If I had held off publishing Friday’s article by a few hours, I could have presented a pretty obvious solution to the New York Jets’ cornerback problem.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers Friday for salary cap reasons, as he was owed a $2 million training camp bonus this summer. The Jets’ starting cornerback question suddenly has a viable, veteran answer.
Florida Today’s Erika Esola reported that the Jets tried to trade for Flowers in May. The Chiefs were listening, until John Idzik “said no,” according to Esola. Idzik’s critics will not be surprised, as he has earned a reputation of moving too slowly to make deals and missing out on free agent cornerbacks like Alterraun Verner and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. But Idzik’s position allows him to know things we fans do not know. Maybe he saw there could be this future opportunity to sign Flowers without losing anything through a trade.
Signing a player of the 28-year-old Flowers’s caliber fixes the Jets’ cornerback woes in the short term. Flowers reportedly did not like playing over half his snaps in the slot position in 2013, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. I have to imagine that if the Jets signed Flowers, Rex Ryan would keep Kyle Wilson in the slot and put Flowers on the opponents’ best wideouts, opposite Dee Milliner. Dimitri Patterson suddenly looks great as a fourth corner, and rookie Dex McDougle can learn and develop on the sidelines.
Flowers was set to make $5.25 million this year. Overthecap.com estimates New York has over $22.5 million in salary cap room. However, there undoubtedly will be other teams in the market for Flowers, who has connections to former Chiefs’ personnel around the league. Old head coach Romeo Crennel is now the Houston Texans’ defensive coordinator, and former GM Scott Pioli is now in Atlanta’s front office. This coupled with Idzik’s alleged inadequacy may have less optimistic Jet fans thinking signing Flowers is a pipe dream.
But I have high hopes. The Jets have both the reason and the money to sign Brandon Flowers. Now let’s see if they snag him before another team does.
News and notes: Another player that deserves the Jets’ money is star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. Sheldon Richardson told the New York Post he wants to see Wilkerson get paid. “Hopefully, they do the right thing and pay the man,” Richardson said, adding that Wilkerson is “due for a paycheck” after leading the team with 10.5 sacks last year. If the Jets choose not to negotiate with Wilkerson this offseason and pick up his fifth-year option after the season, Wilkerson would make $6.9 million in 2015.
~Thank you for making “Why Kenrick Ellis might not make the team” my most-read iSportsWeb article to date. I want to re-emphasize that I do not think the Jets will ultimately cut Ellis, as I explicitly stated: “Kenrick Ellis may not exactly be fighting for his job this summer, but the Jets could end up being better off without him.” Having the assignment to choose a veteran who should be “nervous” about losing his roster spot, I challenged myself to pick someone less obvious than Stephen Hill and Mike Goodson. If a player like Brandon Flowers can be released in June, salary cap reasons aside, there is nothing saying Ellis can’t be cut in August. As another quick point of clarification, I am not “on heroin” and never plan to be.