The Los Angeles Chargers could use some improvements at the cornerback position and could bolster the secondary with a recently released option.
The Los Angeles Chargers do not have a dire need at the cornerback position, but with Desmond King having a disappointing season and some shaky depth options, the team could certainly use one impact corner to make a difference.
It would not surprising to see the Chargers draft a cornerback in the mid-rounds just to serve as a nickel formation option until they progress into an every-down starter. That probably was the popular consensus heading into this week.
However, the landscape of the situation changed on Monday when it was reported that the New York Jets were expected to release vetrean cornerback Trumaine Johnson. Johnson was entering the last season of a three-year contract with the Jets and if they do not release him by March 20 then he will make a guaranteed $11 million.
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After thriving with the Los Angeles Rams, Johnson never found his footing with the Jets. He missed a combined 13 games in his two seasons with the Jets and saw his production falter.
However, Johnson’s struggles with the Jets should not make the Chargers shy away from Johnson as a potential target. With his experience and the role that he would be playing, Johnson would be a great pick up for the bolts.
Johnson would be the team’s third, if not fourth, cornerback in the depth chart and would get most of his playing time in nickel and dime formations. Johnson may not be thrilled in the reduced role, but a job is better than no job and this gives him the chance to win the job on a talented secondary.
Johnson is not going to cost much on the free-agent market and will probably only cost the team upwards of $4 million this season on a one-year deal, that is not bad whatsoever.
Not only is he a cheap addition that has experience in the league but it keeps the Chargers from needing to draft a cornerback, which could help add depth at the offensive line or edge rushers to potentially prepare for Joey Bosa or Melvin Ingram departing after the year.
Johnson has never been a Pro Bowler but he had as many as seven interceptions with the Rams, coming in the 2015 season. He is a ball-hawking corner that would thrive in zone coverage in nickel and dime looks to pick off the quarterback’s mistakes.
We see it time and time again with cornerbacks, sometimes it is just a bad fit. Marcus Peters played exponentially better with the Baltimore Ravens after being traded for a sixth-round pick by the Rams. Casey Hayward made a huge leap when he joined the Chargers.
It is a low-risk signing with potentially high-reward, which is why it should be appealing to the Los Angeles Chargers.