The New York Jets had a fluid game plan entering the 2021 NFL Draft. Depending on how their board shook out, they were ready to zig or zag when necessary.
It just so happened to break in a way where the first four picks were offensive players. Then there was a shift and the Jets took six straight defensive players.
Although at a certain point during the draft, it seemed like the Jets made a decision on how they would address the cornerback spot.
Free agency post-draft
The first time the Jets evern seriously considered taking a cornerback during the 2021 NFL Draft was on day three. In the first two days, the green and white simply couldn’t pass up the value of the players on the board at the time.
With that process in mind, the Jets made a conscious decision to address their cornerback woes on the free-agent market post-draft.
Instead of reaching to fill every need, Jets general manager Joe Douglas opted for the long-term approach. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will this Jets roster.
The Jets have the third-most cap space in the NFL right now, per Over The Cap. Gang Green could still do some more roster finagling to create some cap space if they see fit to fill the remaining holes on the roster.
One way they can do that is on the open market. There are still several delectable options at corner the Jets should strongly consider.
Kim Jones of the NFL Network joined Brian Costello on his podcast Gang’s All Here and shared some interesting tidbits on the Jets plans post-2021 NFL Draft:
“I do think Richard Sherman is in the mix for the Jets. Steven Nelson is another name that I didn’t necessarily think about but that was brought to my attention so I have to believe he’s in the mix for them as well. Leadership and playing experience make sense to me why they’d go after Sherman and Nelson. I can certainly see either or both being targets for the Jets post-draft.”
Nelson has been super productive over his last two years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since 2019 he’s registered 17 pass deflections, three interceptions, and over 100 combined tackles, per Pro Football Reference.
For Richard Sherman detractors that don’t believe the Jets are a good fit because they’re on the east coast and he wants to play for a contender, Kim Jones provided this rebuttal on the podcast:
“The one thing I’d say about that is Robert Saleh is very popular among players. I’m not saying the Saleh effect would erase a $5M difference between one team and the next. But I do think we saw it in free agency with players wanting to play for Saleh. That would be the reason Richard Sherman would come here. Sherman was a huge advocate for Saleh getting a head coaching opportunity and he wants to be a part of it.”
The 33-year old veteran cornerback is hoping for a two-year contract to round out his 12-year NFL career. Which would make perfect sense for the Jets because they’re looking for a stop gap. He would be an ideal fit for the Jets on the boundary.
Why should the Jets sign Richard Sherman?
Sherman has plenty of gas left in the tank and is a huge Robert Saleh advocate:
Richard Sherman on Robert Saleh:
“He’s able to rally men, he’s a leader of men”pic.twitter.com/LXcqfQwhWT
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) January 15, 2021
It doesn’t hurt to have a leader in the locker room that can show players on the team the ropes and reiterate expectations from Saleh.
Also, there are going to be rough patches during the new regime where players start to question things. It’s important to have a player that’ll steady the ship and hold the line when those choppy waters inevitably arrive.
The Jets have plenty of money. They have a clear need at corner. Signing one if not both Sherman and Nelson makes too much sense not to happen.