The Jets face a huge contract situation with star cornerback

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Jets
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

While Sauce Gardner often captures the spotlight in the New York Jets‘ secondary, D.J. Reed’s substantial impact on the unit cannot be overlooked. The 27-year-old cornerback has emerged as one of the most reliable players at his position, demonstrating consistent performance and durability.

D.J. Reed’s Crucial Role in the Jets’ Secondary

Reed has impressively played at least 990 snaps in each of the past three seasons, underscoring his integral role in the defense.

Last season alone, he was on the field for 993 snaps, during which he managed 475 yards, scored two touchdowns, and recorded six pass breakups. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of the Jets’ defense could have been even greater if paired with a more competent offense, suggesting that Reed’s statistics should be viewed within this broader team context.

NFL: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

As Reed enters the final year of his three-year, $33 million contract signed in 2022, the Jets face a significant decision regarding his future with the team. Set to become an unrestricted free agent at the age of 29, and with a 2024 cap hit of $15.6 million, Reed’s performance this season will likely influence his market value and the Jets’ willingness to extend his contract.

The Jets are projected to have $58.3 million in cap space for the next year but need to reserve approximately $10 million for their 2025 draft class. This financial planning becomes even more crucial as they consider the futures of other key free agents such as Haason Reddick, Mike Williams, and Tyler Conklin.

With Gardner solidly occupying the CB1 position, the Jets might consider transitioning to a rookie cornerback on a more cost-effective deal. This move would allow them to allocate resources towards extending Reddick, who is currently holding out for a new deal.

Despite the potential to economize at cornerback, Reed’s performance makes a compelling case for another lucrative contract. The Jets may find themselves in a position to invest in both Reed and Reddick, especially considering the long-term financial outlook.

With quarterback Aaron Rodgers under contract until 2025 and significant cap implications in 2026 due to built-in void years, the Jets anticipate transitioning to a rookie quarterback eventually. This shift is expected to free up substantial salary space, providing more flexibility to manage high-value contracts for key defensive players.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: