The NY Jets have reportedly informed cornerback Trumaine Johnson that he will be released before the third day of the new league year on March 20th.
When the NY Jets signed prized free-agent Trumaine Johnson back in March of 2018, the expectation was that they were getting a top-flight No. 1 cornerback. Or at least, that’s how the team was paying him.
Johnson was signed to a massive five-year, $72.5 million contract with $45 million in guarantees. The deal was the largest among all cornerbacks in the NFL and a major gamble on the Jets’ part.
Unfortunately, after just two short years, it’s safe to say that gamble didn’t exactly work out.
Early Monday morning, it was reported by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that Johnson was informed of his release by the Jets.
That release hasn’t been made official just yet, but it is expected to be official before the third day of the league year when his $11 million salary for 2020 becomes guaranteed. The Jets aren’t going to let that happen.
Johnson was set to carry a $15 million cap hit into 2020 which was third-highest on the team behind C.J. Mosley and Le’Veon Bell. The Jets will free up a measly $3 million in cap space by releasing him while creating $12 million in dead cap.
The franchise will be keeping a close eye on the pending Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions as it could affect their financial situation. If a new CBA is agreed to before Thursday, the Jets will be able to spread his cap hit out of the coming years.
If not, they’ll be on the hook for all $12 million of his cap hit in 2020.
On the surface, that seems like a bad deal for Gang Green. But that shows just how poorly Johnson has played.
They’d rather carry a dead cap charge of $12 million than carry Johnson on the roster.
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Johnson played 10 games in 2018 and followed that up with just seven in 2019, but injuries were only a small part of the problem with his tenure with the Jets. The former Los Angeles Rams defensive back was simply bad, and his poor work ethic did him no favors either.
The Jets were forced to bench Johnson twice in his short career with the organization and there was a noticeable uptick in production when he was off the field. His 53.0 Pro Football Focus grade in 2019 was one of the worst on the team and further proof of his shortcomings.
It speaks volumes that he was outperformed by waiver-wire pickups and late-round flyers. Players like Blessuan Austin, Maurice Canady, and Arthur Maulet significantly outplayed their veteran teammate and even if he had remained healthy, it’s unlikely he would have remained in the starting lineup.
Trumaine Johnson’s tenure in New York looks to finally be over and it’s likely the best for both parties involved.
The Jets’ offseason has truly begun, and it’s begun in expected fashion.