Bryan Thomas is 33 years old, set to become a free agent, and coming off a devastating injury. It is quite possible he is a goner. The Jets are likely going to need to find a replacement. One option might be a free agent from Baltimore, another former Rex Ryan pupil, Jarret Johnson.
Johnson, a 30 year old fourth round pick in 2003 out of Nebraska, has spent his entire career with the Ravens. He has started every game since 2007, lining up at linebacker in 3-4 and 4-3 looks. I have long thought the unabashed praise the coaching staff has given Bryan Thomas for setting the edge has been overblown. Johnson, on the other hand, is as good of a linebacker as you will find getting a push up front and forcing runners back inside. His game reminds me a bit of Bart Scott. He plays with reckless abandon, hits hard, and throws his body into blockers to clear space for others. He is an excellent linebacker against the run, perhaps as good as anybody in the league. He flies all over the field and never quits on plays.
Johnson is not terrible in coverage, but he does not provide much in the way of rushing the passer. That is fine for a team with Terrell Suggs. The Ravens really just need a complimentary guy to help against the run. I think the Jets already have a guy good against the run in Calvin Pace. What they need in an outside linebacker is somebody who can get to the quarterback. Johnson's last contract was 5 years for $21 million. He could be looking for something similar, which would be a lot for the Jets to shell out for a guy who does not fit what they really need at his position.
Johnson is a good player, but I think he would not be the right fit for the team as currently constructed. The Jets need somebody who can bring a pass rush to the table at the position. I would prefer Gang Green goes in a different direction.
How about you?
Should the Jets have interest in Jarret Johnson to start at outside linebacker?
Yes (273 votes)
No (346 votes)
619 total votes