A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. It was time to go: General managers always get graded on their draft picks and free-agent acquisitions, but you seldom see a scorecard on the players they lose or send away. It's a big part of the job, knowing when to say goodbye. Patriots coach Bill Belichick, not afraid to make cold-blooded decisions, is one of the best at it.
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan deserves props, too, based on the midseason results of his offseason roster purge. Not a single departure is worthy of GM remorse. Here's how I'd rank them, based on performance:
DT Sheldon Richardson, Seattle Seahawks: He has played 69 percent of the defensive snaps for one of the best defenses in the NFL, but he hasn't made many impact plays -- no sacks, one forced fumble and one interception.
S Marcus Gilchrist, Houston Texans: He has rebounded from a devastating knee injury last December to become a contributor (67 percent of the snaps) -- one interception and one sack -- but would you rather have him or Marcus Maye? I thought so.
WR Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans: He plays a lot (83 percent), but Decker hasn't been very productive -- 23 catches, 229 yards and no touchdowns. At least his wife's career is flourishing in Nashville.
RT Breno Giacomini, Texans: He recovered from back surgery and has played every snap, a credit to his toughness, but Giacomini has struggled mightily. He has surrendered 42 pressures, the most among 73 qualified tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.
LB David Harris, New England Patriots: Harris has been a bench-warmer (9 percent of the snaps) for the first time in his career, but his role could grow now that Dont'a Hightower is out for the season.
C Nick Mangold, free agent: It wouldn't be a surprise if he retires in the offseason.
CB Darrelle Revis, free agent: See Mangold.
LT Ryan Clady, retired: Too many injuries.
2. Less is Mo: The less Muhammad Wilkerson practices, the better he plays. It's an unusual approach, but, hey, it's working. Because of shoulder and foot injuries -- mainly, the foot -- he has gone four straight weeks without practicing. That's a tough deal for a player, but his past three games were his best -- a total of 12 tackles, two sacks and four quarterback hits.
Maybe the Jets learned a lesson from last season, when Wilkerson pushed through the residual effects of a surgically repaired ankle and complained at the end of the year that the training staff didn't have a proper plan for him. He missed only eight of 48 game-week practices in 2016.
This season, Wilkerson already has sat out 16 of 27 practices, starting in Week 3 with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. The foot/toe injury occurred in Week 5, and he hasn't practiced since then.
"I think he is playing a little better in spite of feeling like crap, but I think he’s getting better," coach Todd Bowles said.
Bowles said the "biggest challenge" for Wilkerson is staying in shape while missing the practice time. That can catch up to a player, but a favorable schedule should help. They're in the middle of their mini-bye, followed by a game (at Tampa Bay), followed by the real bye week. In theory, he should be re-charged for the final six games.
4. Here's to you, Mr. Robinson: Newly-acquired cornerback Rashard Robinson made a quiet debut on Thursday night, playing seven snaps on special teams. With Morris Claiborne (foot) sidelined, Robinson was one of five corners who dressed for the game. They now have seven on the roster, so it'll be interesting to see how he's used. He was a starter for the San Francisco 49ers, who ran out of patience (too many penalties) and traded him for a fifth-round pick.
"We got another cover corner," Bowles said. "Hopefully, he can get in and learn the system and we get an extra cover guy out there because we’re getting a little thin at corner with Buster [Skrine] going down last week and Mo going down this week."
For now, Robinson will challenge Juston Burris for the No. 4 job and possibly Darryl Roberts for the No. 3 position. The organization believes he has starting-caliber skills, but that he needs to be more disciplined with his technique.
5. Not so fine: The Jets have topped the six-figure mark in league fines -- a reported $109,388. The latest to get hit in the wallet was Roberts, who was fined $24,309 for helmet-to-helmet contact in the Week 8 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Linebacker Darron Lee is responsible for most of the damage -- $72,925.
6. ET has found a home: The most underrated player on offense might be tight end Eric Tomlinson, a terrific blocker who showed his versatility on Thursday night. With Lawrence Thomas (concussion) sidelined, Tomlinson lined up as a fullback on a handful of plays, including two of the best runs of the night -- Bilal Powell's 51-yarder and Matt Forte's 10-yard touchdown. Tomlinson made a key block on both plays.
7. Tony says: I enjoyed listening to Tony Romo on the NFL Network telecast of Jets-Bills. He was chatty, as usual, but he obviously did his homework on the Jets. One of his better observations: He said the sack numbers for Wilkerson (two) and Leonard Williams (0.5) are down because the defense lacks a legitimate edge-rusher, allowing teams to double-team their interior rushers. He's absolutely right. I think edge-rusher has to be one of the top priorities going into next year's draft, along with cornerback. And quarterback, of course.
8. The last word: ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is biased when it comes to offensive coordinator John Morton and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, former proteges. Let's make that clear. Talking about Morton and Bates the other day in a phone interview, Gruden told me, "They've been putting some good things on tape, I know that. I've clipped out a few things they've done already that I'm going to try to steal for whatever I do in the future. Who knows?"
Sounds like a man who hasn't ruled out coaching again.