Darrelle Revis' future with the Jets was in doubt even before he was charged with four felonies for an incident outside a Pittsburgh bar back on Feb. 12. His cost, his skills, his age were all conspiring against him, and by March 11 he was surely going to end up an ex-Jet.
But while the Jets have some young corners on their roster, they don't necessarily have Revis' heir - the next shutdown corner to help lockdown their struggling secondary. Many NFL people believe they're most likely to look to the draft for Revis' replacement. But free agency could present some intriguing possibilities.
Here is a look at a few:
CB Stephon Gilmore (Bills) - For a cap-strapped team, they probably can't dip this deep into the free agent pool, especially if they decide to spend (or overspend) for a quarterback. But if they can't get one of the top quarterbacks or decide to go through the draft at that position, a free-agent corner would be a big help. And while Gilmore, 26, is no Revis-in-his-prime, he's the best on the market. The Pro Bowler had five interceptions this season and that could land him in the range of the five-year, $62.5 million deal the Giants gave Janoris Jenkins last offseason (with $28.8 million guaranteed). Of course, that's if he hits the market. He may get franchise-tagged by the Bills.
A.J. Bouye (Texans) - Timing is everything in free agency, and after starting just eight games in his first three NFL seasons, Bouye was fantastic in his 11 starts in Houston in 2016. He only had one interception, but he broke up 16 passes and earned a reputation as one of the NFL's best up-and-coming cover corners. Considering the free agent market is thin at this position - and will be thinner if Gilmore is franchised - he could be the big prize. And given the number of teams that need cornerbacks, a bidding war could land him close to the Giants-Jenkins deal, too.
Trumaine Johnson (Rams) - He was the Rams' franchise player last year (about $14 million) and it doesn't make a lot of sense for the Rams to let him go the way they let Jenkins go a year ago. But they're in full rebuilding mode there now and the expense might be too much for the new regime. On the market, Johnson will point out how his 11 interceptions in the last three seasons put him among the NFL leaders (including the seven he had in 2015). He'll also surely be eyeing the deal his former teammate Jenkins got a year ago, too.
Prince Amukamara (Jaguars) - The former first-round pick was cast off by the Giants due to his history of injuries and ended up on a one-year, prove-it deal in Jacksonville. How much did he prove? He did play in 14 games and played reasonably well, according to some scouts, though he only picked off one pass (and broke up 11 others) for a bad Jaguars team. He probably can do better than a prove-it deal again, given the market, but he won't break anyone's bank either. The Jets could get a valuable, still-only-27, talented player who liked and could handle playing in New York, and they could get him for a relative bargain.
Morris Claiborne (Cowboys) - He's a real interesting free agent option. He was once the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft (2012) and he was considered a bit of a bust - so much so that his second contract with Dallas was just a one-year, $3 million, prove-it deal. But then in 2016 he actually started to live up to his promise and potential … right up until he hurt his groin and missed the second half of the season. He's only 27 so there's a lot of promise there. But health issues and previous performance issues could diminish his value. Will it be worth it for the Jets to take a chance?