Roster update: Tough decisions ahead

The New York Jets soon will begin the process of cutting the roster. These are the bloodiest days on the NFL calendar.

Right now, their roster stands at 90. It has to be trimmed to 75 by 4 p.m. Tuesday. In reality, the Jets have to make only 13 moves, because rookies Dexter McDougle and Shaq Evans -- already placed on injured reserve -- no longer will count on the roster after the first cutdown day.

There shouldn't be any surprises among the first cuts. It'll be pretty standard stuff.

On Aug. 30, two days after the Jets close the preseason at the Philadelphia Eagles, the roster must be down to the 53-man limit. Think about it: Thirty-seven players on the Jets will be fired over the next nine days. Some will be sent to the practice squad, which has been expanded to 10 spots from eight.

Rex Ryan said there are more unsettled spots than last year. That, of course, is a good sign. It means the roster is better.

"Sometimes, by now, you’re able to say, 'Here’s kind of where your roster is going to be,'" he said. "I don’t know if you could say that here. I don’t know if anybody in this room could say that. It would be interesting if you try to target who is going to be there, who is going to make it."

Okay, we'll try.

No doubt, the most compelling player is wide receiver Stephen Hill, who doesn't have a roster spot locked up. Hill, David Nelson, Greg Salas, Clyde Gates and Jacoby Ford are battling for the third through sixth spots at receiver. Based on performance, Nelson and Salas should be the third and fourth wideouts. Gates and Ford are kickoff returners, which helps their cause. If Hill isn't in the receiver rotation, he has little value to the Jets because he doesn't play special teams. But are the Jets willing to cut bait with Hill, a former second-round pick? There's also Jalen Saunders, whose medical situation complicates the issue.

At running back, it'll be Daryl Richardson or Alex Green for the fourth spot. At linebacker, three draft picks are on the bubble -- Jeremiah George, IK Enemkpail and Trevor Reilly. In the secondary, Josh Bush, Ras-I Dowling, Johnny Patrick and Rontez Miles are fighting for jobs.