The New York Jets are reportedly interested in multiple soon-to-be free-agent cornerbacks ahead of the 2020 season.
On Monday, the New York Jets decided to part ways with veteran cornerback Trumaine Johnson after just two seasons. The former St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams corner played 17 of a possible 32 games over the pair of years, having struggled in a number of ways.
So with Johnson exiting East Rutherford, the Jets must search for a replacement. Thankfully, the free agency period is right around the corner (March 18 at 4:00 p.m. ET). The Jets could seek a veteran to provide assistance in the secondary, and per Rich Cimini of ESPN, they’re interested in both Byron Jones (Cowboys) and James Bradberry (Panthers).
Jones will likely be a more expensive option than Bradberry, being that his career has been more successful up to this point. The five-year pro made his first Pro Bowl in 2018, the same year he earned AP All-Pro second-team honors. During that season, he recorded 67 combined tackles and 14 passes defended.
The 2019 season wasn’t as productive though. Jones only racked up 46 combined tackles and six passes defended. It’ll affect his price tag, but he should still be expensive. Nonetheless, he’ll be a player that’s worth it for the Jets, who will possess $49.4 million in cap room this offseason. A defensive backfield including Jones and Jamal Adams could thrive for years.
But the benefits from a potential Jones signing shouldn’t take away the consideration for Bradberry. The four-year pro has been a reliable option at the cornerback position for the Carolina Panthers since they drafted him in 2016. Last season, Bradberry recorded 65 total tackles, three picks, and 12 passes defended.
His coverage abilities aren’t top-tier, but they aren’t horrible either. Quarterbacks combined to complete 59.8% of their throws when targeting Bradberry as opposed to 44.2% in 2018. But in 2019, he allowed just one touchdown after letting up six the year prior.
Jones and Bradberry are both good players who should be considered by the Jets. As was mentioned before, Jones’ price tag will likely be a little higher. There could be more teams pushing for Jones, but Bradberry wouldn’t be a bad acquisition either.
Either way, the Jets need to look to bolster their pass defense. Last year, New York ranked 17th in the league with 236.2 passing yards allowed per game.