NEW YORK — The New York Jets cut ties with two high draft picks once considered future cornerstones of the franchise.
The team announced it waived/injured cornerback Dee Milliner and waived tight end Jace Amaro on Saturday as it reduced its roster to the NFL’s mandatory 53-player limit.
The Jets cut 20 players, but made the unconventional choice kept all four quarterbacks — Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg — on their roster. Petty bruised his right shoulder in the preseason finale against Philadelphia, but coach Todd Bowles said Friday that the team wouldn’t place him on injured reserve before final cuts.
Right tackle Breno Giacomini was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list with a back injury that sidelined him all of training camp. He will have to sit for at least the first six games of the regular season, leaving the position to either Ben Ijalana or Brent Qvale.
Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was also officially moved to the reserve/suspended list to begin serving his one-game ban for violating the league’s personal conduct policy last summer.
Milliner was the No. 9 overall pick in 2013, but injuries and inconsistency prevented him from living up to expectations. He has dealt with an ailing hamstring, and the waived/injured distinction means he would revert to the Jets’ injured reserve list if he clears waivers.
Milliner appeared in just 21 games for the Jets with 68 tackles, three interceptions and 19 passes defensed after starring at Alabama. He was limited to three games in 2014 because of an Achilles injury and five last season because of a wrist injury.
The Jets declined his 2017 contract option, but still must pay him $2.1 million, which was guaranteed for this year. He will also count about $4 million against the salary cap.
Amaro was a second-rounder in 2014 who had 38 catches for 345 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie before missing all of last season with a shoulder injury.
He came to camp healthy and focused, appearing ready to become a valuable part of New York’s offense. But, he struggled again at times and failed to impress the coaching staff in the preseason. He missed the third game with a groin injury and played extensively in the preseason finale at Philadelphia, typically when established players sit out.
Zach Sudfeld was also waived, leaving Kellen Davis and Brandon Bostick as the only tight ends on the roster.
Fullback Tommy Bohanon, linebacker Trevor Reilly and wide receivers Jeremy Ross and Kenbrell Thompkins were among the Jets’ other notable cuts earlier in the day.
Bohanon, a seventh-round pick in 2013, was a bit of a surprise. He had 20 carries for 67 yards and 17 catches for 155 yards in his three seasons. Julian Howsare, a converted linebacker in his second camp with the Jets, remained the only fullback on the roster.
Reilly, a seventh-rounder in 2014, was a key backup at linebacker and a core special teams player. He was waived/injured after getting hurt in the preseason finale against Philadelphia.
Ross was signed in the offseason and competed with undrafted rookie Jalin Marshall for the primary returner job.
It appears Thompkins was made expendable after the emergence this summer of undrafted rookie Robby Anderson, who led the Jets with 13 catches for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
Veteran running back Antone Smith was also released. Among others waived by the Jets were: tight end Wes Saxton, wide receiver Chandler Worthy, guards Mike Liedtke and Craig Watts, defensive linemen Tarow Barney and Claude Pelon, linebackers Freddie Bishop and Taiwan Jones, cornerbacks Bryson Keeton, Darryl Morris and Kevin Short, and safety Doug Middleton.