All the talk has been focused on Jalen Ramsey, but what about someone else closer geographically? The Jets have a talented cornerback that is taking up space on the bench.
Trumaine Johnson has fallen out of favor with head coach Adam Gase in New York. The former third-round pick has publicly stated he won’t seek a trade but it has to be hard for him to watch from the sideline. Johnson was benched after a poor Week 1 performance for Temple product Nate Hariston. He just wasn’t getting the job done as he was consistently beaten on crossing routes and flagged for a costly facemask penalty. That was enough for Gase.
The 29-year-old saw only a few snaps in Week 2 and was used primarily on sub packages in Week 3, according to the Jets’ official website. For the time being, Johnson is biding his time and towing the company line. And watching quietly from the bench.
“He just needs to keep stacking days. When his number is called he’s got to be ready,” said Jets defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson. “We’ll see how it plays out.”
Could Trumaine Johnson Help Eagles Secondary?
Let’s be honest: Johnson has been a project for the Jets. This is the second straight year he’s battled back from a combination of a nagging hamstring and quad issue only to disappoint in the season opener. New York inked Johnson to a five-year, $72.5 million contract last year with the expectation he would be a true shutdown corner. It hasn’t happened. Not yet.
The rub is with that gargantuan contract he signed. That’s a ton of money to absorb for a cornerback who has been largely underwhelming over the past two seasons. If there was any way GM Howie Roseman could get the Jets to eat some of that, then Johnson would definitely be worth a flier. Here are three reasons the Eagles might want to take a chance on the struggling defensive back.
The Talent Level is There Somewhere
Johnson didn’t pull a $72.5 million contract out of thin air. He earned it with his stellar play for the Los Angeles Rams. The cornerback had a breakout season in 2015 where he recorded his first multi-interception game against the Raiders. He graded out at 81.0 and ranked in the top 25 corners in the NFL and remained in the elite group in 2016. The Rams placed the franchise tag on him for two straight years before Johnson went to the Jets as a free agent. In eight NFL seasons, he has tallied 378 total tackles and 22 picks, including returning four of them for touchdowns. Talent like that doesn’t vanish.
Joe Douglas is New York Jets GM
Let’s not over-value the fact that Joe Douglas — the former Eagles front-office executive and Howie Roseman’s right-hand man — is now the Jets GM. There could be pros and cons to this. Pro: Douglas and Roseman have a great working relationship and probably have already exchanged text messages about all possible trade scenarios. Con: Douglas knows Roseman well enough not to get suckered into a bad business deal, like eating up Johnson’s $72.5 million contract.
Availability is Best Ability in NFL
Right now, Johnson is sitting on the bench in New York. He is barely playing a reserve role since the coaching staff has been so disappointed with him. That’s wasted talent, with no return on investment. The Jets must be at least tempted to float the corner out there to potential suitors even if it netted them below-market value in exchange. Perhaps a veteran like Ronald Darby paired with a project like Rudy Ford would make sense. Johnson has yet to force his way out of New York, but he can always play that hand — and it has to be coming for a guy who has enjoyed success in the league. Everyone else is doing it these days.
Follow the Heavy Philadelphia Eagles page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!