Mike Goodson has been released by the New York Jets, but with the curious designation of "left squad," the team announced Wednesday. According to Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo, the designation may be an attempt by the Jets to retain the running back's bonus money. Goodson has struggled on and off the field since being signed as a free agent during the 2013 offseason.
Goodson had been a no-show at the Jets' mandatory minicamp this offseason. When asked to comment on Goodson's status, head coach Rex Ryan said that he couldn't, and that neither he nor anyone else in the organization had spoken with the running back. When asked why Goodson wasn't present, Ryan said, "That's a good question. I don't know."
The Jets had seemingly moved on from Goodson even before minicamp began. Free-agent signings Chris Johnson and Daryl Richardson -- cut from the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams this offseason, respectively -- are coming off healthy seasons, and have the speed and pass-catching ability to render Goodson's skill set redundant within the Jets' offense.
Goodson signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract in 2013 to become (ostensibly) the Jets' top running back. He was handed a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, however, and appeared in just two games before suffering a torn ACL that put him on injured reserve. Goodson was also indicted last November on weapons charges stemming from a May 2013 arrest in New Jersey in which he and a driver appeared intoxicated.
Goodson's contract included $1 million guaranteed, of which the Jets have presumably already paid a prorated portion. They may be able to retain whatever bonus money is left if they feel that Goodson left the team of his own volition. The fact that he has yet to contact the Jets this offseason favors the team in this scenario.
Goodson was signed on the strength of his brief, but impressive appearances with the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders from 2011 through 2012. Over that span, he had 138 carries for 673 yards and four touchdowns. He made the most of his seven carries with the Jets, picking up 61 yards on the ground before succumbing to injury.