Two years ago, the Jets gave Trumaine Johnson a five-year, $72.5 million contract that turned out to be one of the worst in franchise history.
And if they're feeling burned by that, it's definitely not showing.
The Jets made it clear at the NFL Combine last week that they are looking for cornerback help on the free-agent market, according to multiple NFL sources, and they're not afraid to pay a hefty price to get it. There are limits, of course, and it's unclear how high they're willing to go for the top corners on the market.
But they have indicated a willingness to spend at that spot.
In fact, they've already shown some interest in two of the top corners on the market, according to NFL sources -- Byron Jones and James Bradberry. One source said the Jets seem to like Bradberry better and might be more willing to spend big money on him.
And the money will be big. In fact, both Jones and Bradberry are apparently looking for contracts worth at least $15 million per season - or more on average than what the Jets gave Johnson. Even if the Jets are willing to go that high, they are not the favorites to land either player. For the most part, sources expect Jones will land in Philadelphia while Bradberry ends up in Washington.
The next best option is another player the Jets showed interest in at the combine, according to a source: veteran Chris Harris, who'll be 31 in June. He should come a little cheaper, though the Jets will have plenty of competition if they get into the bidding. One source said more than half of the 32 NFL teams expressed some level of interest in Harris last week.
Just how serious the Jets will get with any of them is hard to tell, given all their other needs. They are expected to have between $60 million and $70 million in cap room to spend, but they have holes on the offensive line, at receiver and edge rusher, too.
But cornerback is emerging as a top priority, and it seems more likely they'll address that in free agency than the draft.
Here are some more bits of information on the Giants from a week at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis...
Tru and consequences
Speaking of Trumaine Johnson … Cutting him figured to be the easiest decision Douglas was going to have to make this offseason, given his poor play, bad contract, and series of suspensions. So why hasn't it happened yet?
According to an NFL source, Johnson will be cut as soon as the players vote on the new CBA and the 2020 rules are set. When he's cut, he'll leave $12 million in dead money on the Jets' cap and they would prefer to split that hit over two seasons. However, that isn't allowed in the final year of a collective bargaining agreement. So they want to wait to see if a new CBA is ratified first. Once it is, they should be allowed to designate him a "June 1 cut" which would allow them to spread out the pain again.
Robby Anderson's out route? Not so fast …
With AJ Green franchise tagged by the Bengals and Amari Cooper still likely to remain in Dallas (either by tag or by a long-term deal) Robby Anderson still looks like the top receiver on the open market, and that means he'll surely be priced out of the Jets' range. They are willing to make a play to bring him back, a source said, but likely not if his price is up near $13 million per year.
There is hope, though. Some NFL sources believe the receiver market won't be as robust as expected because the draft is so deep with talented wideouts. Some scouts estimate that 20-25 receivers will be taken (or are worth taking) in the first three rounds. And with so many good receivers available there, maybe teams won't overpay in a middling free-agent market.
The Jets are hoping Anderson's price drops back to the $10 million per year range, if not lower. If it does, he could be back next year. Anderson, Jamison Crowder and perhaps a receiver from the second round would look very good to the Jets if they can swing it.
Still out on the edge
The Jets have been looking for an edge rusher for years now and this may not be the year to try and find one. Most of the top ones are expected to be given franchise or transition tags, effectively taking them off the market. That includes Baltimore's Matthew Judon, whom several NFL sources said would be Douglas' top target if somehow he doesn't get tagged.
There could be one on the market that interests the Jets, though. They have long had their eyes on linebacker Dante Fowler, from back when he was with Jacksonville and when Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles were running the Jets. Now, after Fowler stayed healthy for the first time in three seasons and had 11 ½ sacks, many expect the Jets to be interested in him again.
He won't come cheap. The 25-year-old played last year on a one-year, $12 million prove-it deal and now expects to cash in. He figures to get in the $17-18 million per year range, depending on how wild the market gets.