This isn't the first time Darron Lee has gotten in trouble

Chris Mascaro

Jets inside linebacker Darron Lee was suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the league announced Friday, meaning the 24-year-old's season is over.

It could also mean his time with the Jets is over.

The suspension not only will cost the former first-round pick $325,000 in game checks, it also triggers default language in his contract, meaning his $1.8 million base salary for 2019 is no longer fully guaranteed, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

The Jets have until May to either exercise Lee's fifth-year option for 2020, which would then guarantee his contract next season as well, or they can cut him at very little cost.

What began as a promising season for Lee has turned in a hurry, much like the Jets (3-9) as a whole. Lee, the 20th pick of the 2016 draft out of Ohio State, had his first career interceptions in the Jets' Week 1 rout of the Lions in Detroit, returning the first for a touchdown.

He had another INT off Andrew Luck in the Jets' Week 6 win over the Colts, which is impressive since pass coverage has been one of the weaker parts of his game, especially his rookie year.

But Lee, like many of his teammates, has played poorly during the team's six-game losing streak, and he failed to record a sack in 12 games this year.

Darron Lee off-the-field issues

This isn't the first time Lee has been in trouble. Head coach Todd Bowles suspended him one game last season for being late to practice, and the Jets beat the Chiefs at home without him, 38-31.

Two offseason ago, Lee got into a verbal altercation with his girlfriend at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York, and teammate Leonard Williams had to physically remove him from the situation.

He didn't get punished for the incident -- by the team or the NFL -- but the league did investigate the situation.

Lee also amassed $72,965 in fines last season, including two for roughing the passer, another for an "excessive" facemask (according to the league) and another for a late hit.

And for all that baggage, Lee hasn't been worth the trouble, as he was the lowest-ranked linebacker in 2016, and the second-lowest in 2017, by Pro Football Focus.

He has four sacks, two forced fumbles and three interceptions in three seasons (40 games, 36 starts), and the Jets are actually 3-1 in the four games he's missed.

Comments