Spending the bulk of his young NFL career in St. Louis, then Los Angeles, it may come as a surprise that Trumaine Johnson sought after the Jets because of familiarity.
A franchise tag the past two seasons, the Rams decided to let the corner walk after bringing in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. A proven playmaker at the next level, Johnson’s services demanded the attention of numerous teams. New York, after failing to acquire quarterback Kirk Cousins, quickly shifted their focus to the Pro Bowl snub. It wasn’t the Big Apple that lured Johnson in, instead a familiar face.
Jets paying former Rams’ CB Trumaine Johnson $26 million this season.
Rams paying Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Sam Shields and Lamarcus Joyner on franchise tag a combined $25 million this season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2018
Familiar face in New York lands Jets Trumaine Johnson
Jets defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson was formerly an employee of the Rams organization. He was the Rams quality control coach from 2012-2014 and their defensive back s coach from 2015-2017, before inking a deal with Gang Green. Johnson isn’t shy to stress the importance of seeing Wilson as a part of Todd Bowles’ defense.
“When the time came, there were at least 10 to 15 teams that were contacting me,” he said at the beginning of the league year per Dillon Coyne. “My agent and I boiled it down to two teams and Dennard Wilson was a big factor.”
The two share a passion for elite play and bring out the best in one another. Wilson was quick to recommend Johnson in free agency to management.
“Of course, I was excited. We have a tremendous relationship,” Wilson said. “I’ve been around him since he’s been in the league except for one year. I know what he brings to the table. I know who he is as a person. To get him will be a nice addition.”
Todd Bowles is known for his attraction to big, physical cornerbacks. At 6’2”, 213 pounds, Johnson offers the size and versatility that can travel to all levels of the field. Surrounded by a young defensive core, the new addition will act as a veteran presence with high expectations.
Wilson and Bowles have faith in their new corner. With a five-year, $72.5 million contract, they are paying a premium to transform the secondary. New York fans hope it’s money well spent.