The NY Jets are still looking for help at cornerback and it would be worth it to take a flyer on free agent cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
The NY Jets had a few major needs going into the offseason with one of their most pertinent coming at cornerback. They addressed the need in the second wave of free agency signing former Indianapolis Colts defensive back Pierre Desir.
But there’s certainly still work to be done.
Re-signing Brian Poole solidifies the nickel role, but the boundary starters could still be upgraded. At the moment, the projected starters on the outside are Desir and 2019 sixth-round pick Blessuan Austin.
While Austin impressed late last season and very well could be a starter in the near future, it would be foolish to count on him in that role to start 2020. After all, Austin had played just three games in two years prior to last season after tearing his ACL in consecutive seasons.
Not to mention the concerns over the limited sample size. We all remember Darryl Roberts‘ excellent stretch of games in 2018. Austin may very well be the future, but he isn’t quite the present just yet.
That’s why bringing in another veteran on a short-term deal could prove valuable for the Jets. Fortunately, a dwindling cornerback market just got a little bit deeper.
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Dennard was reportedly signed 10 days ago to a three-year, $13.5 million deal with $6 million guaranteed but the two sides just couldn’t come to a mutual agreement on the exact terms of the contract.
Now, he’s a free agent once more and the Jets would be wise to capitalize on that.
A first-round pick back in 2014, Dennard has spent the first six years of his career playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. After a rough start to his career, Dennard has managed to put together a few solid seasons in a row.
His best came this past season when he received a 72.2 grade from Pro Football Focus. Dennard finished with the 15th best coverage grade in the NFL and allowed just four catches of 10 or more yards, per PFF.
The 28-year-old has experience playing both the slot and on the boundary — the latter of which he’d be asked to play for the Jets.
Dennard could be a reliable, affordable starting option to pair with Desir for the time being. Of course, the hope will be that Austin could eventually assume that role, but this would take some of the pressure off him to immediately succeed.
The 2020 NFL Draft could also be an option for Gang Green to upgrade the position, possibly for the long haul, but with so many needs on offense to address early on, this might be their best strategy.
Dennard wouldn’t be a flashy signing, but he would be a dependable starter who could fill a major position of need.
Definitely a player worth taking a flyer on.