Release Candidate: Trumaine Johnson

The Jets will have some tough decisions to make in the months ahead. Will they part ways with running back Le’Veon Bell, even though that would result in an absurdly high dead money hit? Will they give safety Jamal Adams a top-of-the-market deal, stand pat, or open up the phone lines on trade inquiries, as they did before last year’s trade deadline? And how about free agent wide receiver Robby Anderson, who is gunning for big bucks after posting a so-so stat line?

Those are just some of the issues that need to be addressed by GM Joe Douglas this offseason. However, there are also easier calls to be made, including the future of cornerback Trumaine Johnson.

In 2018, former GM Mike Maccagnan inked Johnson to a five-year, $72.5MM deal with $34MM guaranteed at signing. Previous to that, Johnson performed as one of the league’s better cornerbacks with the Rams across six seasons. In New York, Johnson fell way, way short of expectations.

In his first year with Gang Green, Johnson missed significant time with a quad injury that some Jets staffers believe he could have played through. He did come away with four interceptions in 2018, but that stat doesn’t tell the whole story – Johnson struggled in coverage and looked like a shell of his former self.

Things deteriorated even further in 2019 – Johnson appeared in only seven games before landing on IR in early November. He was also benched for performance reasons and, unsurprisingly, they were unable to find any takers for him at the trade deadline.

Coach Adam Gase was vocal about his frustration with Johnson, but there was no sense in releasing him last year due to his deal. Cutting Johnson in 2019 would have resulted in $24MM in dead money with zero cap relief. This year, they’d still be saddled with $12MM in dead money, and they’d only save $3MM by dropping the 30-year-old, but that’s exactly what the Jets will do, in all likelihood.

The $3MM saved won’t be enough to sign a new starting cornerback, but it’s at least something. Expect Douglas to tack that on to his existing ~$50MM in cap room, a number that could grow even further by cutting vets like guard Brian Winters, cornerback Darryl Roberts, wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, and linebacker Avery Williamson.

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4 comments on “Release Candidate: Trumaine Johnson

  1. JJB0811

    Bravo to him! T Johnson and Cousins broke the mold. Both signed 2 franchise tags, making them top 5 paid in their positions. While raising the salary for their positions. Then inking huge payouts by different teams! I hope both go on to rake in more cash by dealing with poorly run teams.

  2. Jcool90

    Hmmm Kurt actually had an really nice year bud, and one game away from the NFCC Game. Johnson yeah nvm lol the jets always mess up

    • JJB0811

      Kurt always has statistically good seasons. But no team fears him in the 4th. My point is they used the current system to their benefit rather than complain about it. And both made huge bucks by doing so.

  3. crosseyedlemon

    “The $3MM saved won’t be enough to sign a new starting cornerback, but it’s at least something”

    The Jets can buy some XFL tickets with that money…maybe attend the Guardians game Sunday…and learn how not to blow a 16 point lead in a home opener.

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