Well, that was fast. Just a few short days after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Jets have already come to terms with one of their 10 draft selections.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday morning that the Jets had signed former Auburn safety Jamien Sherwood. He was Gang Green’s fifth-round draft pick (No. 146 overall).
Interestingly Sherwood also ended a streak of four straight offensive players to start the draft for the Jets. Also coincidentally he started a streak of his own because the remaining six picks in the draft, including the former Auburn stud, were all defensive players.
Sherwood became the first of 259 NFL draft picks to sign his rookie contract.
This process has become a lot smoother over the years thanks to the implementation of the NFL rookie wage scale. Every draft pick from one to 259 is slotted.
No. 1 overall draft picks aren’t making $70M anymore with $50M of that fully guaranteed.
In other words, the majority of the negotiating that took place prior to the rookie wage scale doesn’t exist anymore. This has limited holdouts because every player and team has all the cards on the table.
For instance, Sherwood’s rookie contract is a four-year deal worth $3.8M. That’s a slotted number based on where he was taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Another interesting factoid is no one single position makes more than the next. For example, if a player is taken second overall and they play quarterback they would make the same amount of money that the following year’s second overall pick that plays running back would.
Position change on the horizon for Jamien Sherwood
After playing 34 games in college as a defensive back, Jamien Sherwood is sliding down to play linebacker.
The Jets initially announced this on social when Sherwood was drafted. Then head coach Robert Saleh confirmed it in his post-draft presser.
There are several reasons the Jets are making this positional change. Firstly, Sherwood is too slow to play safety.
At his Pro Day, he ran a 4.75 40 yard dash. That’s molasses slow for a safety and to be candid it isn’t even a great number for a linebacker.
When asked about his slow 40 time Sherwood provided a great response:
“I’m not really worried about the 40. It doesn’t say everything. I think I played great these past few years. My motto is, how do you stop speed? You hit it. You can run a 4.2 40 yard dash but once you run into a wall, it comes to an end.”
The other big reason the Jets are making this position change is a philosophical belief. Robert Saleh believes he can find players with certain traits that’ll fit his scheme and that’s more important than whether or not a player has experience at the linebacker spot.
Is there anyone better to trust with the development of linebackers than Saleh? Every stop along his NFL path he’s cultivated or improved talent: Paul Posluszny in Jacksonville, Brian Cushing in Houston, and most recently his work with Fred Warner in San Francisco speaks for itself.
What Sherwood lacks in speed he more than makes up for with a massive wingspan, a textbook tackle machine mentality, and he’s an absolute punisher when he delivers hits across the middle. He has all the traits to be a modern-day linebacker for the Jets in their 4-3 scheme.
One contract down, nine to go for Jets general manager Joe Douglas.