Matt Araiza, the punter who was drafted last year but never played as a rookie after he was accused of rape, has earned his first NFL tryout since the Bills cut him.
Araiza is working out for the Jets today, his agent told Adam Schefter of ESPN.
At San Diego State, Araiza won the Ray Guy Award as the best punter in the country and set a new NCAA record by averaging 51.2 yards per punt. The Bills drafted him and declared him their starting punter early in the 2022 preseason.
But shortly after earning the punting job, news surfaced that while he was at San Diego State, Araiza was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl. In the uproar that ensued, the Bills cut Araiza.
This month, prosecutors said they will not charge Araiza, saying that evidence showed he was not present during an alleged gang rape of the girl, that Araiza’s sex with the girl was consensual, and that Araiza believed that she was 18 so no charges of sex with a minor could be pursued. The girl and her attorney stand by her accusation and are pursuing a civil case against him.
The only punter on the Jets’ roster right now is Thomas Morstead, and the team may see Araiza as a punter who could beat Morstead out for the job. The question is whether the Jets or any other team will be willing to sign him despite the off-field issue that led the Bills to cut him.