The New York Jets cut safety Jason Pinnock during the late stages of cuts during the 2022 NFL preseason. Pinnock then went on to sign with the New York Giants and become one of their starting safeties. This has become a point of complaint for some Jets fans because of the Jets need for a good starting safety in their own right.
On Saturday, the Jets played the Giants and Pinnock, which got me thinking about what the Jets really lost when they cut Pinnock. More specifically, I know he starts, but is he any good?
As it turns out, the answer is “not really” as Pinnock’s 2022 PFF grade was only 61.3. For reference, a 61.3 is lower than starting safety Jordan Whitehead, who had a grade of 66.1 and who many Jets fans wanted cut for his perceived bad performance in 2022.
Additionally, as it pertains to the Jets, Pinnock’s skills don’t really align with their needs. While their safety coverage was poor and led many to call for an upgrade, Pinnock was very bad in coverage as far as PFF was concerned with a grade of 53.0. Again, for reference, Whitehead was thought to be bad in coverage but had a PFF grade of 70.6 in this area, highlighting just how bad a grade of 53.0 is. In terms of the good, Pinnock had a 76.6 rush defense grade, but the Jets were hardly in need of a run stopping safety based on the current roster.
Overall, it looks like the Jets made a mistake in cutting a young player who could start for an NFL team, but I’m not sure that Pinnock’s skillset would have really been of much help to the current version of the New York Jets defense. If I had to guess, Pinnock’s struggles in coverage would have likely led many fans to call for him to be relegated to a backup role, where he’d likely be a great value. For the Jets, they likely erred in cutting him, but I’m not sure the error was meaningfully costly to the 2022 or 2023 version of the Jets. All in all, the “they never should have cut Pinnock” arguments seem to be far louder than they have any right to be.