Despite ‘greatest preseason in history,’ former CFL QB Chris Streveler’s future with the New York Jets uncertain ahead of cutdown day

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Chris Streveler has given everything he has for the New York Jets over the last month, but it may not be enough to earn himself a spot on the team’s active roster.

With 48 hours remaining until NFL teams lock in their lineups, the former CFL quarterback delivered a stirring concluding statement to his case to hold on to one of the Jets’ 53 available jobs. On fourth-and-goal with 27 seconds remaining in the Jets’ final preseason game, he arced up a game-winning touchdown pass for rookie Calvin Jackson Jr. to secure a 31-27 victory over the New York Giants.

It marked the third time this preseason that Streveler had entered a game with the Jets trailing in the second half. He delivered them the win in every outing.

“Streveler, I think he’s probably had one of the greatest preseasons in the history of football,” head coach Robert Saleh said post-game. “He’s been awesome. It made the decision to go for it at the end very easy knowing that the ball was in his hands and you just knew you were going to get it.”

After going 10-of-13 passing for 96 yards and two touchdowns, Streveler clutched the game ball in the locker room as players chanted his name. His status as a New York folk hero has been firmly established.

“There’s no hero in the game. It’s everyone making plays, the o-line blocking up front, everyone catching balls and being smart and getting out of bounds and making plays,” Streveler down-played to reporters. “It’s not about being the hero; it’s just about going out and executing. But it’s always exciting when you have that opportunity at the end of the game with a couple of minutes left to go down and potentially win a football game.”

Having accomplished that feat thrice, Streveler’s overall preseason numbers are impressive. Signed as a fourth-string camp arm mere days before the team was required to report, he has completed 24-of-33 passes for 277 yards, five touchdowns and one interception while rushing nine times for 71 yards on the ground.

“It’s been an awesome preseason. To be around a guy that’s come in for three weeks now and has done what he’s done, it’s impressive anytime you have a guy like that, that hasn’t gotten a lot of reps till the last couple of weeks,” veteran quarterback Joe Flacco said of his teammate.

“To be able to just go out there and make it about football — it’s not too big for him. He’s just playing the game, running the play that’s called and doing what he does. It’s been impressive to watch.”

Despite that high praise from coaches and players alike, Streveler remains on the Jets’ chopping block ahead of the NFL’s cutdown deadline on Tuesday, August 30 at 4:00 p.m. EST.

The injury suffered by starter Zach Wilson in the team’s first preseason game is not nearly as bad as originally feared, with the former second overall draft pick expected to miss just a couple more weeks. The former Super Bowl MVP Flacco is the team’s unquestioned backup and the Jets appear committed to 27-year-old Mike White as the third-stringer.

That leaves Streveler exactly where he started, the odd fourth man in a league where many teams opt to only dress two signal callers. New York may yet find a way to keep him around — either on the active roster or practice squad — but there are inherent challenges to doing so.

“We’re going to have a lot of discussions. There’s a lot of guys who made a strong case for themselves today, I’m really excited to get to the tape and just kind of iron it out,” Saleh said of the decisions that await him and general manager Joe Douglas over the next two days.

“We’ve got a cool roster. There’s going to be a lot of guys that may not be here that I’m very confident will end up on someone else’s 53-man roster.”

For Streveler, that could mean a continuation of his budding NFL journeyman lifestyle. After spending two seasons as a dual-threat backup and package player with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020 and spent the better part of two seasons as depth behind Kyler Murray. He was released in November of last year, finishing that season with the Baltimore Ravens before a brief offseason stint with the Miami Dolphins.

Though he has completed only 17-of-25 pass attempts for 141 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in his NFL career, Streveler needs just six more games served on a team’s active roster to earn the league’s coveted pension. Signing with the Jets appeared to be a last-gasp attempt to do so, though now his future could lie elsewhere.

Comfortable in the knowledge that he did everything in his power to remain in the Big Apple, Streveler is approaching the anxious hours before cutdown day at peace with himself.

“My dad’s in town, his girlfriend’s in town, my girlfriend’s in town, so I’m just going to go out to dinner with them and have a nice night,” the quarterback said after the game.

“It’s been an unbelievable camp, such an up and down ride for me, just how things started and then getting so much time in games and getting so many opportunities. Honestly, I just have a lot of feelings of gratitude right now for all the opportunities and I’m just so thankful to even be given the opportunity to be here in the first place. I don’t take anything for granted and I put my best foot forward every day.”

Where that foot will touch down come Wednesday has surprisingly become one of cutdown day’s biggest stories.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.