As Aaron Rodgers watch rolls on Thursday, the Jets made a transaction to generate more salary cap space while also acquiring a much-needed veteran safety.
The Jets will release wide receiver and returner Braxton Berrios after four seasons.
Gang Green also agreed to send a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Ravens for safety Chuck Clark. Both transactions will be processed at the start of the new league year on March 15, according to sources.
After having a career year in 2021, last season was anything but for Berrios. He struggled with drops, missed assignments and muffed returns.
Berrios caught 18 passes for 145 yards and recorded two rushing touchdowns for the Jets last season. He also averaged 11.4 per punt return and 23.1 per kick return.
In 2021, Berrios had a career-high 46 catches for 431 yards and two touchdowns. He also averaged career-highs in punt (13.4) and kick returning (30.4) as he was a first-team All-Pro returner.
Cutting Berrios will save the Jets $5 million in salary cap space. Before this move, the Jets were $1.7 million over the salary cap. All 32 NFL teams must be under the cap by the start of each new league year.
The Ravens were likely going to release Clark on March 15 but will trade him to the Jets instead. Baltimore reportedly attempted to trade Clark last season but could not find any takers. Last season, Clark started all 17 games for Baltimore and recorded 101 tackles and four pass deflections.
Clark is due to make $4.14 million in his contract’s final year, with $661,765 of that guaranteed. With the addition of Clark, this could signal the end of Jordan Whitehead’s time with the Jets.
Last year during free agency, Whitehead signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract with the Jets. But he failed to live up to the expectations in an improving Jets defense.
Whitehead struggled with coverage assignments and missed tackles throughout the season. He finished with 89 tackles and two interceptions.
Releasing Whitehead would save the Jets $7.25 million in cap room as he has zero guaranteed money remaining on his contract.
However, the Jets could retain Whitehead as Clark can play as a free safety.
Lamarcus Joyner, who played opposite Whitehead last season, is an unrestricted free agent. Like Whitehead, Joyner also struggled with receivers and tight ends in coverage in 2022.
The Jets are expected to make a variety of moves ahead of possibly acquiring Rodgers, the four-time MVP, in a trade with the Packers. The Jets brass flew to California on Tuesday to meet with Rodgers who is still trying to decide if he wants to return to Green Bay, play somewhere else or retire.
It is unknown when Rodgers will make his decision, but the Jets reportedly feel “optimistic” they will be able to obtain the 39-year-old quarterback.
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