LOCALS IN THE NFL

New York Jets Sign Former XFL, Utah Linebacker Pita Taumoepenu

Aug 7, 2023, 5:30 PM

Pita-Taumoepenu-Denver-Broncos-NFL...

Pita Taumoepenu #50 practices during the Denver Broncos Training Camp at UCHealth Training Center on July 29, 2021 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah Utes and Vegas Vipers linebacker Pita Taumoepenu signed a contract with the NFL‘s New York Jets, according to the XFL.

Pita Taumoepenu signs with Jets

The XFL announced Taumoepenu’s deal with the Jets via social media on Monday, August 7.

“@PitaTaumoepenu of the @XFLVipers signed NFL contract with the @nyjets,” the XFL posted.

RELATED: Vipers LB Pita Taumoepenu Named 2023 XFL Defensive Player Of The Year

Taumoepenu won the XFL‘s Defensive Player of the Year award for the 2023 season. The linebacker led the XFL in forced fumbles during the 2023 regular season.

In addition to his league-leading forced fumbles, Taumoepenu ranked second in the XFL in sacks and sixth in tackles for loss.

Pita Taumoepenu finished the season with 26 total tackles, 21 solo tackles, 7.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

The former Utah standout and the Vipers finished the regular season with a 2-8 record. Vegas did not qualify for the XFL Playoffs with the second-worst record in the league.

About the New York Jets

Last season, the Jets posted a 7-10 record and missed the NFL Playoffs.

On August 3, the Jets opened the preseason with a 21-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame game.

Next up on New York’s preseason schedule are the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New York Giants. New York’s next preseason game is on the road against the Panthers on Saturday, August 12 at 2 p.m. (MDT). The game will be televised on NFL Network.

RELATED: Former Ute Javelin Guidry Recovers Fumble During Jets-Browns Preseason Game

The Jets kick off their regular season schedule at home against the Buffalo Bills on Monday, September 11 at 6:15 p.m. (MDT) on ESPN.

About Pita Taumoepenu

Prior to his professional career, Taumoepenu was a standout high school player for the Timpview Thunderbirds. After high school, the linebacker attended the University of Utah.

During his four seasons with the Utes, the Provo native recorded 73 total tackles, 49 solo tackles, 21 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Taumoepenu played in 43 games at Utah.

Following his time at Utah, Taumoepenu was selected by the San Francisco 49ers during the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

He played for the Niners until 2019. From 2019-21, Taumoepenu spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Denver Broncos.

During his time in the NFL, the former Utah standout has recorded five total tackles in 11 games played.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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New York Jets Sign Former XFL, Utah Linebacker Pita Taumoepenu