A major need for the New York Jets this offseason is to address the cornerback position. (You can read part one of my column regarding the quarterback position here). The Jets’ secondary this past season was absolutely dreadful, and they need to address that need through free agency and/or the draft.
Former first round pick, Dee Milliner, suffered a torn Achilles in Week 6 and was out for the season. That injury left the Jets with cornerbacks Darrin Walls, Antonio Allen, Marcus Williams, and Kyle Wilson to play the rest of the season. They were all undoubtedly horrific as the Jets allowed the third most passing touchdowns in the league.
In this league you need a franchise quarterback and lock-down corners. Todd Bowles has already made it clear that he wants above average cornerbacks on his team. Last season in Arizona, Bowles had cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie. Those were two very good cornerbacks who helped make the Cardinals defense a top unit.
Who should the Jets target this offseason at cornerback? (Noted, these are all unrestricted free agent cornerbacks per spotrac.com
Darrelle Revis (New England Patriots): The Patriots will do whatever they can to re-sign Revis and try to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. It has already been reported that the Jets and Buffalo Bills will pursue Revis as a free agent and Revis has even said that he would consider going back to the Jets.
I would love to see Revis don a Jets’ jersey once again and especially like to see the Jets sign him away from the Patriots. Unfortunately I am very skeptical of this reunion, as I believe re-signing Revis is the Patriots top offseason priority and they will do everything they can to keep Revis. Patriots President Jonathan Kraft has already said that the team wants to keep Revis.
Why would Revis even want to leave New England? They are the Super Bowl Champions and Revis has never played on this great of a team. He is only 29 years old and still has several elite seasons left in him. He plays for arguably the greatest coach of all time and can continue to bolster his Hall of Fame resume in Foxboro. Revis would also cost a boatload of money to sign, but he is worth the money. I hope I am wrong, but Revis is most likely staying put.
Kareem Jackson (Houston Texans): He could very well be the best free agent signing of this offseason. He is young, at 26 years old, and has great potential. He was a first round pick out of Alabama where he won a National Championship playing under Nick Saban. Pro Football Focus has given him a 9.5 rating, the highest of any cornerback on the open market. He had two interceptions against Joe Flacco in a Week 16 win over the Ravens.
As seen in the video he is a hard hitter, and even comes up to tackle on running plays. He has said he wants to re-sign with Houston, but money can sway anyone. If the Jets pay up for him then they can get him. I would not mind giving this kind of player a 5-year, $35 million deal, or even more money, if need be.
Antonio Cromartie (Arizona Cardinals): Cromartie once played for the Jets, and even was a personal favorite of mine. He just played for Bowles in Arizona and is familiar with all of his complex schemes. New coaches tend to be bring former players to their team as free agents. For example Rex Ryan brought Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard with him from Baltimore, so hopefully Bowles can do the same. Cromartie is one of the most freakish athletes in football as these two plays can attest to that.
I know he brings along a lot of baggage, 4 kids with his wife and 8 kids with seven different women, but he can still be a lockdown corner. He is 30 years old but would still be an instant impact for this team. This past season his cap hit was 4 million dollars, so to sign him would not cost all that much. This is a selfish reason for wanting Cromartie back, but then I can bring back out my Cromartie jersey buried in my closet somewhere.
Brandon Flowers (San Diego Chargers): He is 28 years old and just came off a very underrated season with the Chargers. He was the team’s number one cornerback and helped the Chargers rank 4th in the league in passing yards allowed. He made the Pro Bowl in 2013 when he was on the Chiefs and was stellar in Kansas City. Pro Football Focus gave him an 8.2 rating. Here are some of his highlights of his career.
He may be expensive this season, which may push the Jets from signing him. Regardless, he would be an immediate help to the Jets secondary.
Chris Culliver (San Francisco 49ers): Also a very young corner, at 26 years years of age. He has played on a top-flight defense in the past couple of years and Pro Football Focus gave him a rating of 8.5. He ended the season on a great note as he had 2 interceptions the in the last 2 weeks in the season. Here is a very good read on Culliver form ninersnation.com. They are predicting that he will leave for a long-term contract, something the Jets should give him, in my humble opinion.