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New York Jets: The Curious Case of Trumaine Johnson

by Pete Hernandez

Already two games into the 2019 season and what could go wrong has gone wrong for the New York Jets? Adding onto the chaos is the curious case of Trumaine Johnson, and the question of what exactly will the Jets do with their $72 million dollar cornerback?

Concoct a hypothetical nightmare scenario for an NFL franchise two weeks into the season, and chances are the New York Jets have matched or exceeded that simulated scenario. The Jets, now having to start their third-string quarterback after losing Sam Darnold to mono and Trevor Sieman to a season-ending injury, also are without key starters on defense like C.J. Mosley.

The icing on the cake: surprise, they are also 0-2 on the regular season, with a daunting schedule awaiting them going forward.

As one can see, the Jets already have plenty of issues and obstacle to overcome as it is, though most if not all of these are due to health and injuries. New York also has a $72 million dollar situation to handle as well, the case of the (healthy) Trumaine Johnson.

The Jets’ prized free-agent acquisition from a season ago has a rough start to the 2019 season, to say the least. In the season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Johnson allowed seven catches on eight targets for 117 yards. He didn’t even get the chance to bounce back in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, as he was a healthy scratch, regulated to wait on the sidelines.

In fairness, giving up 117 yards at home to begin the season might be all that one needs to see, at least for head coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Greg Williams.

Trumaine Johnson had an up-and-down (albeit injured) inaugural season with the Jets, where he allowed 40 catches and a 75.9 quarterback rating through 10 games under Todd Bowles. 2019 would be the chance to start anew on a clean slate, and yet it’s already Week 3 and it seems like he might be done for good in New Jersey.

Johnson’s disgruntled state might become a toll on the sidelines, but he’s also carrying a financial toll as well. Long story short, Trumaine Johnson’s contract leaves a cap hit come this season and next, making no logical sense for the Jets to release him. Their best bet, in reality, would be to trade him if they truly believe his days with the Jets are done.

But to accomplish that, trading for Johnson needs to be perceived as worthwhile to other NFL franchises. There are plenty of needs for help in the secondary, but will team necessarily want to trade for a $72 million dollar defensive back that played his way out of the rotation in a matter of just one regular-season game?

Injuries and a daunting schedule are the primary obstacles in the Jets’ way for the time being, but Trumaine Johnson (if allowed) can become another headache to an already chaotic start to the season. Does Johnson get traded, released, or remain regulated to the sidelines?

Whatever Johnson’s future may be, the hope is that the Jets’ next move is the right one. Then again, it can’t possibly get worse than it is now, can it?

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