NY Jets still looking for cornerback help after recent waiver claim

NY Jets (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets are still looking for cornerback help, and it seems like they’ve turned to the waiver wire.

The NY Jets added some much-needed depth to their cornerback group in the offseason. But despite a unit that appears improved on paper, the team still isn’t done looking for extra help.

The Cleveland Browns recently claimed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back M.J. Stewart off waivers after the former second-round pick was released by the team last week.

But while the Browns were the team awarded him, they weren’t the only ones to place a claim.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported on Sunday that the Jets were another team to place a claim on Stewart as Yates cited general manager Joe Douglas’ continued search for more cornerback help.

A second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Stewart lasted just two seasons in Tampa Bay starting six games before unceremoniously being released last week. But while he never lived up to expectations with the Buccaneers, it’s easy to see why Douglas had his eye on him.

Coming out of North Carolina, Stewart was seen as a high-intangible, high-work-ethic player who was an underwhelming athlete but intrigued teams due to his versatility and toughness.

Ultimately, he was over-drafted with the Bucs reaching in the second round. But there’s always room on a roster for a player like that. And Douglas is someone who values both versatility and character making it unsurprising that he had interest in Stewart.

The Browns were one spot ahead of the Jets on the waiver order so the Jets come away with nothing, but this does show that the Jets are still looking for improvements at the cornerback position.

The NY Jets improved the cornerback position in the offseason, but it still remains a major question mark.

The team brought in former Indianapolis Colts’ cornerback Pierre Desir in the offseason and he’s expected to serve as the de-facto No. 1 corner to begin the season.

Meanwhile, the likes of Blessuan Austin, Quincy Wilson, Bryce Hall, and Arthur Maulet will compete for the No. 2 job while Brian Poole returns to man the slot.

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There’s a significant amount of depth there, but very few sure things. Evidently, Douglas is aware of that and he’s looking to cover his bases by scavenging the waiver wire for another addition.

Austin’s injury history is concerning, Wilson is coming off a disastrous 2019 season with Indianapolis, Hall’s injury history is also a cause for concern and he remains on the COVID-19 list, and Maulet has been nothing more than special-teamer for most of his career.

Sure, there are reasons for optimism, but the position is definitely a volatile one.

If not the waiver wire, the Jets have shown interest in free-agent cornerback Logan Ryan in the past, but it’s likely his asking price will have to come down for Douglas to seriously considering signing him.

Other free agents with starting experience such as Dre Kirkpatrick, former Jets’ cornerback Morris Claiborne, and B.W. Webb remain available as well.

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The Jets might not be done with the cornerback position just yet. Or at the very least, expect Douglas to remain active on the waiver wire in the coming weeks.