New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas solved the OL issue, up next is fixing the depth at cornerback. Here are the top targets he should consider.
The next mission for Douglas and company? The dreadful situation at cornerback.
One of the biggest concerns for the Jets heading into the 2019 offseason was the depth at corner, heading towards the preseason it is still a massive concern:
- Trumaine Johnson
- Darryl Roberts
- Brian Poole
- Parry Nickerson
- Jeremy Clark
- Derrick Jones
- Arthur Maulet
- Mark Myers
- Montrel Meander
- Dee Delaney
- Tevaughn Campbell
- Kyron Brown
It’s hard to blame you if you had this reaction to the majority of that list.
Currently, the New York Jets have 12 cornerbacks listed on their 90 man roster. 6-of-the-12 corners haven’t been in the league for more than 2 years, not a recipe for success.
Trumaine Johnson is the unquestioned No. 1 corner on this squad. Not because of his outstanding play, but more so because of his contract status.
Johnson has four more years left on his deal for a grand total of $62.5 million in cap hits. While he didn’t play anywhere near up to snuff in 2018, any free agent bust talk is premature at this point.
Trumaine is reunited with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from their Los Angeles Days. During their time together, Johnson had his best season as a pro: seven interceptions back in 2015.
But even if Trumaine returns to Pro Bowl form, the Jets are going to need some reinforcements. With Jets general manager Joe Douglas being proactive with the deficiencies at the center spot, it’s time for him to be proactive with the problem at cornerback.
Here are some of the options for the Jets to consider:
Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
- 6-foot-1, 194 pounds
- Cap hit:
- 2019: $7.5 million
- 2020: $13.7 million
If Joe Douglas was willing to go big-game hunting at the center spot, why not do the same thing at cornerback? While Jalen Ramsey is a character and brings some passionate baggage to the table, he is one of the true elite shutdown corners in this game. Plus he’s only 24-years old, that’s a worthwhile call to make to Jacksonville.
Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota Vikings
- 6-foot-1, 218 pounds
- Cap hit:
- 2019: $13.3 million
- 2020: $12.9 million
- 2021: $14.1 million
- 2022: $13.8 million (although the Jets could cut him with no dead cap penalty).
Acquiring Xavier Rhodes wouldn’t be nearly as attractive as adding Jalen, but it would prove effective. Rhodes is a lanky, long-armed cornerback who can stifle an opposing team’s No. 1 wide receiver. The contract isn’t great and Rhodes is 29 years old, but perhaps both of those factors would make Xavier easier to acquire without having to give up a lot of assets.
Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
- 6-foot-1, 203 pounds
- Cap hit:
- 2019: $11.8 million
- 2020: $13.1 million
I’m sure Jamal Adams would be all for adding another LSU Tiger to the secondary. Patrick Peterson has been one of the best corners in the game since being taken in the 2011 NFL Draft. The contract isn’t terrible and he’s 29 years old (just like Xavier). A slight issue that the two teams would have to work around is Peterson’s upcoming six-game suspension. With only two years left on his deal, missing six games in 2019 could cause an impasse.
Morris Claiborne, UDFA
- 5-foot-11, 192 pounds
- Cap hit:
If Joe Douglas wants to go the cheap route, excuse me, the “selective” route he could go to free agency. All it’ll cost Douglas is money instead of giving up money and assets. Although some unfortunate suspension news was revealed on Friday by Ian Rapoport:
“Veteran CB Mo Claiborne, one of the top unsigned players, is facing a 4-game suspension for violations of the substance abuse policy. He’s appealing and it could be reduced. This would explain why a player as proven as he is would remain a FA.”
The New York Jets didn’t draft a cornerback until the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and didn’t draft a center in general. Which seemed like a vote of confidence for Jonotthan Harrison and Darryl Roberts.
The problem is both players are relative unknowns who don’t have experience. The Jets couldn’t afford to put Harrison in as a starter heading into Week 1 so they acquired All-Pro center Ryan Kalil, now it’s time to do the same at cornerback.