Lee had a decent season in 2018, earning three interceptions, five passes defended, and 74 combined tackles. The problem, though, wasn’t last season, it was the two before. He had approximately zero interceptions and missed four games, in addition to the four he missed last year.
Injury concerns and lack of production are just two of the factors that have led the Jets to decline his fifth-year option. The linebacker would’ve taken up $9.5M in salary-cap next year if kept, but it seems as if they will let him walk, or even better, the team will trade him away and receive at least a late draft-pick in return.
What should the New York Jets do with Darron Lee?
If we’ve learned anything from the cross-town Giants, trading a player when they have value is a necessity. Just ask Landon Collins. A possible trading partner could be the Jacksonville Jaguars who just lost Telvin Smith for the 2019 season. Acquiring even a fourth/fifth round pick would be worth trading Lee away.
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How could Lee benefit the Jets this year?
It’s possible the Jets keep Lee in a speedy role fitted to Greg Williams’ scheme. Darron is a faster-undersized linebacker that may play at a higher level in a coverage role rather than near the line of scrimmage.
He has had trouble shedding blockers in the past and there’s no indication that he will overcome that challenge. However, the bigger question is his maturity and if he can handle a potential demotion.
“Darron has played and done some good things for us,” Maccagnan said about Lee, according to the NY Post. “We’ll see how this unfolds going forward. I think we have some very good competition at a lot of positions. We have very good depth at a lot of positions. We’ll see how it unfolds going forward.”