Trumaine Johnson

Panthers Cut Trumaine Johnson

Trumaine Johnson‘s time with the Panthers is already over. On Friday, the Panthers dropped Trumaine Johnson from the practice squad, just days after signing him. His spot will be filled by Kai Forbath, who returns to the team as their backup leg.

Johnson, 30, has made 77 NFL starts. At one point in time, he was regarded as one of the league’s better starting cornerbacks. But, things changed when he went from the Rams to the Jets. His five-year, $72.5MM deal was a monumental flop, and, ultimately, it proved to be one of the misguided moves that ended Mike Maccagan‘s tenure as the team’s GM.

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. He was also benched for performance reasons and, unsurprisingly, they were unable to find any takers for him at the trade deadline.

Now, Johnson has gone from NFL notable, to practice squader, to off the Panthers’ expanded 16-man practice squad. Forbath, meanwhile, will wait for his next opportunity while he backstops Joey Slye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Johnson, Forbath Join Panthers’ P-Squad

Trumaine Johnson‘s Panthers visit earlier this week will produce another opportunity for the former Rams and Jets cornerback. The Panthers are adding Johnson to their practice squad, Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets.

Carolina also added kicker Kai Forbath to its practice squad. An eight-year veteran, Forbath worked out for the team earlier this week.

The Jets made Johnson a rather expensive cap casualty in March, doing so after his lucrative 2018 free agent deal backfired. But the 30-year-old corner will attempt to work his way back onto the field with Carolina.

The Panthers, who let James Bradberry walk in free agency, are currently down Eli Apple and did not possess a particularly imposing cornerback crew before Apple’s move to IR.

Teams can stash up to six players with unlimited NFL service time on their practice squads this year — up from two in 2019. They may also promote two players from their P-squads each week without making a corresponding roster move.

Johnson has gone from the Forbes List to agreeing to make $12K per week as a practice squad cog. But he has missed extensive time over the past two seasons due to injury, and his on-field work did not impress with the Jets either. However, the Rams used the former UDFA as a starter for five seasons and twice used their franchise tag to keep him. Johnson graded as a higher-end player in St. Louis and Los Angeles. Considering Carolina’s issues at corner, Johnson has a good chance of returning to game action soon.

Forbath kicked in four games last season — three with Dallas, one with New England — and just three in 2018 (with Jacksonville). But he was the Vikings’ full-time kicker in 2017 and spent three seasons as Washington’s primary kicker earlier in the 2010s. He made 10 of 10 field goal tries and was 10-for-10 on PATs with the Cowboys last season. The Panthers have Joey Slye as their kicker for a second straight season. They released Graham Gano this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Host CB Trumaine Johnson

Former Rams and Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson is back on the NFL radar. The Panthers brought in the veteran for a visit Thursday, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

The Jets released Johnson on the first day of the 2020 league year, and the former Forbes List resident has been off the grid since. He struggled with injuries in New York and did not live up to the massive contract he signed in 2018. Gang Green ate $12MM in dead money to cut Johnson, though they spread the hit over multiple years via post-June 1 cut.

Johnson, 30, has made 77 NFL starts. His best work came in St. Louis and Los Angeles. The Rams prioritized Johnson over Janoris Jenkins in 2016, giving him the franchise tag. The sides did not work out an extension that year, and the Rams franchised Johnson again in 2017. Although the former UDFA out of Montana has not made a Pro Bowl, he earned quite a bit of dough from his tags and the Jets’ five-year, $72.5MM deal.

The Panthers were without free agent addition Eli Apple on Sunday against the Raiders, and the team was already light on proven corners with Apple in the equation. Apple currently sits on Carolina’s IR list. The Panthers used multiple draft picks on corners this year; both were Day 3 choices, however.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets, Falcons, Rams, Bears To Gain Cap Room Via Post-June 1 Cuts

The Bears, Falcons, Jets, and Rams will gain additional cap space starting Tuesday, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. The extra flexibility comes from the following releases that have been designated as post-June 1 cuts: 

Players released after June 1 can have their remaining cap charge spread out across two seasons, rather than one. These four players were released earlier this year, but designated as post-June 1 cuts to smooth out the dead money.

For these teams, a chunk of this money will go towards funding the incoming rookie class. However, there will still be some room left over for summer upgrades, thanks to the top-51 rule. In the case of the Falcons, they’ll have about $8.25MM to spend, as Kevin Knight of The Falcoholic notes.

The additional space could jumpstart talks for June’s best remaining free agents, a group that includes defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Logan Ryan, and guard Larry Warford. The Jets probably won’t go for Clowney, but they’ve shown serious interest in Ryan and Warford would make some sense for them if they want to upgrade over Brian Winters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Dolphins, Jets

For the first time since they drafted Drew Bledsoe at No. 1 overall in 1993, the Patriots have a need at quarterback. Tom Brady‘s Buccaneers announcement appears imminent. As for Brady’s Foxborough exit, Robert Kraft did not believe the 42-year-old icon wanted to make it work in New England any longer.

This wasn’t about that,” Kraft said regarding the financial component to this process (via Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston). “Tom was not going to be happy being in our system.”

Brady will leave the Patriots for a team that employs arguably the NFL’s premier wideout tandem — in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin — and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. The Patriots’ refusal to give Brady an extension in 2019, along with their diminishing post-Rob Gronkowski skill-position cadre helped lead Brady to Florida, Curran posits. Replacing even an aging version of Brady will certainly not be easy for the Pats. They have been linked to Andy Dalton, but Albert Breer of SI.com anticipates the team will wait and acquire a cheaper veteran. Among the passers left in free agency: Jameis Winston, Colt McCoy and Blake Bortles.

Here is the latest from the AFC East, starting with news from the Jets’ latest effort to upgrade their edge-rushing situation:

  • Linked to being interested in a Joe Burrow trade-up, the Dolphins still plan to attempt that move, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. While the Bengals are not expected to entertain trade-up offers, the Dolphins are the only team with three first-round picks. If the Dolphins cannot pull off a Burrow coup, they want to leave the draft with either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, Salguero adds. The Dolphins now must be cognizant of the Chargers’ actions. The Bolts, who pick one spot behind the Dolphins at No. 6, are not expected to pursue any veteran quarterbacks after missing on Brady. That points them to taking a passer at No. 6 or trading in front of the Dolphins to land one.
  • Long connected to Dante Fowler, the Jets watched the UFA edge defender choose the Falcons instead. The Jets were not prepared to go to the $16MM-AAV place the Falcons did, per Connor Hughes of The Athletic (on Twitter). Gang Green was linked to Fowler earlier in free agency, along with Jadeveon Clowney, however Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News noted to PFR the team was an aggressive player for Fowler and was not in the mix for the former top-five pick once free agency began. While the latter remains available, almost certainly due to injury concerns, the Jets’ edge options are narrowed. Longtime Jet Jordan Jenkins remains unsigned as well.
  • The Jets have designated Trumaine Johnson as a post-June 1 cut, allowing them to spread out the cap hit that comes from releasing a highly paid player two years into a five-year deal. Johnson’s release will now cost the Jets $4MM in 2020 and $8MM in 2021, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. Overall, the Jets saved $11MM in 2020 by making this cut. They cannot use any funds created by the Johnson release until June, however.

Jets To Release Trumaine Johnson

The Jets will officially cut Trumaine Johnson when the league year opens this afternoon, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This has been a long expected move as the Jets look to move on from an absolute disaster of a free agent signing. 

Since-fired GM Mike Maccagnan signed Johnson to a five-year, $72.5MM in 2018 after striking out on quarterback Kirk Cousins and other top targets. What seemed like an over-pay at the time went in a much worse direction than anyone could have anticipated. Injuries hampered Johnson and Jets officials were sometimes left with the impression that his effort was lacking.

The move will not free up lots of cap room for Gang Green – they’ll be saddled with $12MM in dead money versus just $3MM in cap savings. The silver lining, however, is that the Jets can spread his $12MM dead money cap hit by marking him as a post-June 1 release.

The Jets tried to scare up interest in Johnson before the trade deadline last year, but there were no takers. Predictably, there was no market for Johnson in March.

Between the Jets and the Rams, Johnson has earned $70M as an NFL pro.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets To Release CB Trumaine Johnson

A Jets long-anticipated Jets transaction will commence soon. The Jets have informed Trumaine Johnson he will be released, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports.

The Jets signed Johnson to a monster contract in 2018, but injuries and ineffectiveness have marred the cornerback’s post-Rams career. Johnson’s $11MM 2020 base salary would have become guaranteed on March 20.

This move is not especially advantageous to the Jets, who will eat $12MM in dead money while reaping just $3MM in cap savings. A new CBA being agreed to will allow the Jets to designate Johnson as a post-June 1 release, thus spreading out the cap hit over multiple years. If the players do not ratify the CBA proposal, the Jets will be tagged with that $12MM this year since post-June 1 cuts are not permitted in a CBA’s final year.

Since-fired GM Mike Maccagnan signed Johnson for five years and $72.5MM two years ago. After an appearance on the Forbes list due to his back-to-back franchise tags with the Rams from 2016-17, Johnson intercepted four passes in 10 games with the Jets in 2018 but made just five starts last season. Johnson dealt with a quad injury in 2018 and went on IR midway through last season.

The Jets hoped Johnson reuniting with ex-Rams DC Gregg Williams would reignite the veteran defender, Mehta adds, but nothing of that sort transpired. Pro Football Focus viewed Johnson’s 2019 play as having fallen off considerably compared to his first seven NFL seasons, and Adam Gase benched him during the campaign. The Jets attempted to trade him at last year’s deadline but predictably found no taker for his contract, which contained $34MM in guarantees.

Although Johnson did not make a Pro Bowl with the Rams, he commanded two franchise-tag salaries after the team moved to Los Angeles. However, the Jets’ decision to sign him will go down as another major Jets misstep during Maccagnan’s run. The bulk of the Jets’ major veteran investments under Joe Douglas‘ predecessor have either failed — Johnson, Darrelle Revis, Muhammad Wilkerson — or not taken off (Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley).

The Jets are expected to be active in free agency again this year, and cornerback will be one of Gang Green’s goals when the market opens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Targeting Pass Rushers

The Jets are seeking some pass-rush help, and they’re eyeing some of the top names on the market. Sources tell Connor Hughes of The Athletic that “the Jets are doing their homework on Jadeveon Clowney” and are among the teams “in on him.” The Jets are also planning to “actively pursue” Rams pass rusher Dante Fowler.

The team could alternatively look to the trade market for help. Hughes writes that the Jets are expected to make a call on Ravens defensive end Matt Judon, who is expected to receive the franchise tag after finishing 2019 with a career-high 9.5 sacks. However, Hughes cautions that the organization may be wary to give up too much draft capital, especially when they’re looking to fill holes via the draft.

Hughes also expects the Jets to be in on a number of offensive lineman, including Joe Thuney and Graham Glasgow. We heard yesterday that the organization was planning on pursuing Redskins lineman Trent Williams. The front office could even pursue cornerback James Bradberry, according to the writer.

The Jets will have a whole lot of money to throw at a pass-rusher, as they’re currently sitting with more than $60MM in projected cap space. Hughes notes that the organization could easily move on from the likes of cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson, lineman Brian Winters, and others, which would open up an additional $20MM to $27MM in cap space.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Jets Place Trumaine Johnson On IR

It looks like the Trumaine Johnson era in New York is coming to an end. The Jets placed Johnson on injured reserve today, as well as receiver Josh Bellamy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Johnson was a monster flop in the Big Apple after signing his massive free agent deal, and as Rapoport writes, “it’s safe to say Johnson has played his last down with the team.” Johnson is set to have $11MM in salary for 2020 become guaranteed in March, so he’ll almost certainly be cut by then. All told, Johnson will have received $34MM to appear in 17 underwhelming games for the Jets. New York apparently tried desperately to trade him at the deadline, but couldn’t find any takers.

After having a solid first six years in the league with the Rams, Johnson inked a five-year, $72.5MM deal last offseason. Things got off to a rocky start, and although he picked off four passes in ten games last year, he didn’t play up to standards. He was benched for a couple of weeks earlier on this season before ultimately regaining his starting role, and he clearly didn’t get along well with the new regime in New York.

Johnson has been graded very poorly by most observers this season, and he missed last week with an ankle injury. Still only 29, he should draw some interest on the open market. Bellamy is a former UDFA who had the occasional moment with the Bears over the past few years. He inked a two-year, $5MM deal with the Jets this offseason, but will finish 2019 with only two catches for 20 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.