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AFC East

Trumaine Johnson OUT, $11 million IN

Jadeveon Clowney playing for the Houston Texans in 2016. Photo by Karen (@The Brit_2) via Flickr.

Trumaine Johnson officially came off the books on Monday — well, almost. Johnson was set to make $15 million in 2020, but now $11 million of that the Jets get back by releasing him.

According to SNY, the Jets will have about $24 million in cap space as a result of this move. That opens up a lot of options for Gang Green, so let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing ones.

Larry Warford, OG
The Saints cut Warford a little under a month ago much to the surprise of just about everybody. The move cleared a substantial amount of the cap for the Saints, but it was still a shock to see a soon-to-be 29-year-old offensive guard who made the Pro-Bowl each of the last three seasons all of a sudden hit the free agency market. This should be the Jets No. 1 target. Not only is it being reported by people like NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that he is only seeking around $7 million per year, but he would also immediately become the best offensive guard on the team. Not only that, but the Jets could then cut guard Brian Winters and get back all of his $7-plus million salary. It would then leave Warford, Greg Van Rotten and Alex Lewis as three quality offensive guards to rotate throughout the season.

Logan Ryan, CB
The Jets were linked to Logan Ryan a couple of weeks back when Manish Mehta of the Daily News reported the Jets believed they were going to sign him to a one-year deal. However, after a couple of talk show appearances from Ryan over the next couple of days where he was evidently trying to drum up his price, a deal never got done. Fast forward to now and Ryan is still on the market. If Ryan joins the Jets he will greatly improve one of the weaker parts of the defense, the cornerbacks. There’s upside in players like free agent signing Pierre Desir, rookies and second-year players Bryce Hall and Bless Austin and others like Arthur Maulet and Quincy Wilson. There’s just not a lot of guarantees, and Ryan could bring that. You know what you’ll get from Logan Ryan — a quality cornerback who has proven on a consistent basis he can be effective in the NFL — something that aside from Brian Poole is lacking on this team.

Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
The 27-year-old former No. 1 overall pick was looked at to be maybe the biggest free agent in the entire class at the beginning of the offseason, but his market never really materialized — at least to his standards. But Clowney has seemed content to wait it out until he gets an offer he’s happy with from the right team. After turning down what was reportedly a very large offer from the Cleveland Browns, one has to wonder what it might take to actually land him. Still, with about $24 million in cap space and a pass rush as questionable as the Jets’, it is worth it to make a run at him.

Everson Griffen, EDGE
I don’t think I’ve seen really any legitimate reports linking Griffen to the Jets, but with this newly freed up money, they should definitely take a look at him. Like I mentioned with Clowney, the Jets pass rush is suspect, and Griffen is a four-time Pro-Bowler (2015-17, 19) who is coming off an eight sack season, the same number as Jordan Jenkins who led the Jets last season. Jenkins is back with the Jets, but the difference between him and Griffen is Griffen has a much better track record. For Jenkins, eight sacks was a career-high. Griffen hit double-digit numbers three times in his career. Jenkins does have the age advantage, going into his age-26 season whereas Griffen is going into his age-33 season, so there is a bit of concern the Jets would be paying for someone who is clearly on the downswing of his career when Jenkins is already in house. If they’re going to sign an EDGE, I’d rather it be Clowney, but I wouldn’t be upset with a short term deal for Griffen that would allow them to rush him and Jenkins on both ends of the line.

Jason Peters, OT
This one might be the most interesting name of the bunch. After 11 years in Philadelphia, Jason Peters is on the market. He’s made nine Pro-Bowls and two All-Pro teams in his career, but none since 2016. He’s also missed 12 games over the past three seasons, so there are injury concerns. But Peters, going into his age-38 season, has made it clear he wants to keep playing. The Jets could bring him in as a reserve and mentor for first-round pick Mekhi Becton and he would be able to get snaps when Becton and George Fant need a couple plays off. If Becton or Fant were to go down due to injury, the Jets would be able to use a proven veteran as a stop-gap. Whether or not he will still be able to play at a quality level at his age is up for debate, but it can’t hurt to give him a one or two year deal to be a mentor for the Jets left tackle of the future.

There are a bunch more names the Jets could target, but these were the five that stood out. If they even sign just one of them, it would cap off what has been a very successful first offseason for general manager Joe Douglas.

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