The New York Jets could be making a big investment in their secondary.
SNY freelance writer Bent boldly predicted that Gang Green’s biggest free agent signing this offseason will be Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
“A starting safety seems the most obvious position for them to make a big splash.”
NFL Salary Cap Analyst Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus projected the contracts for the top 100 free agents on the market in 2023.
For CJ Johnson he is expected to receive a three-year deal for $34.5 million. This projection would include $23 million in total guarantees and would place him at an $11.5 million per year evaluation.
‘Don’t Ever Rule out’ a Joe Douglas Jets Splash in Free Agency
Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic joined me on my podcast and said “never rule out” Jets general manager Joe Douglas making a splash in free agency.
He said if Douglas is going to make a splash on the open market Rosenblatt’s prediction would be at the safety position.
“At safety if they cut Jordan Whitehead that might be a sign that they’re going after somebody that’s at the top of the market.”
If Gang Green moved on from Whitehead they could save over $7 million on the cap but would have to eat $2.9 million in dead cap.
CJ Johnson is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and was one of the names Rosenblatt mentioned as a possible option.
The 25-year-old spent the first three years of his career with the New Orleans Saints before getting traded to the Eagles this past offseason.
The former Florida product has proven to be an extremely versatile and productive player during his four years in the pros.
Johnson has registered 11 interceptions, 36 pass deflections, and over 228 combined tackles in 55 career games.
This past season he led the league in picks with six and developed a strong reputation as a ball hawk.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Could Be Missing Ingredient for Jets Defense
The Jets defense got off to a great start in 2022 as it pertains to creating turnovers but those good fortunes didn’t last.
Gang Green finished with only 16 takeaways which was the third-lowest amount in the NFL this past season.
The Jets had plenty of opportunities to pounce on fumbles and catch interceptions, but they didn’t get the job done as a collective unit.
Perhaps adding a turnover monster like CJ could be infectious to the rest of the group. Head coach Robert Saleh said on more than one occasion last year that turnovers come in bunches.
The interesting thing will be the price tag on Gardner-Johnson this offseason.
He has missed 11 games in four years in the NFL with a myriad of injuries. Also due to his versatility in the secondary, what position should he get paid at?
As Spielberger noted in his column, safeties make a lot more than slot corners so that’ll be an important designation during discussions with other NFL teams.
With the Jets, it would be clear he’d be staying at the safety position on the backend of the defense, but that might not be the same with some other teams that are interested in his services.