Donte Moncrief is a New York Jet, the team adding the productive wide receiver to their beat-up two-deep. In a corresponding move, they also released placekicker Brett Maher, meaning incumbent Sam Ficken has won the kicking competition.
The 27-year-old Moncrief worked out for the Jets last week, his addition to the team adding to the team’s depth at a position where they now have just eight wide receivers. His best season was 2015 when he was a member of the Indianapolis Colts; Moncrief had 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. He was originally a third-round pick of the Colts.
Last season he bounced around with stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers but neither opportunity stuck.
The injuries have hit the Jets since the beginning of training camp, nowhere worse than at wide receiver. Second-round pick Denzel Mims was counted on to have a big impact, but the former Baylor Bear hasn’t been a part of camp due to a hamstring injury that head coach Adam Gase has called week to week.
Breshad Perriman (knee) was expected back this weekend but has yet to see the field. Vycint Smith (core) will be out several more weeks.
“I know (he’s) going through the process to get back on the field,” Jets head coach Gase said on August 18 about Mims’ injury. “It's one of those injuries that’s hard to rush when you're a guy whose whole job is to run. We just gotta make sure that we get him healthy enough.”
Ficken was in a battle with Maher for the placekicking position. The strange part was that neither could kick in an actual game because all the preseason games we canceled this season.
The Jets’ placekicker in 2019 connected on 19 of 27 field goal attempts for 70.4 percent. He hit on 23 of 26 extra points through 15 games for an 88.5 percentage.
“I think that Sam did a solid job last year, and Brett definitely has experience and everything like that,” Jets special teams coach Brent Boyer said August 25. “I see these guys neck and neck. They’ve both had good camps and we’ll see who shakes out, and that’s kind of how we’re handling it. Every day they’re being charted on the same kicks from kickoffs to mortar kicks to onside to field goals. So, it’s all going to come down to a big body of work and who we decide on at the end.”
This was Maher’s second stint with the Jets. He was signed in 2013 as an undrafted free agent. He was waived for the first time during that training camp that July when the Jets went with Billy Cundiff as their placekicker. This year, it was for Ficken.
Moncrief will not be able to get on the field right away. There are still COVID-19 protocols that he will have to pass before he can start catching passes.