Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is reporting the New York Jets and Rex Ryan will target Ravens free agent linebacker Jarret Johnson once free agency begins on March 13th.
When Ryan became the head coach of the New York Jets in 2009, he immediately put a bad taste in the mouths of Ravens fans, standing in Bart Scott’s driveway and doing his best Romeo and Juliet impression to lure Scott to Gang Green.
Three years later, the Scott experiment seems to be over in the Big Apple as Ryan attempts to poach another former player which contributed to the Ravens defense success, ultimately landing him his first NFL head coaching job.
Johnson is undoubtedly one of the most underrated defensive players in the league and it’s mostly due to him playing in the shadows of men the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
The Ravens must address other free agents, which may put Johnson at the lower end of the priority list. Players such as Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ben Grubbs and Lardarius Webb are all looking for new deals, which may place some financial strain on the team.
Like Todd Heap, Johnson may find himself as the 2012 season cap casualty poster child as the Baltimore Ravens lose another familiar face in the community.
There is no question JJ has earned every dollar he’s made in Baltimore but for him to return next season he’ll have to accept less than he’s worth on the open market. Even though Johnson has been the Ravens “Ironman”, the team must evaluate how much longer he can last playing at a consistently high level.
Ultimately, the decision is up to Johnson. The Ravens will make an offer to him but it’ll probably be under what another team may pay for a proven, veteran linebacker.
For Ravens’ fans, let’s hope that Double J values winning more than money and realizes that the team around him makes him better than if he brought the Ravens defensive philosophies to a new city.
Johnson has been around the locker room long enough to see players like Bart Scott depart for greener pastures, only to find themselves not living up to expectations and nowhere closer to a Super Bowl appearance.
Let us all queue the stomach-wrenching emotions, which come along with free agency and remember Ravens’ fans…. trust in Ozzie.