2:33 PM ET
The New York Jets addressed a major defensive need, agreeing to a three-year, $33 million contract with free-agent cornerback D.J. Reed, a source told ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
The news of Reed’s agreement was first reported by The Athletic.
Reed, the Jets’ first free-agent signing on defense, projects as a starter on the outside. Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols, last year’s starters, will compete for the other outside position. Michael Carter II remains in the slot — for now. This doesn’t preclude the Jets from drafting a cornerback, but Reed gives them a proven starter at one of their youngest position groups.
Jets coach Robert Saleh said he was pleased with the progress of the young corners last season, but it became clear they had to make upgrades. The Jets finished 32nd in total defense, including 30th against the pass. The made only seven interceptions, including only two by the corners — both by Echols.
The Jets haven’t had much luck with free-agent corners in recent years. In 2018, they signed Trumaine Johnson to one of the biggest contracts in franchise history ($34 million guaranteed), but he played only 17 games in two seasons and was released.
The Seattle Seahawks plucked Reed off waivers from the 49ers just before the 2020 season after he suffered what was believed to be a season-ending pectoral injury. Since returning midway through that season, Reed had made 22 starts after playing his way into the starting lineup.
He has largely been Seattle’s best cornerback since, becoming a key piece of the Seahawks’ defensive turnaround over that stretch.
Reed had 17 passes defended and all four of his career interceptions with Seattle, playing on both sides of the field and at nickelback. He began the 2021 season at left cornerback and then moved back to the right side.
The emergence of the 5-foot-9, 193-pound Reed marked a departure from the norm for Seattle, which had almost exclusively played taller cornerbacks on the outside.
The 49ers drafted Reed, 25, in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.
Source: ESPN NFL