Jets should sign Malcolm Butler by David Dubovy
With the Jets in need of a cornerback, one familiar face in the AFC East is on the Jets radar. New York would like to retain Morris Claiborne in free agency, but they are expected to add at the position regardless. One option is Pro Bowler Malcolm Butler. Butler is coming off a trip to the Super Bowl in which he was benched by the Patriots. A hero in New England not too long ago, the decision by Bill Belichick left the football world stunned during and following New England’s loss in the big game. Butler has since expressed his frustration over the benching and it’s all but guaranteed he won’t return to Foxborough next year.
A Pro Bowler in 2015 and a second-team All-Pro in 2016, Butler is coming off an inconsistent season since becoming a starter in 2017. Still, he led the Patriots defense in snaps last season, making the Super Bowl incident even more puzzling. In the past three seasons with the Patriots, Butler has played 48 games, has 8 interceptions, forced 4 fumbles and has 159 tackles.
Butler is threat in coverage and immediately upgrade a Jets core of cornerbacks that lacks depth, with or without Claiborne. The two of them on the outside, paired with safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, would give New York one of the best all-around secondaries in the game. It would also give Malcolm Butler a shot at payback…if that’s something he’s after. One other top cornerback expected to hit the open market is former Pro Bowler Trumaine Johnson. So far in his career with the Los Angeles Rams, Johnson has totaled 281 tackles, 18 interceptions, and three fumble recoveries. Johnson has a knack for always being around the football and being a smart defender that makes his presence known all game long. If the Jets land a player of such caliber, it would undoubtedly bolster their cornerback situation with a difference-maker week in, week out. Johnson, as well as Butler will more than likely command top dollar should he hit free agency, and if they do it would be a huge signing by the Jets to address an immediate need. While the Jets cornerback situation did improve in 2017 compared to what fans saw in 2016, it still is missing that playmaking factor. Considering that Johnson has also returned three of his 18 interceptions for a touchdown, it would be a great attribute to have since it’s been quite a long time since the Jets defensive secondary had a pick-six.
Overall, pursuing Trumaine Johnson and Malcolm Butler in free agency is a no-brainer if they hit the market as the Jets would tremendously benefit if they acquired their services. Not only would they be worth every penny, but they are both in their prime football years and bring an immediate impact in 2018 and beyond.