Free Agency

Jets Free Agency: Initial grade and analysis of Morris Claiborne

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 03: Morris Claiborne #21 of the New York Jets reacts after giving up a touchdown to Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 3, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 03: Morris Claiborne #21 of the New York Jets reacts after giving up a touchdown to Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 3, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets were able to re-sign cornerback Morris Claiborne to a one-year deal to continue bolstering their defensive secondary.

When the New York Jets first signed top free agent cornerback Trumaine Johnson, many speculated that it could have been the end of Morris Claiborne. Luckily, the Jets were able to get a deal done to bring back Claiborne to round out their defensive secondary.

Last season with the Jets, Claiborne was consistent and effective for the majority of the year. Despite dealing with a foot and leg injury that lingered for most of it, Claiborne only missed one game. He ended the season totaling 34 tackles, one interception, and eight passes defended.

Not only was 2017 the best season Claiborne has ever had in his six-year career besides his rookie campaign, he meshed well with teammates to make their defensive secondary much-improved compared to 2016. As a quality starting cornerback, it was a no-brainer to bring Claiborne back to continue what he started.

Contract details

Claiborne signed a one-year/$7 million contract with the Jets and will be a starting cornerback in 2018.

National reaction

Report: Jets keep Morris Claiborne with one-year, $7 million deal https://t.co/e3bLjRwcvp

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 16, 2018

New York Jets' 2018 free agency: Jets get a solid and affordable cornerback in Morris Claiborne https://t.co/1LLno23Gno

— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 16, 2018

Grade

Head coach Todd Bowles loves defensive backs that work hard, are physical, and have the potential to shut down top receiving targets. Before last season, the Jets took a chance on Claiborne who was released by the Dallas Cowboys due to inconsistency and the fact that he was always injured.

If you can’t stay on the gridiron and make an impact, it’s hard to make a case to be kept by your team. Luckily, the flier the Jets took on Claiborne paid off as he bounced back nicely and as long as he’s healthy, looks to be the real deal. He’s smart, executes well on assignments, and is a good locker room presence.

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The Jets defensive secondary looks like it could be a strength again next season since as it stands now, Johnson and Claiborne will be starters. Expect to see Buster Skrine and Darryl Roberts be backups but it’s also possible for the Jets to acquire or draft one more cornerback to add more quality depth to the roster.

In the grand scheme of things, the Jets made the right call bringing Claiborne back thanks to everything he brings to the table. It’s a low-risk/high reward kind of deal that brings back a high-caliber player that knows the defense and still has a lot left to prove to the football world.

Final Grade: B+

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