaux attended Alcorn State and was president of the student-athlete advisory committee.

Joseph Collins (6'3", 200) — The former Weber State standout signed with the Jets on Jan. 2. This isn’t his first stint with the Green & White. He was signed by the team Aug. 8, 2012, and had one catch for 17 yards in the preseason before being cut Aug. 31.

Vidal Hazelton (6'2", 209) — Hazelton’s journey to the Jets has been a rollercoaster. He went undrafted out of Cincinnati before signing with San Diego on July 26, 2011, then was cut a month later. Late that season he returned to the Bengals as a member of their practice squad. He was signed again by Cincinnati Jan. 9, 2012, but cut on August 31. His 2012 regular season began with Tennessee’s practice squad and ended back with the Bengals’ practice squad. The Jets signed him to a reserve/future contract Jan. 23.

Royce Pollard (6'1", 175) — Pollard, a San Diego native, signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets on Dec. 31 after spending all but five days of the 2012 season on their practice squad.

Titus Ryan (6'0", 193) — Ryan’s path to the Jets is somewhat similar to Hazleton’s. After going undrafted out of Concordia College in Alabama in 2007, he was signed by the Chiefs. His stay in KC was short-lived and he was picked up by the Saints for their practice squad. After less than a month in the Big Easy, he was cut. New Orleans re-signed him for the 2008 offseason but cut him just before training camp. From there, he spent just under three weeks with Carolina’s practice squad.

In 2009 he decided to give the Canadian Football League a shot. In his one CFL season he enjoyed stints with the Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. When 2010 rolled around, he was signed by Dallas before being cut in August. In '11 the Cowboys did the same thing again, signing him in January and cutting him in August. The Jets signed him to their practice squad last Dec. 10 and soon it will be determined whether the 28-year-old’s time in New York will be extended past his reserve/future contract.

Quarterback

Matt Simms (6'3", 210) — Simms, the son of former Giants QB and current CBS analyst Phil Simms, is entering his second stint with the Jets. In his first, he tried out with the Jets last April, made the offseason roster, went through training camp and saw action in the Jets’ final preseason game at Philadelphia before he was waived. He returned to the Green & White on Dec. 31.

Tackles

Dennis Landolt (6'4", 306) — In his first three seasons in the NFL, Landolt has been a member of four franchises' practice squads. He started with the Giants in 2010 and closed out the year spending three weeks with San Francisco. The Jets signed him in early January 2011 and he’s mainly been back and forth with the Green & White ever since (although he did spend four days with New Orleans in October 2011).

D.J. Young (6'5", 298) — The former Michigan State Spartan spent 2011 on Arizona’s practice squad. Heading into 2012, Cardinals LT Levi Brown suffered a torn triceps and Young was the first up to replace him, yet D’Anthony Batiste beat him out and Arizona released him during final cuts. Last season Young was a member of Cleveland’s practice squad. Young’s father, Duane, was a TE for the Bills and Chargers. The Jets signed him on Jan. 17.

Defensive End

Claude Davis (6'2", 234) — Davis, listed as a DE, was signed by the Jets on Jan. 2. During his senior season at South Florida in 2011, he posted 16 tackles, six sacks, seven tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked extra point. His six sacks ranked him eighth in the Big East.

Defensive Tackle

Tevita Finau (6'4", 283) — Finau, who was born in New Zealand and raised on Hawai‘i and Tonga, was signed by Philadelphia last June 22, then cut a month later. In November he spent 13 days with Dallas’ practice squad. The Jets added Finau to their practice squad on Dec. 4 and signed him to a reserve/future contract 27 days later.

Linebackers

JoJo Dickson (6'1", 245) — Dickson was signed by the Jets on Dec. 31. For the final three weeks of the 2012 season, he was a member of the Green & White’s practice squad. Prior to that, he attended 2012 training camp with the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL and had two brief stints with Jacksonville and Cleveland.

Danny Lansanah (6'1", 255) Lansanah’s NFL career got off to an encouraging start nearly five years ago. After beginning on Green Bay’s practice squad in September 2008, he earned a spot on the Packers' active roster the following month for the rest of the season and was active in five games. His time in Green Bay came to an end the following year when he was cut in September, then he split time in '09 between the Miami and Detroit practice squads. Until the Jets signed Lansanah on Jan. 4, the UConn alum played in the United Football League from 2010-12.

Jacquies Smith (6'2", 260) — The former Missouri Tiger was signed by the Jets on Dec. 31 after spending the final 3½ weeks of the 2012 season with their practice squad. Smith went undrafted last April and began his time in the NFL when he was signed by the Dolphins on May 4, before being cut Aug. 25. Before his senior season in Columbia, he was named a preseason Lombardi Watch List candidate.

Cornerback

Cliff Harris (5'11", 180) — Harris put together a terrific collegiate career at Oregon. As a sophomore in 2010, a season in which Oregon reached the BCS National Championship Game, he led the nation with four punt-return touchdowns and 20 passes defended. His time in Eugene was cut short, however, when he was dismissed from the team following a series of traffic-related offenses in 2011. The 22-year-old went undrafted in 2012 before signing with Philadelphia on April 29, 2012. He was cut on Aug. 26 and most recently signed with the Jets on Jan. 4.

How did Harris end up with the Jets? One key may be his head coach back at Edison High School in Fresno — Tim McDonald, the former 49ers Pro Bowl S who is now the Jets' DBs coach.

Safeties

Jaiquawn Jarrett (6'0", 196) — Projected to be a third- or fourth-round selection in 2011, Jarrett was selected in the second round, 54th overall, by Philadelphia. He played in 12 games (two starts) with the Eagles his rookie season, finishing with 14 tackles. Last season he saw action in one game before being cut on Sept. 11. Jarrett, a teammate at Temple of Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, was signed by the Green & White on Dec. 31.

Bret Lockett (6'1", 220) — Lockett was signed by the Browns after going undrafted out of UCLA in 2009. Cleveland waived him during final cuts on Sept. 6. The next day New England acquired the safety off waivers. Lockett played in 10 games for the 2009 Patriots, recording one forced fumble and five special teams tackles, one each in the two games vs. the Jets that season. The Pats declared Lockett a free agent last March and he was unsigned until the Jets brought him in Jan. 2.

Long Snapper

Travis Tripucka (6'1", 240) — Tripucka, a UMass product, signed with the Jets on Jan. 3. Last year he was with the St. Louis Rams before being cut at the conclusion of the preseason. Besides playing football at UMass, he also was a starting defenseman on the Minutemen’s nationally ranked lacrosse team. Tripucka and Jets OL Vladimir Ducasse were collegiate teammates for two seasons. And yes, Tripucka is related to former Knicks TV analyst and NBA player Kelly Tripucka (his father) and former Notre Dame, NFL and AFL quarterback Frank Tripucka (his grandfather).

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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