On Saturday, the New York Jets released cornerback Darryl Roberts and reportedly signed safety Marqui Christian.
On Friday, the New York Jets finally announced the first veteran cap casualty of the free-agency period.
We've released DB Darryl Roberts.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) March 21, 2020
Around the same time, the newest defensive back signing was reported by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Source: Jets have agreed to a one-year deal with former Rams safety Marqui Christian.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) March 21, 2020
Marqui Christian, 25, was a fifth-round selection of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2016 NFL Draft. Although he didn’t catch on in the desert, the Los Angeles Rams took notice, the franchise Christian’s been employed by since his draft season.
Through four seasons, he’s started just one game (coming in 2019), tallying three pass deflections and 83 total tackles. In 2019, he played 371 defensive snaps and allowed 16 of 23 passing on targets in his direction for 173 yards (7.5 per target), three touchdowns, and no interceptions (131.0 passer rating). Christian appeared primarily in nickel and dime packages for Los Angeles, with 78.6% of his career defensive snaps coming on passing plays. He is also a highly-experienced special-teamer, ranking top-11 among all players in special teams snaps both in 2018 and 2019.
Although it’s not a straight position swap (with Roberts), it makes sense. Roberts wasn’t only a corner. He also played a little safety, most notably a year ago when Jamal Adams was on the shelf.
It was a forgettable experience. Roberts struggled during his stints as the center fielder, while Marcus Maye just couldn’t assume Adams’s shoes down in the box. It was most evident in Baltimore on Thursday night.
Roberts, 29, finishes his four-year Jets stint with three interceptions, 27 pass deflections, four tackles for loss and 172 total tackles in 56 games (26 started). He allowed 113 of 202 passes in his direction to be completed for 1,389 yards (6.9 per target), 11 touchdowns, and three interceptions (89.3 passer rating). The seventh-round selection of the New England Patriots was signed by Mike Maccagnan during the 2016 league year. His release will free $6 million in cap space.
Interestingly, outside corner is one of the team’s greatest weaknesses at the moment, yet Roberts has been officially released. While not a surprise to most, the position is now left with very little, including young Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet, the recently re-signed man. One would think the Jets are actively pursuing veteran cornerbacks on the market such as Prince Amukamara or Pierre Desir.
Marqui Christian may just be Gregg Williams’s third safety, a defender who can be plugged into the big dime.