NY Jets should take a hard pass on Xavier Rhodes in free agency

NY Jets, Xavier Rhodes (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Xavier Rhodes (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets need cornerback help this offseason, but they should take a hard pass on former Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowler Xavier Rhodes.

The NY Jets will be searching for an upgrade at the cornerback position this offseason and they should have plenty of excellent options to choose from. However, one player they must stay away from is Xavier Rhodes.

Players like Byron Jones, James Bradberry, and Chris Harris — among others — will be available on the open market once the new league year (hopefully) begins on March 18th. And Rhodes is the latest name to join that list.

The Minnesota Vikings officially released the 2017 All-Pro cornerback on Friday after seven years with the organization. Originally selected n the first round back in 2013, Rhodes quickly developed into one of the very best cornerbacks in the NFL.

But his play over the past two seasons has shown that he’s a shell of his former self.

Rhodes finished the 2019 with a disastrous 46.4 Pro Football Focus grade ranking him 124th out of 132 qualified cornerbacks. To put things in perspective, Trumaine Johnson was given a 53.0 PFF grade — still terrible, but significantly better than Rhodes.

Despite this, Rhodes somehow made his fifth Pro Bowl in 2019 as further proof that that honor means absolutely nothing. But I digress.

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Rhodes was atrocious in 2019 and he wasn’t much better in 2018. The Florida State product finished with a PFF coverage grade of just 55.0 and allowed more than 65 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed.

At one point, Rhodes was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Now, he’s simply a liability — no matter the price tag.

On top of that, Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is known for his man-coverage-heavy scheme which is the absolute worst thing for an aging cornerback who is struggling — see the aforementioned Trumaine Johnson.

Rhodes’ only chance at a career revival would be for him to go to a zone-heavy scheme that could mask his physical limitations. Perhaps a Cover-3 team like Seattle or San Francisco could make sense, but that would require the belief that his career still could be salvaged.

Rhodes will turn 30-years-old in June and despite his excellent play from a few years ago, there really is no argument in favor of the Jets signing him. It doesn’t matter the price, he’s simply a massive liability on the gridiron.

The Jets would be better off looking elsewhere on the open market. Even if they don’t sign one of the top names, players like Trae Waynes and Prince Amukamara could be solid second-tier options.

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But under no circumstances should Xavier Rhodes be considered.