Another former Jets defensive back has ended up in Seattle.
Bless Austin, who was released by New York on Wednesday, is reportedly expected to sign with the Seahawks, reuniting with former Jets safety Jamal Adams.
Austin was a casualty of a numbers game in Florham Park as the Jets looked to increase the role of their young defensive backs. That left the Rutgers product out of their equation. Once New York was unable to find a partner to trade the corner, they elected to release him, making him a free agent with less than two weeks to go before the first game of the 2021 regular season.
The move surprised fans and pundits alike. Even veteran safety Marcus Maye was caught off guard by the sudden move.
"I didn't see it coming at all. I don't think anybody did," Maye told reporters this past week. "It's tough. I mean, he's been a starter for us for the past two years. So I guess we just got to figure out what's next now."
In Austin's place, New York will be leaning heavily on rookies and second-year corners. There may be some low points in 2021 with a youthful secondary, but general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are playing the long game here, hopeful that these added reps can accelerate the development of those inexperienced defensive backs.
"Instead of asking Bless to take a reduced role, we’re going to give these young guys an opportunity and out of respect to [Austin], give him an opportunity to find a larger role with another team," Douglas explained. "Very difficult decision because Bless is a standup guy and a hell of a competitor."
Now, Austin will have an opportunity to contend with Adams by his side in the NFC West. Austin and Adams played together in New York for one season—Austin's rookie year in 2019—before the safety was dealt to Seattle that offseason.
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