Manish Mehta had an interesting story this week about the Jets getting calls from teams interested in trading for Dee Milliner. The Jets signing four defensive backs in free agency has changed Milliner's role on the roster. After entering training camp as the number one cornerback in 2014, Milliner will likely start 2015 as the fourth corner.
Should the Jets cut their losses and deal Milliner? I say no for the following reasons.
- Even the fourth corner will have an important role on the defense. Todd Bowles loves to play with extra defensive backs. As Mehta noted in his article:
Bowles used six defensive backs about half the time (555 snaps) last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Cardinals had six or more defensive backs on the field for an eye-opening 619 snaps. Bowles had six or more defensive backs on the field more than twice as often as four or fewer.
The fourth corner will be something resembling a regular player on this defense. There is a prominent spot for him.
- The Jets did invest in the cornerback position, but Antonio Cromartie and even Darrelle Revis aren't long-term solutions. They will need to be replaced in a few years. Milliner is a 23 year old who was highly regarded coming out of school.
- Even if Milliner has a bad year, it is unlikely his value is going to get lower than it is right now. He had a bad rookie season and then missed almost his entire second season. He is also recovering from a serious injury. It is difficult to envision anybody giving up much of value for him. What is the harm in keeping him for a year and seeing whether he can make good on his potential? The Jets are in a position now where they can take their time waiting for him to fully recover and then give him some easier matchups against number four receivers to develop him. If he pans out, he can become that long-term solution discussed above. If he doesn't, the Jets likely can still trade him in a year and get a similar return than they would now. Lots of rookie corners struggle, and his second year was lost due to an injury. While I will admit the odds are probably against him becoming a good player, it isn't THAT unrealistic to think he can become a good player. Why not give this another year?