Although the team signed veteran punter Thomas Morstead, they are now working out another punter
It is true that NFL fans don’t value their punters. In fact, most people only even notice their punter when they do something wrong. That’s why it is important to have a good and reliable punter on your team. And that’s also why the New York Jets signed veteran Thomas Morstead this offseason. But now the Jets are also interviewing Matt Araiza.
For those who don’t remember, Araiza was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2022, out of San Diego State. He was picked in the sixth-round, with the no. 180 overall pick. However, he ended up being only a practice squad member and didn’t make it through the final cut.
He was released by the Bills after an investigation about a gang rape of a 17-year-old girl had Araiza’s name involved. The accuser, who is now 18, alleged in the lawsuit that Araiza, then 21, had sex with her in a side yard at an off-campus residence before bringing her into a bedroom where a group of men took turns raping her.
In December 2022 the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said no charges would be filed against the player or any of the other men involved. This decision came after an investigation including more than 35 witness interviews and from evidence collected from 10 different search warrants. However, a civil case against Araiza remains active.
Now at the age of 23, Araiza is working out with the Jets to make his comeback to the NFL. If New York signs him, he will join Thomas Morstead in the fight for the starter position next season. The Jets released Braden Mann, who was the franchise starter punter in the last three seasons.
DA’s Office Statement on the case
“Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction. Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”