4 cornerbacks the NY Jets could target in 2022 free agency

NY Jets, J.C. Jackson
NY Jets, J.C. Jackson / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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NY Jets, Carlton Davis
NY Jets, Carlton Davis / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

2. The NY Jets could target Carlton Davis

Moving on to Carlton Davis, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eight slots after Jackson. Following an underwhelming rookie season, Davis has turned into a solid cornerback for the Bucs.

His PFF grades from 2019-’21 have been 70.4, 67.6, and 66.6, respectively, and he has cemented himself as one of the feistiest corners in the league, both his biggest pro and biggest con as a defensive back.

Davis’ aggressiveness allows him to beat receivers on contested plays, evident in his sky-high 48 pass deflections and six interceptions over his past 38 games. He tackles hard and often too, having notched 167 tackles and a few tackles for loss over that same span.

Where that aggressiveness comes back to bite him, though, is the penalties. Opposing teams have accepted 26 penalties committed by Davis over that 38-game span amounting to a whopping 297 penalty yards (over 10 yards per penalty). Davis really committed 30 penalties but four were declined.

Another knock on Davis is his health. He has only played in 51 games out of a possible 65 in his career. Most concerningly, he missed seven games last season following a quad injury.

In some ways, Davis projects as a risky signing, and in other ways, he projects as a safe signing. The risk comes from health and penalty concerns.

Davis could potentially miss a few games and commit costly penalties in the games he does play in. The Jets dealt with far too many injuries to begin with last year, so adding a slightly injury-prone player may be a bad idea.

Davis is a safe signing, though, in terms of his skill and value. He’s had three consecutive solid-to-good seasons and has always performed better in zone coverage, a key part of the Jets’ Cover 3 defense. Plus, Davis could probably be had at a somewhat reasonable price given his risk.

I think a four-year, $56 million contract is relatively reasonable for a guy who immediately starts as our CB1. His $14 million average annual value would make him tied for the 11th-highest-paid cornerback in the league.

If Davis shakes loose from Tampa, Douglas would be wise to consider him at this price.