When the Jets came to terms with free agent linebacker CJ Mosley during the league’s legal tampering period, it was assumed that the team was fully prepared to move on from former first round draft pick Darron Lee. Lee did some good things in 2018 but finished the year on a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Darron Lee does not have a long-term future with the Jets, I’m told. Jordan Jenkins is still viewed as a solid edge setter. https://t.co/oqRjuP5eE8
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 12, 2019
In the days that followed the Mosley signing, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that Lee was not in the team’s long-term plans, but if Gang Green is planning on parting ways with Lee, here are three reasons why they should do so by letting his contract expire rather than dumping Lee before that time comes.
Role in coverage:
It’s hard to believe that with the various defensive looks Gregg Williams will likely employ that he won’t be able to find a part-time role for Lee that could see him contribute on defense. Lee was an improved player in 2018 compared to his fist two pro seasons, but coverage was where he stood out. Even if it’s only during obvious passing situations to drop back in coverage or come off the edge, Lee should offer some value to Williams.
If the Jets are able to find a role for Lee as mentioned above, they’ll be doing it with a player who is set to make just $1.8 million in 2019 according to overthecap.com. A relative bargain if things work out.
Releasing Lee gets the Jets nothing in return, and given his end-of-season suspension last year, they may not be able to net more than a late-round pick via trade. Should Lee turn in a solid 2019 season and earn a big payday elsewhere, the Jets could possibly receive a comp pick that would be an earlier selection than what a trade would bring.
If the Jets do opt to cut ties with Lee before his contract expires, forgoing the opportunity to get a comp pick for a very modest price, one would have to believe that Lee’s drug suspension got under the organization’s skin and they’re more concerned with locker room culture than draft capital.