Kareem Jackson has been a solid cover corner for the Houston Texans, but his numbers don’t show a guy who is a great playmaker. 57 tackles, nine pass break ups and three interceptions is a good season, but it is not a great one.
In the past NFL teams have overpaid for “cover” guys, not realizing that the minimal stats are actually a telling sign. In 2012 the Dallas Cowboys signed Brandon Carr as one of the two prized free agent cornerbacks available that year. Carr had 46 tackles and four interceptions in 2011 with Kansas City.
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His pick total the previous years went like this, one, one and two. Carr is now one of the highest paid corners in the league, coming off a zero interception year. He was also the favorite guy for opposing quarterbacks to throw at, mostly because there was not much chance of him making a big play.
In that same season, Cortland Finnegan was the other prized corner. He had more tackles with 75, but only one interception. Again, the lack of big plays was ignored by scouts and he was awarded a contract equally as big as Carr with the St. Louis Rams. Finnegan imitated Carr last year with the zero interceptions. However, Finnegan did so with Miami after lasting through only two years of his five year $50 million contract.
The sad thing is there was already a cautionary tale for teams to go on in regards to these over hyped, under performing corners. Nnamdi Asomugha signed a five year, $60 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2011 season. Asomugha had 19 tackles and zero interceptions the year before in Oakland. For some reason this meant he was amazing. I don’t know how that happened.
The weird thing is Asomugha was never really that good at all, except for in 2006 where he had 8 interceptions and 50 tackles, Oddly enough though, this was after recording zero career interceptions his first three years in the league. He had one each of the following three seasons before his stat filled 2010 season. Yes, that was sarcasm.
Asomugha lasted two years in Philly, and much like Carr was the opponents favorite guy to target because he was simply not a playmaker. He was picked up in San Francisco in 2013, but lasted three games. No one touched him after that.
Far too often a defensive back gets a reputation and everyone buys into it. The stats will show they are simply not playmakers, yet for some reason huge amounts of guaranteed dollars are loaded onto deals for these guys and they make the teams suffer for it.
Kareem Jackson may be a very solid cornerback, but he is not a huge playmaker. The Texans would be wise to retain him, but even wiser to do so without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, because of teams willingness to overpay this position, I do not think this will be possible.
According to overthecap.com, the Texans only have around $10 million available in the cap. Cuts and restructures will need to take place to even make moves for the team. Jackson may be a good player, but paying him top dollar will only hurt the Texans.
Instead I would like the team to try and find a way to land a top corner in this years draft. Someone like Michigan State’s Trae Waynes. A player like this will not only be younger, but also a whole lot cheaper. The Texans need to be financially prudent, and replacing over priced guys with solid rookies is the best way to do just that.