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NY Jets are wise to move on from Trumaine Johnson

By Chris Stephano
NY Jets, Trumaine Johnson (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Trumaine Johnson (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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While unfortunate, the NY Jets’ decision to cut cornerback Trumaine Johnson is necessary. The franchise will now have to make further moves to solidify the cornerback position for 2020.

Reports have now surfaced that the NY Jets will be cutting cornerback Trumaine Johnson. The details of this move are yet to be determined, but the Jets are waiting to determine if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is ratified or not.

If it’s approved, the franchise will have the option to spread out Johnson’s $12 million cap hit over the next two years. If not, they will be forced to take the entire cap hit this season.

The Jets did not have a particularly effective secondary last year. They allowed 236.2 passing yards per game in 2019, ranked 17th in the league.

In spite of the Jets’ deficiencies at cornerback, Trumaine Johnson still struggled to stay on the field. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, he only appeared in 17 games throughout his two seasons in a Jets uniform.

Although the Jets will still be forced to take a financial hit for the massive five-year, $72.5 million contract they gave Johnson, they decided the team is better off without him. It is abundantly clear that the Johnson contract represents yet another colossal blunder from the Jets’ front office.

Final tally for Trumaine Johnson: $34 million for 17 games. #freeagency #jets

— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 9, 2020

The Jets and their fans have become pretty adept at focusing on the negative. That said, how can the Jets move forward from the Johnson debacle in a positive way? How can they field a competitive team in 2020?

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The franchise has a lot of needs besides cornerback, including offensive line and wide receiver. They simply won’t be able to spend top dollars on free agents across the board.

Even if they could afford to, it is clear that the “throwing money at a problem” approach often doesn’t work with NFL roster building.

Rather, the Jets need to take a more deliberate and intentional approach to building a team. This generally involves a two-pronged approach — drafting effectively and finding bargains in the free-agent market.

One thing the Jets have going for them is that this year’s draft projects to be rich in offensive line and wide receiver talent. The Jets should strive to trade down and amass as many picks as possible.

Most importantly, they need to make their draft picks count. The team simply cannot afford any more high profile misses in the draft.

As far as finding bargains, the key involves discovering players who have unrealized potential. Whether due to past injuries or a coaching scheme misfit, there are potential NFL starters who can be acquired at a discount.

Report: Jets showing interest in Byron Jones https://t.co/mfb9aJZNvR

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 8, 2020

In addition to the draft and making small free agent moves, the Jets should have enough cap space to make a splashy signing or two. If they end up making a big move at cornerback, one player to keep an eye on is former Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones.

Clearly, Jets general manager Joe Douglas has his work cut out for him.

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However, if he is able to methodically add talent using a variety of means (i.e. draft, small and large free agent signings), the Jets have the potential to move past their mistakes and to be a competitive team in 2020 and beyond.

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