The New York Jets have a ton of decisions to make this offseason. If they can’t re-sign Demario Davis, there is another option: Derrick Johnson.
That’s a stark difference from when Davis was a free agent a couple years ago after leaving the Jets. Fans were ready to move on and the numbers bore it out that Davis struggled in coverage.
Davis ended up taking his talents to Cleveland (yikes) and after a one-year vacation, he was traded back to the Jets for Calvin Pryor (bust) in a rare player-for-player swap.
Expectations were understandably in the crapper. Davis even took a pay-cut to stay with the Jets:
“Davis, due to make a non-guaranteed $3.7 million in the final year of his contract, will now make $1 million in 2017”, via ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates.
But Davis had a career-year in 2017, ironically that coming in a contract year with the Jets. That being said, his status is uncertain in terms of his future with the green and white. The Jets could lock him up before free agency starts on March 14, but they’ve shown no signs of doing so thus far.
We have to be prepared for all scenarios. If the Jets move on from Davis they’ll have to look in a different direction. One option is to go the veteran route with a guy like Derrick Johnson.
Chiefs' LB Derrick Johnson's contract voided after this season, and he now will become an unrestricted free agent. The 35-year-old Johnson, who made two game-changing plays in wild-card game vs. Titans that were nullified due to penalty, wants to play more seasons.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 13, 2018
Now the usual response would be, ‘why another old veteran?’ Well, young padawan, experience is one of the most underrated attributes a player can bring to the table. If the Jets do decide to replace Davis (I would personally keep him), they need to maintain the intangibles.
Davis brought a lot of those to the table. The Jets have started to change the culture and fix the locker room. They can’t jeopardize that just to save a few pennies. Johnson would be a seamless fit in this scheme.
There’s familiarity with Johnson working under former Jets assistant Bob Sutton, who was with the green and white for 12 years from 2000 through 2012 before jumping over to Kansas City and coaching the defense for the last five years.
Johnson has a grasp of the defensive terminology, the Jets will have a void at the position if Davis leaves, and he has quite the resume to back it up:
- Four-time Pro Bowler
- Dick Butkus award winner
- Over 1,000 tackles in his career
- 27.5 career sacks
- 14 interceptions
- Four defensive touchdowns
40 quarterback pressures
23 forced fumbles
14 interceptions pic.twitter.com/AGc8QgZeQV
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 13, 2018
I mean that could be a decorated resume good enough for Canton, let alone signing on with the Jets.
Here’s a bonus: Since he’s being let go now, it seems like the Jets could do a double-dip on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to early free agency presents. The first being their potential interest in former Pro Bowler Vontae Davis, who is currently a free agent.
Johnson could be a steadying presence that could hold down the fort, while the Jets brass invests future draft picks into the position this year and in the future. The best of both worlds.
The Jets have plenty of money and plenty of holes to fill. The Jets should avoid procrastination (like I didn’t through too many years of college) and get these holes filled as soon as possible so they can maintain flexibility.