Denzel Mims requests trade from Jets: ‘It’s just time’

Two years after the Jets drafted him in the second round, Denzel Mims wants out.

The wide receiver has requested a trade from the Jets, his agent Ron Slavin said Thursday.

“It’s just time,” Slavin said in a statement to The Post. “Denzel has tried in good faith but it is clear he does not have a future with the Jets. Denzel vowed to come back better than ever this season and he worked extremely hard in the offseason to make that happen. Still, he has been given no opportunities with the starting offense to get into a groove with them. We feel at this point a trade is our only option, since the Jets have repeatedly told us they will not release him. Joe Douglas has always done right by Denzel and we trust that he will do everything in his power to find another team where Denzel can be a contributor.”

Denzel Mims, buried on the Jets’ depth chart, has requested to be traded.
Bill Kostroun

The question of whether Mims would make the roster or if the Jets should trade him has lingered over the team’s training camp. Teams must cut their rosters to 53 players on Tuesday and many trades will happen around the league before then.

Douglas drafted Mims in the second round of the 2020 Draft with the 59th overall pick. He played in nine games as a rookie and had 23 catches for 357 yards, showing flashes of potential. The entire coaching staff that drafted him was fired after that season and Mims never seemed to earn the trust of Robert Saleh or his staff.

A bout of food poisoning in the spring of 2021 kept Mims out of most of the spring program. He lost 20 pounds at the time and it took him a while to regain his strength. When training camp came, he was buried on the depth chart and seemed to be in the coaches’ doghouse. He played 11 games in 2021, catching eight passes for 133 yards. He was a healthy inactive in two games early in the season. A bout with COVID hurt him late.

Jets coaches seemed to have an issue with his work ethic and attention to detail.

Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur heaped praise on Mims when this spring and summer about the kind of shape he returned to the Jets in after the offseason. Still, Mims practiced mostly with the second- and third-teams, rarely playing with starting quarterback Zach Wilson when he was healthy.

Mims is only 24 years old and has rare physical gifts, so he should draw interest from other teams. The 6-foot-3, 207-pounder ran a 4.38 40-yard dash coming out of Baylor. He was known for winning contested catches and showed some of that ability as a rookie.

But he has been buried on the depth chart in the last two years. Since drafting Mims, the Jets have signed Corey Davis as a free agent, drafted Elijah Moore in the second round in 2021 and Garrett Wilson in the first round this year. They also re-signed Braxton Berrios to a free-agent deal this offseason. That has left Mims as the fifth wide receiver at best and on most days Jeff Smith has been in the rotation before him.

Mims caught three passes for 43 yards in the preseason game against the Falcons on Monday night, including a 27-yarder that set up a field goal just before halftime. He was also flagged for an illegal block on a punt return. The Jets have tried to find a role on special teams for Mims, something they value for their substitute receivers. In the Jets’ first preseason game against the Eagles, Mims had two catches for 25 yards. He also drew an illegal formation penalty and had a drop.

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