Jets May Say Goodbye to Former First-Round Pick Vernon Gholston

Vernon Gholston faces an uncertain future with the Jets. But don’t expect too many tears to be shed if the Jets choose to drop No. 50.

While it’s rare for a team to cut a first-round pick after only two seasons, Gholston – the sixth player taken overall in the 2008 draft – is known as a Jets mistake and disappointment. The linebacker out of Ohio State has not recorded a single sack in 29 career games and rarely made it onto the field. New York got all this for $11.5 million.

"I don't see the passion," said one of Gholston's teammates to the New York Daily Times, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He plays stiff, and he just doesn't seem to have that love for the game. I've never seen any emotion at all."

During Rex Ryan's first year as head coach, Gholston became his project. Ryan hired ex-Falcons star Chuck Smith as a pass-rushing consultant to teach Gholston. Gholston started the first four games when Calvin Pace was suspended but was moved to special teams after failing to deliver as a starter.

Wallace Wright thought Gholston was a good addition to the punt-coverage and punt-return units, the New York Post reports.

"He brings physicality," Wright said of the 6-foot-3, 264-pound Gholston. "Vernon's a big guy. Vernon's a big guy that can run. And anytime you have those two combinations, that definitely works in your favor. He's athletic. He's big, strong. And he just basically manhandles a lot of guys out there for us."

Being a good special teamer might not be enough to keep Gholston, who signed a five-year, $32 million deal that includes $21 million in guaranteed money. His cap number for 2010 is $3.5 million. With the uncapped year, the Jets will have the opportunity to let the linebacker go without suffering as great a monetary loss as they would normally. Business aside, the departure of Gholston will have no effect on the Jets' defense.
In addition to Gholston, the Jets are expected to let safety Kerry Rhodes and cornerback Lito Sheppard go, among others.

According to the National Football Post, the Jets signed six players
to reserve/future contracts: defensive back Brannon Condren (Troy), wide receiver Britt Davis (Northern Illinois), running back Jason Davis (Illinois), defensive tackle Matt Kroul (Iowa), center Michael Parenton (Tulane) and defensive tackle Ty Steinkuhler (Nebraska).

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