New York Jets’ CB Brian Poole has been Elite in 2019

New York Jets, Brian Poole
Oct 27, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets cornerback Brian Poole (34) jogs on the field before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Poole has been by far the New York Jets best free-agent acquisition this season.

When Brian Poole signed with the Jets for just $3 million in March no much attention was paid to the move. The attention that the move did get came from angry Jets fans. They didn’t understand how the Jets could sign Poole to play slot CB when players like Bryce Callahan were available. It felt like the team was cheaping out at one of the most important positions in the league.

Poole has quickly proven everybody wrong. He’s become one of the premier slot CBs in the NFL in 2019. Poole has allowed just 378 yards this season, which is 27th in the league. He’s allowing just 10.8 yards per receptions, which is 12th in the league. He’s also allowing just 6.5 yards per target, which is 17th in the league. Poole is fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per coverage snap at just 0.66 yards per snap. His 60.3% catch rate allowed is 32nd in the league.

What’s most impressive about Poole’s turnaround this season tough is his discipline. Poole was among the league leaders in penalties among CBs in 2018 with eight called against him and five accepted. In 2019 Poole has just three penalties called against him and one accepted. That turn around is a huge reason why he’s been one of the elite slot CBs in the league.

These numbers may not stand up to the elite numbers put up by CBs like Stephon Gilmore or Richard Sherman, but they are impressive. They make him one of the best slot CBs in the NFL. Getting a player of that caliber in free agency for just $3 million dollars is as good as it gets.

The issue is that Poole is set to hit free agency at the end of the season. So, the Jets are going to have to re-sign him if they want him back. With the value of slot CBs on the rise, it could be costly. The best comparison for a contract would be Bryce Callahan who signed a three-year $21 million contract with $10 million guaranteed.

With the cap increasing Poole should expect to at least match that contract. Will new Jets’ GM Joe Douglas be willing to shell out seven or eight million on a slot CB? That’s a question that is going to need to be answered in the coming weeks.

If Poole does walk it will mean that the Jets have yet another hole in the roster that they’ll need to fill in 2020.