Should the Jaguars Consider Claiming Janoris Jenkins?
It isn't often that a starting-caliber NFL cornerback is waived during the regular season, but this was the case Friday when the New York Giants waived eighth-year veteran and starter Janoris Jenkins after he tweeted a slur at a fan earlier in the week.
Once Jenkins hit the waiver wire, the question began to fly for every fan base: should our team pursue Jenkins? For the Jacksonville Jaguars specifically, it is an interesting proposition.
The first thing to point out when considering Jenkins is his contract. Whoever claims him would owe him a little over $1 million for this season and then be on the hook for his 2020 contract. His 2020 contract figure has him due $11.25 million in non-guaranteed money, and cutting him would result in a $3.5 million dead cap hit.
From a financial sense, it doesn't make much sense for Jacksonville to claim Jenkins. If he goes unclaimed and eventually becomes an unrestricted free agent then that is a different story, but Jacksonville is already over the salary cap for 2020. While this can easily be maneuvered by cutting a few bloated contracts, adding Jenkins would only mean another dead cap figure to have to pay if a new regime doesn't see him as a fit.
This leads to the next point: claiming Jenkins would be a decision to get better in 2020. Jenkins could theoretically start opposite A.J. Bouye, or even take his spot if Bouye is cut for financial reasons, but does the current Jaguars' regime care about 2020 right now? Jacksonville is 4-9, went 5-11 a year ago, and both the front office and coaching staff are likely on alert that their jobs are in serious question.
Not only would Jacksonville's current leadership team not be focused on 2020, but even if they did claim Jenkins it is likely there will be new leadership in place next season. Jenkins may not fit from a philosophical or schematical standpoint in 2020, depending on who is hired.
Of course, the one thing that needs to be mentioned when talking about Jenkins is his on-field play. The 31-year old can still get it done on the perimeter and despite his off-field issues with New York, he was having a solid 2019 season. In 13 games, he allowed only a 53.8% completion rate when targeted and had four interceptions. When quarterbacks threw at him, they had a passing rating of 65.3, per Pro Football Reference.
Curious about what Jenkins showed during Sunday's in 2019, we asked GiantsMaven publisher Patricia Traina about what she saw from Jenkins this season.
Question: While he has had issues off of the field, how high of a level do you think Jenkins was playing at in 2019?
Trania: "Trick question John because Jenkins was a veteran among rookies, and given the issues all season long by the Giants defensive secondary, I don’t think you can say anyone was playing at a high level, Jenkins included. What bothered me at times with him this year is how he’d get frustrated and quit on plays here and there. If that’s a factor into what you consider to be a “high level” then draw your own conclusions there."
"With that said if Jenkins can get back to being the player he was in 2016, he’s going to make someone very happy," Trania said. "But the one thing that still stands out in my mind was how when he first got here he spoke about sometimes getting lazy. In short, Jenkins can be a good player when he applies himself, but if things head south, then I’d be very wary."
For a team like Jacksonville that has had issues with emotional players in the past when seasons go sideways, Jenkins could be a curious fit.
Jacksonville needs an influx of talent at the cornerback position after 2019. If Jenkins clears waivers and is free to sign with any team, he would make some sense as an option because he can still play good football. But for now, Jacksonville should likely let some other team take the chance on him.