Jets releasing Trumaine Johnson after two bad years

Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images /

Despite previously signing a lucrative contract with the New York Jets, cornerback Trumaine Johnson will soon hit the free-agent market.

The fit between a football player and his team can make or break the pairing. In the case of Trumaine Johnson and the New York Jets, the latter seems to be occurring.

Per the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta, the franchise is parting with a player it had once hoped would be a bona fide No. 1 corner for years to come. Two subpar seasons in a row was long enough for New York to decide it would be better off without Johnson.

Johnson played his way into a five-year, $72.5 million contract with the Jets after putting together an impressive stretch with the St. Louis and, later, Los Angeles Rams. He recorded 18 interceptions and 67 passes defended in his first six years, emerging as one of the better corners in the league.

Despite picking off four passes in 2018, Johnson’s play wasn’t nearly as good as the stat sheet will show. That came back to bite him this past season, as it was his worst as a pro. New York is risking having to pay $12M in dead cap to get out of his deal and save $3M to potentially use this offseason.

The timing of this not-yet-official transaction depends on whether the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be settled on by Thursday. If players vote yes, Johnson can be designated as a post-June 1 cut and his cap hit can be spread out. If they vote no, the entire dead cap charge ends up on the Jets’ books all at once.

Johnson turned 30 at the beginning of the year. He won’t earn another deal even remotely close to the one he signed back in 2018, but he’s still young enough to contribute to another team. He will soon join a free-agent class filled with cornerbacks in similar situations.

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