Source: New York Jets' Marcus Maye out 3-4 weeks with sprained ankle

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The winless New York Jets are losing games and players.

Safety Marcus Maye, the Jets' longest-tenured player and one of their top defenders, will be sidelined three to four weeks with a sprained ankle, a league source confirmed with ESPN on Wednesday.

Maye played every defensive snap Sunday in the 26-0 loss to the Denver Broncos and wasn't mentioned by coach Robert Saleh in the postgame injury report. He showed up on Wednesday's report after missing practice. The NFL Network first reported the severity of Maye's injury.

Maye's agent, Erik Burkhardt, tweeted that his client "should be back healthy just before the trade deadline" on Nov. 2, fueling speculation about Maye's desire to remain with the Jets.

The Jets used their franchise tag on Maye last offseason, and the two sides weren't able to reach a long-term agreement by the July 15 deadline. As a result, he's on a one-year contract for $10.6 million, the amount of the franchise tag.

In training camp, Maye expressed his displeasure about his contract situation. While he said his preference is to remain with the Jets, he didn't dismiss the possibility of requesting a trade if he's tagged again.

Meanwhile, the Jets (0-3) are decimated at safety as they prepare to face the Tennessee Titans (2-1) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The other starter, Lamarcus Joyner, suffered a season-ending triceps injury in Week 1.

Without Maye and Joyner, the Jets probably will start Adrian Colbert and Jarrod Wilson. Ashtyn Davis, a 2020 third-round draft pick, returned to practice Wednesday and is eligible to come off injured reserve. He probably will be activated for the game, but it's hard to imagine him doing anything beyond special teams. He hasn't played a game since Dec. 6, 2020, when he suffered a major foot injury that caused him to miss the offseason and preseason.

Other options are Sheldrick Redwine (practice squad) and Sharrod Neasman (IR).

Maye, the glue to the secondary, has been one of the few bright spots this season. He's second on the team in tackles (23), including two tackles for loss, one sack and one pass breakup.

The defense has been crushed by injuries. In training camp, the unit lost defensive end Carl Lawson (ruptured Achilles) for the season and linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle) for two months.

On Sunday, its No. 1 priority is to contain Titans running back Derrick Henry.

"He looks like an offensive lineman carrying the football," Saleh said. "He's a load. He's deserving of all the accolades he's gotten and it's going to be a tremendous challenge this week."