Patriots castoff Braxton Berrios thriving with the Jets

The Jets spent the offseason searching for a punt returner after allowing All-Pro Andre Roberts to leave in free agency. They went through several different players, but did not find their guy until Week 1 of the regular season.

They claimed Braxton Berrios off waivers after the Patriots made him one of their final cuts. The move has worked out.

Berrios is No. 1 in punt returns in the NFL, among those with at least 1.25 returns per game. He is averaging 11.1 yards per return and has had some big ones recently. Berrios has 12 returns of 10 yards or more, the second-most in the NFL.

“I wouldn’t say there’s one-point source,” Berrios said. “It’s me catching the ball first and doing something with it, but it’s the culmination of 10 other guys’ work, to be honest. It’s kind of like an O-line: A quarterback or a running back can’t do much without them. It’s the same way with my guys in front of me. They deserve all the credit.”

Berrios had a hamstring injury earlier in the season and has improved greatly as that injury has healed. On Dec. 12 at Baltimore, Berrios set the Jets up with great field position after a 21-yard return to the Ravens’ 41 just before halftime. Sam Darnold ended up getting intercepted, but Berrios nevertheless had put the team in scoring position.

He was a sixth-round pick by the Patriots in 2018, but missed all of last season with a hamstring injury. When New England moved on from him in September, the Jets pounced. Berrios also has five catches for 104 yards, including a 69-yarder against the Raiders.

“He’s done exactly what we’ve needed him to do,” coach Adam Gase said. “Possess the ball, when we have a return set up, get everything you can, just make sure we have the ball at the end of the down, and then he’s been able to contribute on the offensive side as well. He knows what to do, he knows that position really well, Obviously he has a really good player [Jamison Crowder] in front of him right now, but he adds depth to that room, gives us some options if something ever happens, we have some ways we can move things around.”


LB Ahmad Gooden was signed to the practice squad.

For more on the Jets, listen to the latest episode of the “Gang’s All Here” podcast:

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